College: the topic that seems to be on all upperclassmen’s radar at this time of year. It is hard to even know where to start in the search of finding the “perfect” college. Touring schools is one of the best ways for students to get a feel for the school and see what it has to offer. If you need advice on how to go about starting college tours, look no further. 

As the search for schools starts, make a list to help keep track of what programs you are interested in, what campus you prefer, and what schools are realistic for you. College tours are a vital part in the college admissions process.    

Registration 

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Make sure to register at least a week in advance to tour the campus that you are interested in so that you have a spot reserved. You can easily go online and do a quick search for the college’s website to fill out a form and schedule a tour. 

If the college is farther away, make sure to decide if you will be driving or flying. Also, include other colleges in the area so you don’t have to make a second trip

Charlotte Kaltenbach, a junior, said she makes a trip of her college tours and usually stays in a hotel for the night because she thinks it is very important to get a feel for the surrounding area. 

What to bring

You do not want to bring too much with you, but it is important to bring proper attire, especially good walking shoes, for your tour. Bring a small backpack for all those brochures and school memorabilia. Also have a notebook and pen with you to write down any information that stands out to you. 

What to expect 

College tours usually start with an information session that gives prospective students an overview of student life and the programs the school offers. Afterward, students are split up into smaller groups where they go on a walking tour of the campus led by a current college student. 

Senior Olivia Mastria, who has been on over 15 college tours, has learned that what makes a tour the the best is an engaging tour guide who is friendly and welcoming. The walking tours give insight to a more personal experience, and students can ask questions about anything and get a truthful response. 

Other activities 

After the tour, you are free to walk around and explore the campus, which is the best way for you to tell if you can see yourself at that school. Do a quick online search to see what the area is best known for. Most college towns have a lot of restaurants or shops that are great for exploring. 

Online Tours

Recently, online tours have been popular among juniors because of the inability to travel during the quarantine. Most colleges have virtual tours that you can find on their websites that are informative and easy to access. 

Guidance counselors are also advertising Strive Scan’s Virtual College Exploration Week to junior students, a place where they can sign up for virtual tours for schools around the country in just one place at https://www.strivescan.com/. This makes it easy to connect with college admissions officers and access schools’ information all in one place. The event is taking place from April 20 to April 23 and students can sign up for Zoom webinars and see presentations that would help further their college searches. 

It is convenient especially if the school is far away or not conducting tours at the moment. Like campus tours, virtual tours are free and the website usually has a tab that will lead you to the webpage. The tours are easy to follow because you are free to explore and click on different buildings on campus with pictures, videos, and a short description of it. 

Junior Hayden Sobel has gone on multiple virtual college tours already. He found it smart that the schools that recently cancelled their tours due to the COVID-19 outbreak were advertising virtual tours to allow students’ college searches to continue. He said, “Although it was not the same as going on a real tour, it was very helpful to be able to see what a college looked like and learn more about a university.” 

The search for colleges can be extremely stressful at times, but college tours are a perfect place to start. Using online resources such as Naviance, a site that helps you organize your grades and resume, are beneficial to learning the background about a school. 

Reach out to the guidance department for college information. The guidance staff gives students lots of opportunities to learn about different schools, specifically by letting students know what admission representatives are holding information sessions at school. 

Yuthika Deva, a guidance department secretary who helps students with the search for scholarships, said, “Colleges are trying to improve their yield, and they want to offer admission to students who are likely to attend.” 

Keeping in touch with faculty at colleges you are interested in is a great way to show your interest, too. You can always email them before your college tour and meet up with them to discuss majors you are thinking about and what programs they offer. Establishing these relationships show your interest in the school and can even heighten your chances of acceptance. 

College tours are not as daunting as they may seem. Tours are a perfect way to start your college search and let you know what type of campus you belong on and what programs you could see yourself studying. They are a great way to learn if a school is the right fit for you and show colleges your interest.