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16 tips to get
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placeholder September 5, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 15   •   Oakland, CA
College Information Guide

16 tips to get the most out of college tours

It is that time of the year when rising seniors always have college on their minds and rising juniors are starting to make lists of colleges they might want to attend. Along with writing the essays, deciding your major and creating a list of colleges you want to attend, a crucial part of the process is college tours.

Virginia Jacobs

Many people simply go into the college tour knowing basic facts about the college and not doing much else to prepare. Although that can be effective for some here are some tips and tricks to get the most out of your college tours:

Do research on the college prior to the tour so you not only know slightly how to get around campus but also so you can ask better questions. It will also prepare you for what you are going to walk into such as the size of the school.

When I went to San Diego State University I assumed it would be medium-sized but it was much larger than I anticipated so the surprise unsettled me.

Ask hard to answer questions rather than ones you can easily find online because you don't want to waste your time asking questions you could figure out easily on your own. If you are traveling from a different state this may be your single chance to get a face-to-face answer to an important question.

Prepare a list of questions because you can fill the silence that follows the tour guide's: "any questions?" and you don't want to go home just to realize you actually do have questions you wish you would have asked.

During the admissions process colleges can see if you visited their school or not by looking at the people who went on tours or seeing their name written down by the receptionist. This shows a great interest in their school and will increase how much they like you as an applicant. Visit the front desk and write your name down or have the receptionists write your name down. Also do not forget to check in for your tour so they know you showed up.

Go during a time when school is in session so you will be able to get a sense of the atmosphere around campus.

Talk to your out-of-state adviser because it shows the board of administration that you are willing to go out of your way to get things done. In addition, this is a good place to get difficult questions answered.

Email or write the schools a thank you note so again they see that you go out of your way to do things. This is a good way to get your name remembered for the admissions process.

Take notes because the tour guides throw a lot of information at you very quickly and you don't want to forget any of it.

Do not lose the pamphlets or packets they will give you because inside is all of the statistical information that you will need to know later on.

Visit during an open house because you will be able to talk to many more people including the teachers and students in the major you are looking at going in to.

Talk to teachers to get a general understanding of what the majority of teachers will be like at the school. Ask them questions like what their teaching style follows.

Talk to students around campus to get an understanding of how they treat each other. Along with this you can ask them more controversial questions like what they don't like about the school that the tour guide might not answer.

If you are unable to physically go to a college try a virtual tour. Not all colleges have this but if you go to a college's website you should be able to see whether or not this is an available option. If so it is a good way to be able to see what the campus is like.

See what there is to do outside campus by driving around the surrounding cities to see if there is anything fun to do outside campus such as theme parks, movie theaters, malls, bowling alleys, etc.

Walk around campus to all the places the tour skipped over because it is impossible for the whole of some campuses to be shown in one hour. Going to these places you can see if there was a reason they were skipped over, like it being ugly or unsafe, or if it is similar to the rest of campus but there just wasn't enough time to show it on the tour.

Read the newspaper because this can give you an idea of the issues cared about within the campus. Depending on what the newspaper writes about has the ability to show you what the students care about. In addition there may be sections where you can learn more about the college.

(Virginia Jacobs is a senior at La Salle Catholic College Prep in Milwaukie, Oregon, and editor of the LaSalle Falconer. She was an intern at The Catholic Voice this summer.)

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