Campus tours are crucial to the college application process and you should try to visit as many of your prospective schools as possible. Reading statistics about the school on paper is helpful, but visiting the campus in person will give you greater insight into what to expect about student life, especially if you visit while classes are in session. It’s important to ask your tour guide as many questions as possible – that’s what they’re there for! If you don’t know what to ask, just make it personal: What has been the tour guide’s experience?
Ask your tour guide why he or she chose to attend this particular college or university. Was it a specific major or department? Perhaps the school is known for certain subjects. Is your potential major one of these? If it is, ask your tour guide if anyone they know studies it and what that person thinks about it.
Ask your tour guide about his or her class sizes. Many colleges list an average class size, but this can vary greatly. How much one on one time has your tour guide gotten with professors? How much group work have they done? Have most of their classes been large lectures or intimate discussions? Is it possible to sit in on a class?
Ask your tour guide about the town where the college is located – you might be living there! What was the hardest thing to get used to living there? What are the perks of this town? How is the weather? Attending school in Michigan is going to be a bit of a shock for someone who grew up in California. How important is the weather to you?
Ask your tour guide how safe they feel on campus. A lot of colleges and universities have emergency phones posted around campus with blue lights on them for students to use in threatening situations. Ask about campus security. Has your tour guide ever experienced violence on campus or felt threatened? Do they feel safe walking at night? Does the school offer a free nighttime taxi service?
Ask your tour guide if they are involved in any extra-curricular activities. Did they participate in these activities in high school, too? Did they start in college? How easy is it to get involved in extra-curriculars? Is there a variety of student groups on campus or are most of the students involved in the same field?
Campus tours can be overwhelming, but by making it a personal experience you can learn a lot more about your prospective school from a student who has lived it. Your tour guide will be more than happy to share, and you’ll get an inside look at college life that you can’t get from books or websites.
Need a little help planning you campus tours? Try the Cappex College Visit Planner!