What Happens on a College Tour?

As the end of high school draws to a close, college-bound high school seniors–and sometimes eager juniors–begin to explore their college options. Most students interested in taking their education to the next level have a few ideal colleges in mind. Students and their families often only visit the schools for a college tour where they have been accepted, or where they feel most confident that they will be accepted.

Why Do Future College Students and Their Parents Take College Campus Tours?

College tours are an important part of the selection process so that students and their parents can see how well the reality of the environment–academically and socially–lives up to their ideals about them. Many of the colleges that students want to attend may have similar academic offerings, so the final decision may come down to seeing how well they feel they will thrive in each atmosphere.

When Should Families Plan to Visit Colleges for Campus Tours?

A popular time for students and their parents to visit a few college campuses falls during spring break. At this point, most students have already sent out their college applications and are anxiously awaiting their acceptance letters. Visiting college campuses during spring break allows students to visit without missing any time during the end of their high school experience, and it will prepare them to make their final decision once they begin receiving their responses from colleges.

How Can High School Students and Their Parents Prepare for College Campus Tours?

Parents and students can visit the school’s website or call the universities where they want to go to set up a visit date. Colleges often offer select dates and times from which student families can choose. Additionally, some colleges offer afternoon tours or overnight stays, which gives families a chance to explore the campus in the evening to understand that atmosphere, as well.

What Happens on a College Tour?

Most of the time, a college tour will begin with an assembly of all the tour members in a central location. The school’s representative will give a brief overview of the school and its history.

Next, the administrative representative will pass the official tour duties over to a student ambassador who will lead the group all over the college’s campus to show everyone key buildings, such as main classroom buildings, libraries, fitness facilities, and dormitories. Students and their parents should prepare to ask any questions they have prepared, as well as questions or concerns that come up during the tour.

The guide will let families know about regular popular events that students can attend, such as sporting events, dances, charity activities, and family weekends.

Many colleges offer students the chance to sit in on a class or two so they can experience a large lecture environment and a small classroom setting.

Additional opportunities students have while on campus include visiting the financial aid office, eating in the dining hall, spending the night in a dorm, and talking to a professor in their desired field of study.

What Can Students and Their Families Take Away from College Tours?

Most students do a great deal of research when choosing a college, so ideally, their visit will reinforce their research. Students can better prepare for a successful college career when they have an idea of what their life at school will look like.

Recommended Resource: 50 Great Schools Where High School Students Can Get College Credit