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Make the most of a campus tour


Friday, November 02, 2012
Choosing the college that is right for you is one of the most important decisions you can make. While your first exposure to a college may be its brochure, view book or even its Web site, nothing compares to touring a college for yourself. To get the most out of the experience, you may find it useful to consider the following points before touring your prospective colleges:

Research the institution thoroughly before the tour: While a college's promotional literature is a helpful introduction to a school, you should dig deeper before touring the campus. Use the Internet to research your prospective schools. Consult different sources and read as much information as possible about a particular college before taking a campus tour. If you know your intended major, research faculty members of that department. Find out what facilities are available for your major, and look into the availability of academic support and career services.

Prepare an exhaustive list of questions: Prepare a list of questions that were not addressed in your research. Even if a school promotes its facilities, be prepared to ask further questions about them. As you may tour many different colleges, you need to maximize the productivity of each visit. By preparing an extensive list of questions, and asking the same questions at each college, you can get a better basis for comparing your college options.

Know what you want to get out of a tour: Before you set foot on campus, you should have a firm idea of what you want to gain from the experience. Do you want to know more about student support services, or would you rather see what life is like on campus? Do you want to compare degree programs at two different schools, or see how their athletic programs stack up? These are all things you should consider before taking a campus tour.

Talk to current students: University officials and college tour guides have a vested interest in making their school or degree programs appear particularly appealing. However, current students at the school are more likely to give you authentic feedback into whether the school and its programs met their expectations as freshmen. If possible, talk to students currently pursuing the degree that you are most interested in.

Wander off the beaten path: Although you should take full advantage of the guided portion of a campus tour, don't be afraid to wander around on your own at the conclusion of the tour if you are permitted to do so. Explore as much of a campus as you can. It may also be worthwhile to schedule an appointment with a professor of the degree program you are interested in to ask additional questions that a tour guide may not be able to answer.

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