Expectations and Considerations When Visiting a College Campus
Colleges are a business. Without students paying tuition, colleges would collapse. Admission offices actively recruit students to fill the admission spots year to year. One strategy to entice students to apply is the college tour. Students need to understand what to expect and what to consider on a campus tour.
History and Background of the College
Most tours start in the admissions office or outside of the building. The tour is usually given by an upperclassman, who by the way usually is paid to provide the tour. Once outside the tour guide will welcome the visitors to campus, give a personal introduction, and ask each visitor to introduce themselves to the group. Next, the tour starts. Tours are designed to showcase the campus in the best possible light. Beginning with the founder(s) of the school, the tour guide will usually bring the visitors to the “Main Hall” or first building constructed. A brief background is then provided.
As the tour continues the guide will begin to point out elements of interests: mountain or lake view, commons areas where students congregate outside, fountains, statues, unusual architecture or some other element other colleges do not have. These features are described to get the visitors to “feel” the college’s ambiance.
Campus Buildings and Library
The tour will only include the most up-to-date buildings or most prestigious buildings. Usually a science building, the tour will focus on a lecture room in session. The next stop is likely the campus library. The purpose is to let visitors know what books and resources are available to the students. The larger the library, or the volume of books and journals, the most impressive the campus will appear.
Dorms and Cafeterias
One of the last stops on the tour is a dorm facility and the cafeteria. Most colleges have a specific dorm building and room to show on the tour. The dorm is usually an upperclassman dorm, which is decorated to the hilt. The cafeteria tour is usually a run through of the meal program and food choices.
The typical campus tour is a generic overview of a college’s finest aspects. While the tours are a good start in the college selection process, a more in depth tour should be considered. Write down college factors that are important. Examples include freshman dorm room and measurements, a sampling of the cafeteria food, time to sit in on a class of interest, conversations with actual students about the school, and a visit to the student activities office. Before scheduling a tour ask the admission office if they can factor these elements into the tour. You may receive your own private tour obtaining only the information that is important to you.