College Search

“Capturing” Moments on Tour

Touring a college or university of interest is one way to learn valuable information that you may not be able to find online and gain advice from a current student. While on a tour, it is important to engage with the tour guide and other members of your tour group. Here is a list of some important questions to ask during the tour. You can then ask for your tour guide’s contact information so that you can continue to stay in-touch throughout your college search process. 

The Most Important Questions to Ask:

  1. Professor:Student Ratio? How many office hours are professors required to have?
  2. What things are costs outside of tuition and housing? (These costs could include on-campus parking, loads of laundry, and printing)
  3. What percent of students have internships during their time here?
  4. Do you offer housing all 4 years? What percent of students live on campus?
  5. How do students get involved on campus? 
  6. Why did you choose (school name)?
  7. If you could go back to the college search process and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
  8. For students interested in health and wellness: ask about what is offered in the gym and fitness center, such as free fitness classes, a dance studio, or batting cages.

Crucial Parts to Pay Attention To:

  1. The Campus Culture – How do students interact with one another? Is there a sense of community? 
  2. The Town Around the Campus – Is the campus in a safe area? Are there cafes, restaurants, or museums in walking distance? Does the city provide public transportation? Are there outdoor parks and paths? 
  3. Genuine Conversation – Does the tour guide speak from their heart and tell personal stories based on their experiences, or does it sound scripted and perfected? 
  4. Interview Opportunity – Before coming to tour, see if undergraduate admissions offers interviews with students as an addition to your application. You can schedule this for the same day as your tour. If you want to further explain something on your resume or transcript, or you believe an interview could positively set you apart, it may be something you want to consider.  
  5. The Diversity of the Student Body – Are there multicultural or international students present on campus? This is important in a classroom setting to work on diverse teams and increase tolerance and understanding of others.  

Notes to Take:

  1. When you finish your tour, write down 3 things that were most memorable and that stand out from your 45 minute – 2 hour tour experience. Then, give the school an overall score, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. When it comes time to make the final decision on which acceptance to choose, this score can remind you of how you first felt in direct comparison with the other schools you looked at. 
  2. Create an Excel sheet that lists out: Name of School, Cost of Tuition/Housing, Size of School (in number of students), % Male and % Female, Distance from Home (in miles and time), Major (of interest) offered, Early Action or Decision deadline, Regular Decision deadline, and any scholarship you received. This creates an organized, comprehensible chart to easily compare.

When touring college campuses, it can be difficult to know what to “capture”: the questions to ask, the crucial parts to pay attention to, and the notes to write down. This blog gives you insight from a current college student and tour guide to make the process less overwhelming.