For many High School Juniors and Seniors now is the time that you will be college hunting! A year ago I was still with y'all in the search, believe me I know it can be a long one! I know that I talked to my college counselor so often about what I should do on campus tours and any tips she may have had. I decided this post would be the type of post I would have looked for during my tour experiences to make the most of them!
One of the biggest tips I can give in regards to visiting colleges would be to visit as many colleges as you can. By doing this you are able to come up with a list of things you like and don't like narrowing your search down immensely! Certainly don't close off options before seeing what you are judging! I was fortunate enough to have that feeling lots of people talk about in relation to colleges and wedding dresses about knowing where you belong once you are on the campus.
When visiting Furman my junior year my mom had to tell me to stop telling her how much I loved it. Once on campus I knew that was where I wanted to be! Now, I also understand that where you want to be may not necessarily be where you end up (scholarships, acceptance, etc definitely play a role and y'all know that).
Below I have compiled a list of things you can do to make the very most of your college tour!
1. Walk in the Front:
Most tour guides are students who are showing you the school they chose when they were in your shoes. Take advantage of this similarity and walk in the front and get to know them. Not only will it allow them to see your genuine interest but will also allow you a view of the school from someone who is loving their experience there. By walking in the front you won't get lost in the crowd and will likely be able to learn first hand about the application and scholarship process that could be pivotal to your future at any college.
2. Ask lots of Questions:
By following tip number one you are already in the perfect position to begin asking questions. Many of things you may want answered may also be answered on online sites but hearing from a liaison to the University can be indispensable. Don't only ask the basics like "are classes hard" but instead ask unexpected questions that you are hoping to know the answers to! The best person to ask these questions to is a current student which leads me to tip number three...
3. Talk to a Current Student:
I would consider myself a relatively outgoing person and I am pretty good at making conversation however sometimes chatting with current students (when it's unplanned and you don't know them) can just be plain awkward! Talking to a current student is the best way to learn about the students, workload, things to do, and food options on campus. They are the ones experiencing the schools therefore they know best! PS. If you are considering Furman and are coming for a visit I would love to sit down with you and talk about my experience! Don't hesitate to email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Explore the Campus on your Own:
While school guided campus tours are terrific it is great to take some time to explore the campus on your own. In college you will not have someone guiding you around so attempt to explore it on your own! This will allow you time to utilize tip number 6!
5. Make a Pro / Con list:
You will be looking at lots of different colleges and chances are you will mix up some of the campuses. Be sure to make a pro/con list after each tour so that you can look back on your experience and better recollect on your experience. Be sure to make this pro/con list based on your own opinion, not what you have heard other people say about the school or opinions other people in your group have voiced. Frankly, they are not the one who will be experiencing the school decision you make so do not let them form your opinion of a school this pro/con list needs to be filled with the stuff YOU like and what YOU dislike!
6. Spend time in the Library, Dining Hall, and Dorms:
These are the places that as a student you will spend the majority of your time so be sure to get a feel for the atmosphere and layout of these locations! Be sure to see a freshman dorm room, let's face it, you need to know the size and setup so that you can start imagining decorating your dorm there. The dining hall and library are hubs for students! If you can, eat a meal in the dining hall and do plenty of people watching to get a feel for what it is like in this place where you will spend plenty of time and after a meal head on over to the Library! As much as you don't want to hear this, you will spend lots and lots (and lots) of time in the library, it is the perfect place to get away and get some studying accomplished along with a bit of socializing so it is a essential for you to check it out!
7. Take some Pictures:
You will want to remember your experiences at these different college campuses so why not remember them with pictures! Also, taking pictures will allow you to better recall things you experienced while touring the college!
8. Explore the Surrounding Area:
There is more to choosing a college than just the campus. You definitely need to take into account the area around campus. If you are the type of person who wants to be near a city that will affect where you look at schools! I love downtown Greenville and loved exploring it for the first time when on my first tour of Furman! Take advantage of shopping around (with your parents money) before you are on a college kid budget!
Good luck on your college search!
What tips do you have for college searching students?