Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

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Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Reecy ArestyCollege Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & AuthorPayless For College, Inc.

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Make sure school is in session when visiting. Ask plenty of questions, take pictures, eat in the cafeteria and visit a dorm or 2.

Lucy Smith

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

The best way to make the most of your college tour is to go in with some ideas of what you’re looking for out of your college experience. What do you want to study? What kind of relationship are you looking to have with both your professors and peers? What do you like about your high school that you want to have in college? What didn’t your high school have that you hope your college will? Where do you want to live for the next four years? In what kind of environment do you learn the best? You get the idea. Next, make sure you are making your visit on a day when school is in session so that you can meet with students and professors, and sit in on a class or two. Go hang out in the Student Union, quad, or wherever you see the bulk of students spending their free time. Observe, ask questions, experience. After each visit, jot down notes on what you liked, what you didn’t, and take some time to decide if that college is the right fit for you.

Fangchen Zhu

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Find on the university website to get information

Dr. Bruce NeimeyerCEO/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Be prepared….

I think it is difficult for a family to know what to do for a college visit if they have never really experienced one. I tend to prep my families to do their homework and I give them a spreadsheet of important questions to ask based on my years of experience in the field. However, even with this guidance some families will still show up unprepared and realize their mistake a little too late. If you tend to operate like this, then I suggest that you go on a campus visit to a local university. Experience the day and make note of all the things you hear and want to know more about. This way if you make a mistake and feel you didn’t do enough homework before your visit, you can always go back easily and get those questions answered. Now that you have experienced such a visit, you can more easily make a list of everything that is important for you and your parents to understand and to gather about the college or university when you visit. See what information you can find on the schools website to answer your questions prior to the visit. If it is unclear, get that information clarified when you visit. If it is clear but requires you to experience it like how good the cafeteria food tastes…then make a point to do that while on campus. You should not treat your visit to campus any differently than your investigation into a new cell phone or any other purchase that you make. Most of us tend to go online, compare, read reviews, and think about what is most important for us. Why would you treat a potential $100,000 investment any differently than your next cell phone or iPad purchase? This early preparation should also allow you some time to just enjoy the day and take in the culture of the campus. You should allow yourself to have some fun while visiting right? Beyond this advice, I suggest that you make sure you speak with an informed admissions counselor about any specific questions you have. Also, if you have the courage, stop a random student on campus and ask them about their experience. Take their comments with a grain of salt because it is random…. Pick up the student newspaper to understand what the student hot buttons are at the moment. Observe what is happening in the hallways, on the sidewalks, in the classrooms. You heard all the propaganda and now you need to do some people watching to see if it is true. If you follow this simple advice, I believe you will be satisfied with the visit that you make. Remember, you should visit prior to applying to a school and I recommend a return visit prior to making your final decision. You are going to live there for four or more years so make the effort now to choose wisely!

Catherine Finneran

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Go prepared and ask questions about your interested field, quality of life and whether or not students leave on the weekend. Schedule a meeting with a current student and sit in freshmen level class. Also, read the school’s newspaper and the underground newspaper to truly appreciate daily life on campus.

Mandy ReillyCounselor

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

To get the most out of a college visit, go prepared. First, do some homework ahead of time by visiting the shool’s web pages and learn as much as you can about the academic programs offered, as well as tuition and financial aid available. Once you have some information, it’s likely you will have a number of questions. Type or write out a bulleted list of questions to help you remember what they are. Also, make sure you have good directions and allot plenty of time to arrive considerably early so that you can explore the campus on your own a bit before the formal schedule begins. Second, if you can, bring along a family member or dear friend who might help to ask some critical questions and to give you feedback about whether or not they think the school is a good fit for you. After all, the people who care about you probably know know you and want to see you thrive and get the most out of our acadmics. Finally, if you want to take it one step further, be prepared for an on the spot entrance interview. It is not uncommon that colleges and universities will give you an opportunity to interview at the time of your visit.

Joe OraveczSenior Student Affairs OfficerLocated in Nebraska

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Make sure your tourguide is very involved on-campus, and has similar interests to you. Also, you should arrange to meet with a faculty member so you can see if they focus on the undergraduate student or the graduate student. If they can’t find a faculty member for you to meet with – then move on to a different college.

Nathalie Galindo

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Well, there are two parts to this question in my mind– how do you prepare for a whole visit to campus, and then how do you prepare for tours and info sessions. I want to answer both of these questions, because they depend on each other. For the first part of the question, make sure you do your research before arriving on campus. Have an itinerary set up, and be sure to give the most amount of time to the schools that seem to interest you the most. Find out the following things: 1) Is there an informational interview opportunity with the admissions office? 2) Are there students on campus that you might like to talk to? (Perhaps from a student group that you’re interested in or someone you know who can give you an inside look?) 3) Find out if you can visit a class. Usually, admissions offices will have a list of pre-approved courses you can visit, but if there’s a particular professor or course you’re excited about, email the professor directly about it. If you can’t attend the class, maybe you can meet with him/her outside of class! If you’re able to do these things, you’ll have more ammunition to walk into campus tours and info sessions with. For these, you definitely want to draw on your research and consider aspects of the college that you still have questions about. Some of these may be answered through the info sessions and tours, but have them ready ahead of time in case they’re not. I recommend the following: 1) I must repeat it here: do your research. If you do, you wont waste time asking procedural questions that you can find online, and can instead spend time really thinking about the things that determine your fit with the institution you’re visiting (such as student life and culture, academic culture, advising, access to professors/mentors, sense of community, etc.) 2) Come ready with a notepad and a pen/pencil to take note of the details most important to you. If you can, ask for the tour guide’s and/or info session presenter’s email to send them a thank you email or to ask them more questions afterwards. Don’t expect that you’ll automatically get their info, but it’s worth a try. And yes, do send a thank you email after the fact. 3) Don’t leave a college campus without covering the following aspects: Academics, Extracurricular Activities, Student Life, Housing, the Admissions Process, and Financial Aid. These should all be automatically covered by the people on campus, but if not, make sure to ask them to talk about what was missed. 4) Last, but not least, make the effort to meet multiple people on campus. Remember, person giving the info session or the tour is NOT absolutely representative of the whole campus, so don’t let one person make or break your image of that individual college. The more people you meet and talk to, the better sense you’ll have for the particular experience at that college. I hope this advice is helpful! Good luck checking colleges out, picturing yourself on the many different campuses, and imagining your future life as a college student!

Julie ManhanFounderCollege Navigation

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Be prepared. Make a list of the things you want to see and questions you would like answered. Do more than take a tour and sit in on an info session. Take the opportunity to find out about things that are important to you. (i.e. prospective Art majors, should make arrangements in advance to tour the studios and speak with a professor.) Stop by the Career Center and check out what services and internships are available. Plan to have lunch in the dining commons to meet current students and hear the kinds of things they are discussing. “Walk the halls and read the walls.” Here you will see student artwork, research projects, and upcoming social events. Pick up a school newspaper to get a sense of issues students are concerned about. Before you leave, sit and write down your impressions so you can remember them when you get home. Don’t forget to check out the surrounding neighborhood as you drive away.

Lisa Ford

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Make an appointment with an admissions counselor Develop a relationship with the same admissions counselor Ask their advice on when to complete applications (admissions, FA, scholarships, etc) Find out in advance what the info sessions are and the target audience (parent, student) Plan your trip using all of the information to get the most out of the day

Paul WeberCollege Admissions ConsultantCollege Pathfinder

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

First and foremost, be sure to sign-up for an official tour through the admissions office. The campus tour will likely lead you past brand new construction, the nicest dorms, and a trip to the international food court. The journey around campus will usually be led by one of the most energetic and positive students on campus. You may also attend an information session with admissions, administrators, professors, and/or students. These structured programs will reveal the best each college has to offer. Equally as important to a formal campus tour is venturing off on your own. Break away from your parents for a period of time. You might find that students are reacting differently to you when it is not obvious that you are a high school student on a tour with your parents. Sit for a while in a common area and observe. I like to perform what I call the “Hello” test. Try walking around and simply acknowledging students and professors on campus with a hello or head nod acknowledging there presence. Are they reciprocating your verbal and non-verbal communication? Are they making eye-contact? How welcome do you feel? Are students interacting with professors? Muhlenberg is one of many examples of a college that passed my “Hello” test. Students were very friendly and engaged in conversations with professors all over campus. You are likely traveling several hours for your visit. Make the most of your time on campus.

Joe Beckmann

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Closely question any student guides about where students lunch, where they go on weekends, and which dorms have what kinds of reputations. Student living patterns are very often much better indicators of how well students will do in classes than most people recognize. How many students have work-study jobs, and what kinds of jobs do they include; where are internships, and what does it take to get one; what summer projects or jobs does the college offer, both to make money and, perhaps, accelerate graduation. And where in a student union do students go to trade information; is there a student reported ranking of classes or faculty; and where do students go on dates, with what other colleges? Get a sense of the social and cultural environment: are plays and concerts less expensive or more frequent than football and basketball games? Does that pattern fit your lifestyle, or meet your social – as well as cultural – needs? Are other campuses open and collaborating (many colleges have shared programs or cultural activities, sports or travel options). Better than these questions, can you meet with three friends and compare your questions to develop a profile of each college each of you visit? to better accomplish such a goal, use 3×5 cards to write your questions, and then, a week later, compare your piles of questions before putting them in any order you may prefer. Building a profile is much, much stronger when you have a team and you’re comparing your impressions of the same or different colleges.

Peggy WallaceFounderMaking Conversation, LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

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Prilla OConnell

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

When you step on a campus, you will get an instant impression…it may change as you continue with the tour, but pay attention to your instincts. Can you really imagine yourself hanging out with the students you see and talk to for the next 4 years of your life? Do you get excited about how the college engages its students in learning? If it’s only so-so, but it has your major or is “prestigious” in your world, scrap it! Do you get even more excited hearing the descriptions of classes offered, activity choices, and the vibe? If yes, follow up with the admissions counselor for your region and let them know! Colleges really appreciate knowing what students are really interested. If you’re in town for a couple of days, see if you can come back and sit in on a class or spend the day with a student or even better ask for an overnight. Still like it, put it on your short list of schools!

Randi HeathmanIndependent Educational ConsultantThe Equestrian College Advisor LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

I’m infamous with my students for telling them that every campus tour is (basically) the same. Guides will take you to the campus’s flagship building (usually a particularly impressive science or business facility or whatever is the most recently constructed or renovated), the dining hall, the library, the athletic facilities, and a residence hall. They’ll consciously take you around the token ugly building (every campus has one!) and, in the end, you’ll have received a perfectly pre-packaged glimpse at a school – usually accompanied by nothing that can truly help you understand what it might be like to be a member of their student body. I encourage my students to employ the following strategy: Go BEYOND the tour and the information session. How? Here are my tips: Sit near (or at) the front during the admission session. Take notes for later to help you remember key items after you’ve returned home – or to help you ask questions at the conclusion of the session. If the session presenters are students, don’t hesitate to ask them why they chose the school and if they would make the same choice over again if they were in your position. (They’ll say yes – but it’s the reasons WHY that will be important to you.) Stay near the guide when you’re on tour. You don’t want to miss anything that he or she says and you certainly want to be close enough to ask questions as they arise while you’re walking around. In big groups, this can be a bit of a challenge, but the end result is worth it. If the tour doesn’t visit the academic building where you most likely will spend much of your time as a student (e.g. the humanities building if you’re thinking of majoring in English), make sure your guide identifies it for you so that you can return to visit on your own after the tour. TRY THE FOOD! This one is in all caps because many tour guides will brag about the quality of food on campus – while in the next breath they’ll tell you that they use the majority of their available food swipes at other on-campus eateries. So while you’re on campus, be sure to find out if the dining hall food is to your taste – or not! Wander on your own – with or without your parents. After the tour concludes, be sure to get out and explore campus a bit on your own. Talk with students who aren’t employed by the admission office and ask them about their experiences. Visit the student center and see what goes on in between classes – then see if you can truly picture yourself there for four years. Finally, if you still have lingering questions following a tour or info session, inquire about meeting with a financial aid or admission officer while you’re on campus. Appointments are usually available and you don’t want to leave campus missing any key pieces of information!

Rachel Brockhoff

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Ask questions. The more questions you ask the more information you find out. Research the school beforehand and know what you need to find out. Listen to what others are saying, there is someone out there who wants to know the same information as you. If you need to know something specific to your major, sneak off and see an adviser quickly, they will usually help you out.

Juliet ThomasLicensed School Counselor and former College Admission Representative

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

If you are even semi-interested in a school, I would plan to visit at least 2-3 times. It’s important that you try to visit during different times of the year. For example, if you visit a smaller campus during summer, you might get the impression that it’s really quiet and boring. That’s just because most students are at home and they do not offer a huge number of summer classes. Be sure to return to that campus during mid-week of fall semester to see what it’s like on, say, a typical Tuesday. If you visit a school during the cold months in an area that deals with winter weather, you might get more insight into how well the school manages snow removal or how important learning the bus system might be at a large school so you’re not walking 2 miles across campus in the freezing cold. A large group tour (say, on a Saturday morning) is a good, convenient option for a first visit. If possible, though, you will want a more tailored, personalized visit after that during the week in the academic year. You will want to meet one-on-one with a professor, sit in on class, discuss your options with a coach, or attend a theater production. When you are visiting, ask questions to your tour guide or admission representative such as, “What is your single most favorite thing about the school? What is your single least favorite?” Maybe asking, “If you were president for a day, what changes would you make on campus” might get more of an honest answer. Also, be sure to save time to drive around the town or area the campus is located in. Typically college campuses are in a nice little bubble of well-maintained buildings and landscaping. Be sure to go a few blocks/miles in any direction to see what the rest of the area is like just to make sure you have a realistic sense of what the area is like, and not just the pretty images of campus you see in marketing materials.

Tomika Ferguson

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

First, arrive early. This is will decrease any stress that you and your family may have when trying to find where you are supposed to be. Second, prepare a list of questions before hand that demonstrates that you have some knowledge of the campus, academic programs that you are interested in, and student organizations/activities that you would like to participate in. Third, ask your questions. Lastly, after your tour is over, wander around the campus on your own and ask students you pass by their campus experiences. This will ensure that you are getting the most honest information.

Elisa BennettDirector & Independent College CounselorAccess 2 Admission

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Tip #1 on Getting the Most out of a Campus Tour: Shedule a formal tour with the school prior to visiting! Families often plan a college tours that works best for them, but that may not be ideal for the school. Registering for your tour ahead of time usually allows for the student and his/her family to meet with a representative of the admissions office and ensures them that they will see and learn about all the important aspects of the school. You want an opportunity to view the living quarters, learn about programs that you never would have known to ask about, and hear about admissions strategies from the experts at that specific school. Tip #2: Do your research prior to attending. Don’t waste the valuable time with a college rep with questions that could have easily been answered with a quick look at the school’s website. Tip #3: After you attend the tour or info session, write notes down about what you learned and keep them in your “College Exploration Folder”. Write down cool facts, how you felt about what you learned at the session or what your felt like while walking on the college campus. This information will help you compare schools and eventually determine the college(s) that would be an ideal match for your personally.

Mike KentFounder / DirectorCollegeMax Counseling

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Great question… The time to think about how to get the most out of your visit is to plan for it before you ever get to campus. Research the college a little so you will know what to keep your eyes open for, and what questions to ask, once you get there. If you go with a goal of learning about certain specific topics, you will be much more likely to leave with a good answer. Also, while you should always take the formal tour and sit in on the info sessions, it is equally important to spend a little time seeing the campus on your own. Eat where the students eat, see if you can sit in on a class or two (admissions offices will usually help you set these up), and strike up a conversation or two with students and/or faculty. The students I work with often find they learn just as much when they explore like this.

Mike KentFounder / DirectorCollegeMax Counseling

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Great question… The time to think about how to get the most out of your visit is to plan for it before you ever get to campus. Research the college a little so you will know what to keep your eyes open for, and what questions to ask, once you get there. If you go with a goal of learning about certain specific topics, you will be much more likely to leave with a good answer. Also, while you should always take the formal tour and sit in on the info sessions, it is equally important to spend a little time seeing the campus on your own. Eat where the students eat, see if you can sit in on a class or two (admissions offices will usually help you set these up), and strike up a conversation or two with students and/or faculty. The students I work with often find they learn just as much when they explore like this.

Devyn Thornton

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Prepare questions and research the campus before you arrive. If your first tour is also your first info session you will be overwhelmed and not get all the information you wanted. Before I went on tours I actually took my own tour of the campus first so I had questions that I could ask the ambassadors later. Also, if an ambassador knows you have done your research, he or she will most likely be more willing to answer your questions!

Mike KentFounder / DirectorCollegeMax Counseling

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Great question… The time to think about how to get the most out of your visit is to plan for it before you ever get to campus. Research the college a little so you will know what to keep your eyes open for, and what questions to ask, once you get there. If you go with a goal of learning about certain specific topics, you will be much more likely to leave with a good answer. Also, while you should always take the formal tour and sit in on the info sessions, it is equally important to spend a little time seeing the campus on your own. Eat where the students eat, see if you can sit in on a class or two (admissions offices will usually help you set these up), and strike up a conversation or two with students and/or faculty. The students I work with often find they learn just as much when they explore like this. Mike Kent CollegeMax Counseling (818) 519-5279

Leslie Emanuel

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Come to the college having already done your homework by this I mean be familiar with the academic programs that are offered so you can ask intelligent and insightful questions. Take notes at the info session because after seeing an abundance of schools it is easy to get them confused.

Penny DeckOwnerChampion College Counseling

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Ask lots of questions. Don’t hesitate to go “off tour” to see the specific areas, programs, buildings you need to see to make the best decision for you. Sit in on a class, maybe in a subject you are thinking of majoring in. Tour the surrounding community. Lastly, document your visit. I have created a journal book for my clients to take with them so that they can write down their thoughts and impressions as well as writing down the name and contact information for those they meet on the tour, e.g., their regional admissions rep, their student tour guide, the financial aid officer, etc.

Ashley Pepsin

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

I have three main pieces of advice here. 1) Ask questions. It wouldn’t hurt to have a standard list of questions that you plan to ask tour guides and admission counselors at each college campus you plan to visit; do not hesitate to ask other questions as they arise throughout your visit. 2) Be observant. Look at community message boards, event postings, campus newspaper articles, etc. If something looks interesting or alarming, ask about it. In addition, pay attention to how students move about campus and what they are doing. Do they tend to lounge in large groups? Study alone? Do many students seem to be outdoors (this can be impacted by poor weather of course)? Can you see yourself being friends with your tour guide and/or other students you come into contact with? 3) Ask for contact information from those ambassadors you meet. Process your visit, keep in touch, and ask follow up questions. Make sure you keep good notes!

Jessica Donovan

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

First, plan at least a month in advance. Think about the majors in which you are potentially interested and contact the undergraduate director or department head for an appointment. Be sure and have a list of questions prepared ahead of time about advising, courses and experiential learning opportunities. Ask to shadow a current undergraduate student for a few hours and visit classroom, departmental and lab space. If possible, spend the night on-campus with another student while Mom and Dad enjoy a night out. This will give you more of a flavor of campus life than just the walking tour.

Mike KentFounder / DirectorCollegeMax Counseling

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Great question… The time to think about how to get the most out of your visit is to plan for it before you ever get to campus. Research the college a little so you will know what to keep your eyes open for, and what questions to ask, once you get there. If you go with a goal of learning about certain specific topics, you will be much more likely to leave with a good answer. Also, while you should always take the formal tour and sit in on the info sessions, it is equally important to spend a little time seeing the campus on your own. Eat where the students eat, see if you can sit in on a class or two (admissions offices will usually help you set these up), and strike up a conversation or two with students and/or faculty. The students I work with often find they learn just as much when they explore like this. Mike Kent CollegeMax Counseling [email protected]

Nora Kling

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

The centerpiece of your college visit is the official campus tour and information session. However, it is important to remember that this is a polished presentation. You may need to dig a little deeper to get the real ‘essence’ of the campus you are visiting. Your tour guide may very well be a current student. Take the time to ask that student about their personal experience on campus. Ask about anything and everything. Of course ask about classes, technology, workload, sports, etc. Don’t forget to ask about other important aspects of student life such as the campus food and the dorms. Pick up a student newspaper if you get a chance. It may give you important insight to the school’s personality. Take the opportunity after the formal tour to just look around. See if you can walk around the halls of buildings and just talk to students and professors. Besides the fact that you are looking for a quality academic experience, remember that the school you pick is the place where you will spend four years of your life. You need to take into account both academic and social aspects of the school you ultimately pick.

Julie ManhanFounderCollege Navigation

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Be prepared. Before you go, make a list of the things you want to see and questions you would like answered. Plan to do more than take standard tour and sit in on an info session. Take advantage of the opportunity to find out about things that are particularly important to you. (i.e. If you are planning to major in Art, make arrangements ahead of time to tour the studios and speak with a professor.) Be sure to stop by the Career Center and check out what services and internships are available. Plan to have lunch in the dining commons, not just to check out the food selections, but to meet current students and hear the kinds of things students are discussing. As they say, “Walk the halls and read the walls.” By doing this, you will often see student artwork, research projects, and upcoming social events. Be sure to pick up a school newspaper to get a sense of issues students are concerned about as well. Then, before you leave, sit and write down your impressions – both good and bad – so you can remember them when you get home. And as you drive away, don’t forget to check out the surrounding neighborhood

Julie ManhanFounderCollege Navigation

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Be prepared. Before you go, make a list of the things you want to see and questions you would like answered. Plan to do more than take standard tour and sit in on an info session. Take advantage of the opportunity to find out about things that are particularly important to you. (i.e. If you are planning to major in Art, make arrangements ahead of time to tour the studios and speak with a professor.) Be sure to stop by the Career Center and check out what services and internships are available. Plan to have lunch in the dining commons, not just to check out the food selections, but to meet current students and hear the kinds of things students are discussing. As they say, “Walk the halls and read the walls.” By doing this, you will often see student artwork, research projects, and upcoming social events. Be sure to pick up a school newspaper to get a sense of issues students are concerned about as well. Then, before you leave, sit and write down your impressions – both good and bad – so you can remember them when you get home. And as you drive away, don’t forget to check out the surrounding neighborhood.

Julie ManhanFounderCollege Navigation

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Be prepared. Make a list of the things you want to see and questions you would like answered. Do more than take a tour and sit in on an info session. Take the opportunity to find out about things that are important to you. (i.e. prospective Art majors, should make arrangements in advance to tour the studios and speak with a professor.) Be sure to stop by the Career Center and check out what services and internships are available. Plan to have lunch in the dining commons to meet current students and hear the kinds of things students are discussing. “Walk the halls and read the walls.” By doing this, you may see student artwork, research projects, and upcoming social events. Pick up a school newspaper to get a sense of issues students are concerned about. Before you leave, sit and write down your impressions – both good and bad – so you can remember them when you get home. Don’t forget to check out the surrounding neighborhood as you drive away.

Julie ManhanFounderCollege Navigation

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Be prepared. Make a list of the things you want to see and questions you would like answered. Do more than take a tour and sit in on an info session. Take the opportunity to find out about things that are important to you. (i.e. prospective Art majors, should make arrangements in advance to tour the studios and speak with a professor.) Be sure to stop by the Career Center and check out what services and internships are available. Plan to have lunch in the dining commons to meet current students and hear the kinds of things they are discussing. “Walk the halls and read the walls.” Here you will see student artwork, research projects, and upcoming social events. Pick up a school newspaper to get a sense of issues students are concerned about. Before you leave, sit and write down your impressions so you can remember them when you get home. Don’t forget to check out the surrounding neighborhood as you drive away.

Julie ManhanFounderCollege Navigation

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Be prepared. Make a list of the things you want to see and questions you would like answered. Do more than take a tour and sit in on an info session. Take the opportunity to find out about things that are important to you. (i.e. prospective Art majors, should make arrangements in advance to tour the studios and speak with a professor.) Stop by the Career Center and check out what services and internships are available. Plan to have lunch in the dining commons to meet current students and hear the kinds of things they are discussing. “Walk the halls and read the walls.” Here you will see student artwork, research projects, and upcoming social events. Pick up a school newspaper to get a sense of issues students are concerned about. Before you leave, sit and write down your impressions so you can remember them when you get home. Don’t forget to check out the surrounding neighborhood as you drive away.

Samantha GreenwoodUndergraduate Admissions CounselorChatham University

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

To get the most out of your campus tour and info session, make sure you come prepared with questions. Look at the website first, or talk with your family and friends about what things are important to you in a college. Make a list! Many schools will be refreshed and excited that you have good questions to ask. If you are going on a tour, bring a camera. Taking pictures can help you show friends and family back home, and can help jog your memory when you’re making decisions later. Be sure to get a business card with a phone number and email address where you can address questions.

Christine Spading

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

The key on campus tours and info sessions is asking the right questions. Before you visit a college, figure out what’s important for you in a college. For example, maybe you are very concerned about how good their engineering program is. When you get on campus, be sure ask pointed questions like what percentage of their students get jobs in their field, how many professors have real-life experience, etc. Or if it’s important to you to have a lots of close, genuine friendships in college, then ask students about how many stick around on the weekends and what the community is like. If you just go into a tour and soak up the general information, you may not find out the answers to what’s important for you. If possible, try to stay overnight in the dorms. The campus tours and info sessions will always highlight the best features of the college, but if you want to find out what the college is really like, it’s good to get a “behind-the-scenes” perspective by staying overnight.

Andrea Shupert

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

First, make sure you register your visit. Many colleges consider the interest you have shown when extending acceptances. Before you visit, check out the website and note any questions might have. Make sure they have the major you are interested in, the activities you care about, and the class size that you learn best in. As you tour, write down questions you might have and ask those questions when appropriate. Ask to sit in on a class. As you sit in a large style lecture class, ask yourself, “could I learn in this environment?” Visit a typical sized class and determine if the class type and size suits your learning style. Next, try to spend the night on campus with a resident student. Check out what students do at night. Do they begin partying in the middle of the week or do they study? Seeing students in action will help you to determine if the dorm is the place where you can do the work of a student – studying. Finally, write a thank you note to those you interacted with. Thank them for their time and try to mention some specifically that you learned/gained from time with them.

Dr. Carol LangloisFounder/CEOHigher Education Specialists

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

When visiting a campus always try to get: 1) a personal interview with the admissions office 2) talk to a faculty member within the department you are applying 3) talk to a student—most admissions offices are happy to pair you with a present student within your major. Don’t be shy to ask for informational meetings with these 3 different populations. This way you have a solid overview for the campus, their programs and rankings from the admissions people. You will get a strong understanding about your major, classes and overall academics from the faculty member. And, lastly by speaking to a student within your major, they will be able to give you their personal perspective on the program, coursework and faculty. Not to mention, they will be able to also give you their opinion on campus life. Such as, dormitories, cafeterias, campus gym, library, etc. Plan to give yourself about 45 min. with each of these people and be ready with a set list of questions so not to waste their time or yours.

Matthew Riehm

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Tips for maximizing your college visit. The CEO of Pepsi Cola once said, “People who don’t do their homework, turn me off.” Going on a campus tour and not being prepared can be a major “party foul”. Don’t be that student asking questions that everyone already knows the answer to. Be the smart kid who has done the research and asks good questions. Your questions should be natural and inspire dialogue. While you may be interviewing the admissions counselor about the campus, they in turn, are interviewing you. Be smart about the questions you ask. As stated above, research means referring to the college website. The college website is designed to answer FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions). From there you will glean all the basic information before attending a college visit. To make it easy, I broke down the questions into four groups. Academic Challenge, Active Learning, Student-Faculty Interaction and Campus Environment. Academic Challenge: What are the faculty expectations of students? How does the faculty stretch and develop students to grow to their fullest potential? How much time is spent doing homework each week? What types of assignments are given (papers, exams, problem sets, research)? How much reading/writing is expected? Are exams difficult? Are there academic supports on campus like tutoring? Active Learning: How and when are majors selected? Can you design your own major? How do students receive help selecting classes? How frequently do students do classroom presentations? Are there opportunities for internships? Student-Faculty Interaction: How accessible are faculty members to the student? Is there opportunity to do research with faculty? When do students talk about career plans? Is there a Career Center? Campus Environment: What do students like about the campus? How well do students get along with a faculty, administration, and staff? What services are available for students to cope with the stress of college and other personal matters? What do students do for fun? How many students go home for the weekend? How many remain? What kind of activities are provided to bring campus unity? Is it easy to get involved in student government? The questions listed above will provide a solid framework to start asking questions that are relevant to you and what you are seeking. One thing I would suggest, don’t just ask the outreach counselor these questions, ask a few students you might see on campus. Asking students on campus who are not being paid to be the campus cheerleader will give you a very raw and accurate reality of what the college might really be like. Last of all, have fun with these questions, interact with the outreach counselor and loosen them up a little so they will be more apt to go deeper into what the college has to offer. Remember, they do tours all the time and you want to be the student who is remembered for doing your home work and having a good personality. Make it Count- The College Coach – Matthew E. Riehm

Amy Mendelson

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

EAVESDROP!! Yep, break away from the tour (which often is scripted and supposed to make you want to enroll) and visit the dining hall, or quad, or take in a performance and listen to what people around you saying…you get the “down low” on what it is really like to live and study there. Then, don’t be afraid to talk to current students–they are your best resource for the “real story.” Also, read the campus newspaper–it’ll help you get a feel for the climate of the campus. When visiting, use your cell phone to take tons of pictures… it’ll help you keep the campuses separate when you sit down to digest the visit. When a campus rep comes to your school to visit: sit in the front and ask an intelligent question. If you are super interested in attending, hang out at the end and introduce yourself. Firm handshake and a follow up question are important tools to use, too.

Karen O’NeillStudent Affairs Professional and College Counselor.College Counseling Today

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Take the campus tour and attend the information session. Pay as much attention to the other students on the tour as you do to the Student Ambassadors who are conducting the tour and the admissions rep who is delivering the information session. Ask yourself, can I see myself feeling comfortable with these students as peers and classmates? After (or before) the tours and information sessions, stop into the school student center and pick up the school newspaper. Read the posters up on the walls. Eavesdrop on conversations. Does this feel like a place you’d like to hang out in? Are the activities that are posted something you’d like to participate in? Are the news articles written about topics that you find interesting? Walk around campus. Do the students look happy? Are they walking around by themselves? Or are they walking with friends? Think about the activities you currently enjoy and the characteristics of your high school and peers that you enjoy. Do you see any evidence of these qualities on the campus? How did you feel when you visited the campus. Tense? Nervous? Comfortable? Like you could see yourself there? Like you could not wait to get off that campus? Go with your gut feelings. Trust your reactions but keep an open mind. If you are a junior and you go back in your senior year, you may surprise yourself with how much you have changed. Keep an open mind, but be completely aware of how you felt on any specific campus tour.

Lin Johnson III

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

First, you should conduct basic research about the college, which includes reviewing the website, reading printed college materials, and talking with your college guidance counselor. Armed with some knowledge about the college, you can ask more specific questions and gain deeper insights that can strengthen your application. Second, you should prepare a set of 5-8 questions that are important for you. Given that you might be in a group or talking with different individuals, you will be prepared to gain different perspective and contribute to group discussions. Remember to be an active listener because no one like to answer the same question twice. Third, you should have your pitch ready for why you want to attend the particular college. You never know who will ask you about why you want to attend a particular college. Even, if you are uncertain, you should be prepared to highlight the college’s strengths in your view. Fourth, you should arrive 10-15 minutes early to any event as a way to talk to admission officers before the crowd comes. Last, you should take notes and ask individuals whether you can contact them with additional questions later. The benefit is that you begin to build a relationship with someone at the college.

Lin Johnson III

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Attending campus tours and information sessions is a wonderful opportunity to learn about a college and get your burning questions answered. More importantly, these are chances for you to interact with students, professors, admission officers, and others. It is paramount that you are prepared. First, you should conduct basic research about the college, which includes reviewing the website, reading printed college materials, and talking with your college guidance counselor. Armed with some knowledge about the college, you can ask more specific questions and gain deeper insights that can strengthen your application. Second, you should prepare a set of 5-8 questions that are important for you. Given that you might be in a group or talking with different individuals, you will be prepared to gain different perspective and contribute to group discussions. Remember to be an active listener because no one like to answer the same question twice. Third, you should have your pitch ready for why you want to attend the particular college. You never know who will ask you about why you want to attend a particular college. Even, if you are uncertain, you should be prepared to highlight the college’s strengths in your view. Fourth, you should arrive 10-15 minutes early to any event as a way to talk to admission officers before the crowd comes. Last, you should take notes and ask individuals whether you can contact them with additional questions later. The benefit is that you begin to build a relationship with someone at the college.

Emily GoldmanFounder and CounselorGrey Guidance

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

College visits provide excellent opportunities for you to experience college first hand. I generally encourage students to visit several different types of colleges (e.g., public, four-year; private, four-year, etc.) in order to get a better sense of the similarities and differences between college types. Inside Tips… – Try to schedule your visit at a time when school is in session. You will get a much better feel of the campus, the students, and the general environment – Wear comfortable shoes and bring a camera – If possible, schedule an appointment with an admissions officer – Consider the college factors that matter most to you as you are experiencing the campus – If possible, obtain business cards of the people you meet; stay connected throughout the application and admissions process – If school is in session, try to audit a class – Talk to a professor in your area of interest, a coach in your chosen sport, and, most importantly, a current student at the college – Visit a freshman residence hall; explore things like closet space, windows, bathroom situation, gender and year breakdown – Eat at one of the school’s cafeterias – Pick up a school newspaper – Notice how students are dressing (e.g., lots of school spirit? Political t-shirts? etc. – Walk/drive around the community surrounding the school

Kiersten MurphyExecutive Director and FounderMurphy College Consultants LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

If you want to get the most out of your tour, you will need to be an active participant. Too often I see student slagging towards the back, appearing very disinterested. Ask questions, take photos, jot down notes and even ask the tour guide for their email, to ask follow up questions.

Brett RoerCollege 101 Teacher / College AdvisorCollege 101 Consulting, Founder

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

ASK THE TOUR GUIDE QUESTIONS! Come up with a list of common questions that matter most to you and your family, and create a Google Doc that you can update after each campus visit so can compare the facts and your thoughts about each school during the college application process. You may be most interested in majors offered, dorm life, campus culture, or admission requirements, etc., and tour guides are usually well informed by the college to give you the answer they want you to hear. HOWEVER, to get an unfiltered view on the college you are visiting… SPEAK TO COLLEGE STUDENTS BEFORE AND AFTER THE TOUR! Find students on break on campus and ask them the same questions, or ask them what they think of the college. Don’t be afraid, college is the time to meet new people and come out of your shell, so be brave. Most students will gladly tell you things you would never be told by a college informational guide, and this information may help you when finalizing your college applications or selecting from accepted colleges. TIP: Speak to more than one student on a campus so you are not biased by just one person’s opinion.

Megan DorseySAT Prep & College AdvisorCollege Prep LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Begin by scheduling your visit through the admissions office. Most colleges will allow you to schedule online. Often you will be given the opportunity to attend an information session, possibly presentations by particular departments or schools, and a campus tour. Don’t try to skip the official visit and substitute a do-it-yourself tour instead. Some colleges track “demonstrated interest” and may consider the fact that you’ve visited campus when making admissions decisions. Additionally, the information presented in the session will help you decide whether admission and scholarships are likely, possible, or a reach at this school. What you are able to see on the day of the tour will depend on your schedule. Here are some of the things I do every time I visit a campus: 1. Ask questions. Ask your tour guides and take time to talk to people you meet – students, professors, and staff. What do they like about the school? What would they change? Every school has flaws— knowing them ahead of time helps. 2. Take time to see parts of campus not shown on the tour. Does it fit in with what you were shown? How long will it take you to travel from one end of campus to the other? Where are the freshman dorms located? 3. Pick up a copy of the student newspaper. Find out what issues have students talking. Typical student papers feature complaints. Do you see standard complaints about tuition rates and campus politics or are there bigger problems? 4. Eat in the student cafeteria. Ask the admissions office to let you eat in the regular cafeteria, not the fancy food court they show you on the tour. Try to experience campus as you would as a freshman. 5. Visit the surrounding area. You may find a beautiful campus situated in a bad neighborhood. Are there places to eat? Could you walk there safely at night? Is crime a problem? If you are serious about a particular college or university, you may want to make a more comprehensive visit. These take a little more planning, but are worth it as you try to decide which school is right for you. On a more in-depth visit you may: 1. Meet with a professor in your department. The admissions office can help schedule this. Find out what undergraduates in the program experience. If possible, talk to current students and ask what they like and dislike about the department. Do their classes and requirements meet your goals? 2. Stay overnight. Some schools offer weekends for admitted students in the spring and sometimes the admissions office can help you coordinate a visit on your own. You can stay in the dorms, eat in the cafeteria, visit classes, and get a better feel in 24-36 hours than you would with a traditional visit. 3. Interview or schedule time to speak to an admissions officer. Some colleges include interviews as part of the admissions process. If you interview on campus, you often meet with someone involved in making final decisions. Even if you don’t have an official interview, take time to meet with an admissions officer. Get your questions answered and show them you are serious about the school for the right reasons. 4. Visit the financial aid office. Usually this is a top concern for mom and dad. Find out more about aid packages at this school. Will your outside scholarships be applied to “your” contribution first or will they reduce the amount of aid the school offers? 5. Explore sports teams or activities where you will spend considerable time. If you are accepting an athletic scholarship, make sure you like your future teammates and the overall feel of the program. If you intend to spend a considerable amount of time with any activity, you need to do the same. Check out the program, talk to involved students, ask a lot of questions, and view it with a critical eye. Is this the place for you? Campus visits are your chance to test drive colleges. Take time, ask questions, and try to get an overall feel for each school.

Angela ConleyCollege Admission ExpertVentureForth

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Most colleges understand that their tour guides are “johnny on the spot” for first impressions. As such, I recommend students query tour guides about social reality, amazing professors and opportunities for work-study. In addition, I encourage clients to research concerns pertinent to their interest before visiting. The questions I consistently encourage students to raise address graduation rates, study abroad options, opportunities for community engagement and the relationship of the college with the local neighbors. Also relevant are access to popular classes and potential summer internships or opportunities for undergraduate research. Most of my clients ask who the last relevant/famous speaker or presenter was who visited the campus.

Kathleen Regentin

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

One of the best ways to make sure that you get the most out of your time on campus is by doing your research in advance. Scour the website (specifically the area for current students; not just the prospective student area) and come prepared with questions related to the topics of interest to you. Contact faculty members in advance and ask to meet with them or see if you can connect with current student in the departments that interest you (not the tour guides, but ‘regular’ students). Spend some time in the student union during the lunch hour, get a sense of if you can see yourself at the school. Contact the career center, athletics, or any of the departments that interest you. Learn more about how these departments work with students and how you can make the most of your time at the school.

Ivery McKnight

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Schedule your tour while school is in session in order to see the campus environment in full swing. Visit the library, eat in the cafeteria, hang out in the quad. Observe and consider engaging in student conversation and take note of community resources and businesses that you may have access to.

Ivery McKnight

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Schedule your tour while school is in session in order to see the campus environment in full swing. Visit the library, eat in the cafeteria, hang out in the quad. Observe and consider engaging in student conversation and take note of community resources and businesses that you may have access to.

Eric DoblerPresidentDobler College Consulting

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

If you want to get the most out of your campus visits, go in prepared. Do some homework ahead of time so that you already know the basics. Don’t waste your time asking if the school has your major or how many students are admitted each year – this is information you can find on the school’s website. Instead, think about what has been important to you in your search. Are you concerned about internships? Ask for examples of places that students in your major secure internships. Are you concerned about leadership development? Ask for examples of leadership programs and workshops that are available to students. Ask informed questions and you will get answers that will help shape your opinion of the school. As for tours, make sure you see all the places YOU want to see. You’re visiting for a reason, so make it count. Make sure you see the facility for your major, try to meet with a professor if you can, sit in on a class (you will want to arrange for this ahead of time), read the campus newspaper, eat in the cafeteria or student center and most of all, just take some time to people watch. Allow yourself the opportunities to take it all in. Ask yourself if you can see yourself at that school and write down your thoughts while they are fresh. You will be glad you did when its several months down the road and you are trying to remember how you felt about each school.

Michael AlepreteAssistant ProfessorWestminster College

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Ask your admissions officer to talk to a professor or two in fields you might be interested. Two reasons for doing this: 1. These are the people you may spending a great deal of time with over the next four years. 2. Pay attention to how that meeting went. Was the professor happy to talk with you? Did the admissions people have an easy time getting a professor. How professors respond to these sorts of requests will tell you a great deal about how “accessible” they will be when you arrive on campus.

Joan Thomas

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

I always encourage students to take the official tour and make time for the admission presentation. Students should do some research in advance – have 3-4 questions about the campus, your major or other interest areas to speak with the guide or other students on campus. After touring, check out the dining hall and student union, how are students interacting with each other? Talk to a student attending the college – find out why they selected that school and ask if they are happy with their choice! If you have time, check out the local coffee shop, you will find more students to talk to about their experience.

Bernadina Streeter

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Always come with an open mind to take in lots and lots of information. Write down lots of questions to be answered and/or asked at information sessions if they are not covered in the presentations. Visiting a campus is a lot like shopping for the right pair of shoes. You have to check out everything in detail. Remember: Everyone you meet on campus is a critical contact. Collect any and all information to be read in detail when you get home so that you can attempt to process the whole experience.

Janet Elfers

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Janet Elfers

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

To get the most of your face-to-face time with college admission representatives, ask questions that cannot be answered on their website. And always try to have one more question for them. It’s best to ask for examples rather than statistics. For instance, ask for stories about professors meeting with students outside of class. Instead of asking about the average class size, try asking, “How many students are in the largest class?” To get information about the grading system, try asking, “Last semester, how many multiple choice tests did you take compared to the number of papers you wrote?” Any time you can ask for real stories instead of generalities, you’ll get more out of your conversations.

Kathleen HarringtonOwnerNew Jersey College Consulting

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

A major part of the college application process is touring various campuses of interest. Most of these tours may seem scripted and the tour guides and admissions staff will highlight the major accolades for their school and their stellar program offerings. While touring each campus a great item to pick up is a student newspaper. Since the college newspaper is written by the students for the students, it will give you great insight on the buzz in and around campus and may give you information you may not have otherwise been told on your campus tour.

Jessica BrondoFounder and CEOThe Edge in College Prep

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

– Read as much as you can about the school before you go on the tour- the tour will provide interesting details about the campus itself as well as facts about student life, but if you know as much as you can, the tour is an opportunity to picture yourself as a student at the school and seeing if you like it instead of learning everything from scratch. It also gives you time to prepare any questions or doubt you may have so you can ask the tour guide while you’re there, and not think of it on the drive home when it’s too late! – When you’re on the tour, remember the guide is there to make the school look its best. The students who aren’t the tour guides will have the most honest opinions about the school- asking one of them might show just how much they love their school or bring up some problems you hadn’t thought of. – Read the flyers posted up on billboards and lampposts- do the events sound interesting and/or fun? – As you walk around, picture yourself going to class or sitting on a green talking with fellow students. Does it seem realistic? If you can’t imagine yourself as a student there, that’s not the best sign. Many times a college visit can come down to a gut feeling. If it doesn’t feel right, best to move on to other schools.

Jessica BrondoFounder and CEOThe Edge in College Prep

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

– Read as much as you can about the school before you go on the tour- the tour will provide interesting details about the campus itself as well as facts about student life, but if you know as much as you can, the tour is an opportunity to picture yourself as a student at the school and seeing if you like it instead of learning everything from scratch. It also gives you time to prepare any questions or doubt you may have so you can ask the tour guide while you’re there, and not think of it on the drive home when it’s too late! – When you’re on the tour, remember the guide is there to make the school look its best. The students who aren’t the tour guides will have the most honest opinions about the school- asking one of them might show just how much they love their school or bring up some problems you hadn’t thought of. – Read the flyers posted up on billboards and lampposts- do the events sound interesting and/or fun? – As you walk around, picture yourself going to class or sitting on a green talking with fellow students. Does it seem realistic? If you can’t imagine yourself as a student there, that’s not the best sign. Many times a college visit can come down to a gut feeling. If it doesn’t feel right, best to move on to other schools. – Another great way to interact with people is to pretend that you’re lost. I know it sounds funny, but being lost and asking for directions to a building is a great way to open up a conversation with a student and start to get their honest opinion (and to see how friendly students are 🙂

Judy ZoddaFounder and PresidentZodda College Services

Make your College Visit Meaningful

You’ve arrived on campus and you’re ready for your visit to begin. You find the Admissions office and you’re there on time. Be sure to sign in and make sure that you, do it, not your Mom or Dad. If you don’t sign in, the college might not know you’ve visited! People think that if they have taken the official tour and attended the information session, they have “visited” a college. There is so much more you can do, as you’ve just scratched the surface! On the tour, 1) Ask to see a freshman dorm room. 2) Take pictures, so you remember the school! In Admissions, 3) Ask the tour guide what he/she has liked the best and the least 4) Schedule an interview with an admissions officer ahead of your scheduled visit and bring some questions to ask during the interview. 5) Try to attend a class. Admissions can help you with this request. 6) Go and have lunch in the cafeteria and some current students if you can sit with them and ask questions.Tell them you are considering applying and you’d like to get information from their point of view. Ask a lot of questions, i.e. What do you do on weekends? What do you do on weeknights? How is the advising system? Are professors available to you? Is it difficult to find internships? How helpful is the career office? How much time outside of class do you spend studying? Is there anything you don’t like about this school? Given the chance, would you choose to attend this school again? Ask whatever you want! 7) Finally, when you get into the car, write down what you liked and didn’t like about the school so it’s fresh in your mind! This will also help you answer the “why X” college essay, if it’s on their application!

Heather TomaselloWriting CoachThe EssayLady, LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Campus tours and info sessions are a great way to determine if the school is a good fit for you, but don’t stop there! Contact the admissions office in advance and ask if you can shadow a student for a day and night (including staying in a dorm, if possible.) I know that the university where I worked had a program like this as well as Open House days where we held Q&A panels with current students, the ability to sit in on a freshman-level course, to visit the student union, and other great “day in the life of” experiences for prospective students. This is my short list of must-see’s when you visit a campus: Visit the dorm and ask, “Could I see myself living here?” Visit the library. “Could I see myself studying here?” Visit the football stadium. “Could I see myself cheering here?” Visit the cafeteria. “Could I see myself eating here?” Visit the Student Union. “Could I see myself hanging out here with friends?” Visit a class. “Could I see myself learning here?” Walk across the quad. “Could I see myself calling this place ‘home?’”

John CarpenterFounderAskJohnAboutCollege.com

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Do some homework on the college before you visit. Know about majors and programs ahead of time, and take a list of questions with you to have answered. You don’t have to ask all the questions–many will be asked for you or answered in the info session. Pay attention, take notes. Look around. Listen. And after the visit, hang out in the coffee shop for as long as it takes you to have a mocha-something and write down what you saw, heard, felt, and smelled that day. Believe it or not, later these notes will trigger memories to help you keep all your college visits clear. Another thing–don’t make any decision about applying to the college based on your tour guide. Chances are you won’t hang out with him or her, have classes together, or even share anything in common. Trust your own instincts–not those of someone else.

Katie ParksFormer Admissions Counselor

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

There are several tips to getting the most out of campus tours: – Come prepared! Don’t waste time quizzing the tour guide or counselor on statistics and other data available in the college’s viewbook. This is your time to ask in-depth, beyond the-glossy-print type questions and really get a feel for the college. – Come with a buddy. It’s hard to remember everything you hear and often times you can miss valuable information if you’re busy taking notes or trying to make sure you get your questions answered. Your buddy can serve as a great resource to jot down important info, serve as a second set of ears, or just simply remind you about the questions you wanted to get answered. – Go to the front of the line. I know it’s cheesy to be that person close to the tour guide, and I’m not saying you have to walk side by side with them, but often tour guides answer questions raised by tour participants directly to that participant and you can pick up on that valuable information by staying close so you can hear everything. (Besides, someone else might ask a great questions you haven’t thought of!) This is especially true in large crowds or visit days. Tour guides do their best to make sure everyone gets the same information, but it’s often hard to keep track of everyone and with so much information to get out, they may forget to repeat valuable information to the larger group. – Get a second opinion. If possible, you should try to visit a campus for two tours. This allows you to gain two students perspectives, and to get a broader view of what campus, and campus life, is really like. Also, you may gain more pertinent information from a different tour guide. For instance, if you’re really in to theater and want to know more about the theater program, your first tour guide may only know the basics, whereas your second tour guide may have been in a show or two! If you don’t have time for a second tour, just hang around campus a bit and scope out the student unions and libraries to get a more natural feel of the campus.

Susan Belangee

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

1.Call the admissions office and ask what days of the week they do tours and which days tend to have fewer campus visitors. This will increase your time with the tour guide to ask the questions you have without competing for attention from other students. 2. Plan your questions ahead of time and have the same kinds of questions for each of the schools you plan to visit. That way you can compare “apples to apples” so to speak. 3. Take the time to explore your possible majors and those departments via the internet. Call the department to inquire about meeting with one of the professors who teach the first-year, or lower level, courses in that area when you are on campus. 4. As you walk around campus with the tour guide, stay close to the guide so you can hear everything and you will have a better chance of asking your questions as well. 5. If you attend an information session, sit close to the front and be sure to make eye contact with the speaker. Showing your interest during the session will help build rapport with the speaker for when you ask your questions after the session.

Janet Elfers

Talking to admission representatives

Renee Boone

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Prepare for your visit by planning to sit in on a class before your tour or session, if at all possible. Thoroughly review the college’s website and note any questions for which you cannot find the answers on the website. When asking questions, be certain that they are significant and will give you information needed to help you decide whether or not to keep the college on your wish list. Dress comfortably and appropriately, but avoid extremes in fashion statements. Use a small notebook and pencil (no pens if you are prone to excessive “clicking”) with which to record your impressions of the campus. Have a meal or snack at the student commons and engage with a student or two. I like to ask students, faculty and staff: What do you like most about your college? What needs improvement?

Kathleen HarringtonOwnerNew Jersey College Consulting

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

A major part of the college application process is touring various campuses of interest. Most of these tours may seem scripted and the tour guides and admissions staff will highlight the major accolades for their school and their stellar program offerings. While touring each campus a great item to pick up is a student newspaper. Since the college newspaper is written by the students for the students, it will give you great insight on the buzz in and around campus and may give you information you may not have otherwise been told on your campus tour.

Deb Kalikow PluckFounder & DirectorNew Path to College

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Be present. I mean really be present- ask questions to learn, listen and observe with the intention to be reflective, and be fully involved. Be present…

Deb Kalikow PluckFounder & DirectorNew Path to College

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Be present. I mean really be present- ask questions to learn, listen and observe with the intention to be reflective, and be fully involved. Be present…

Barbara LeWinter

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

There are a number of things I recommend: 1. Do some basic research before your visit – go to the college website, read up about the school, gather info at a college fair, websites such as Unigo, get a general idea of what programs/depts.you’d like to see and learn more about – SHOP WITH FOCUS! 2. Email, call or register for the visit on the website about 2 weeks before – CHECK OUT TIMES OF TOURS AND SESSIONS AND WHERE TO MEET (get addresses/directions) and give yourself extra time so you don’t arrive rushed or stressed. 3. Try to visit when students are on campus 4, Ideally try not to visit more than 2 schools in one day. 4. Sign in at admissions (so they know you came and are interested in the school) 5. Take notes during the information session and feel free to ask questions 6. Gather up business cards of the presenters as well as tour guides – you can use this to follow up your visit with a brief thank you, notations about what you liked seeing, and to ask any additional questions you may have 7. After the info session and tour, go to a dining hall for lunch or a cup of joe. Visit the student center and the library. Check out the bulletin boards and find a school newspaper to read. Observe the students you see. Engage a few in casual conversation. Ask questions about the academics (requirements, size of classes, teacher access, etc). Ask questions about social life (What is there to do on weekends? What are the hot issues? How is dorm living? Quality of food? School traditions? etc). Ask students if they are happy at the school. See if you can imagine yourself as part of the campus. 8. Take notes on what you saw and heard and your basic impressions while they are fresh in your mind (many colleges ask in their supplements “Why College X?”) – You can use these notes to prepare for any interview or when you answer the college supplement 9. If you visit with your parent, agree to have some time alone to explore the campus. Then compare notes when you meet up with your parents. Don’t forget to explore the town or city where the college is located and see if it has all that you want it to have. 10. Don’t feel disappointed if you find the college is not all you hoped – it’s OK to eliminate colleges as well as add to your list; on the other hand, don’t be quick to judge a college by the weather that day or the tour guide. Consider all aspects before you pare down your list. Remember you’ll experience both sunny and inclement days, positive and negative comments wherever you visit. So use this time to enjoy the visit, learn about the college, ask questions, make contacts, record your impressions, talk honestly with your parents and “try the college on for size.” When you return from your visit give yourself time to do additional research (such as use the Unigo contacts) before you make a final decision whether or not to apply.

Judy ZoddaFounder and PresidentZodda College Services

Make your College Visit Meaningful

You’ve arrived on campus and you’re ready for your visit to begin. You find the Admissions office and you’re there on time. Be sure to sign in and make sure that you, do it, not your Mom or Dad. If you don’t sign in, the college might not know you’ve visited! People think that if they have taken the official tour and attended the information session, they have “visited” a college. There is so much more you can do, as you’ve just scratched the surface! On the tour, 1) Ask to see a freshman dorm room. 2) Take pictures, so you remember the school! In Admissions, 3) Ask the tour guide what he/she has liked the best and the least 4) Schedule an interview with an admissions officer ahead of your scheduled visit and bring some questions to ask during the interview. 5) Try to attend a class. Admissions can help you with this request. 6) Go and have lunch in the cafeteria and some current students if you can sit with them and ask questions.Tell them you are considering applying and you’d like to get information from their point of view. Ask a lot of questions, i.e. What do you do on weekends? What do you do on weeknights? How is the advising system? Are professors available to you? Is it difficult to find internships? How helpful is the career office? How much time outside of class do you spend studying? Is there anything you don’t like about this school? Given the chance, would you choose to attend this school again? Ask whatever you want! 7) Finally, when you get into the car, write down what you liked and didn’t like about the school so it’s fresh in your mind! This will also help you answer the “why X” college essay, if it’s on their application!

Kathleen GriffinOwnerAmerican College Strategies

Ask the locals

When I visit campuses I have found it invaluable to talk to students. They have given me a wealth of information about the campus. I always sit in the registrar’s office to watch how university staff work with students. Are they polite? Are they brusque? I also eat at the cafeteria and talk to students. Remember that it is important to check in with admissions and take an official tour. Ask your tour quide what other schools they applied to. If you know what major you will be enrolling in, ask to sit in during a class and make sure you meet the head of the department. If you are visiting a great many schools, I encourage you to take notes – you may be reviewing your notes many months in the future. I give my students a form they use to keep notes about each school.

Mark GiesmannCounselorCherry Creek High School

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

In addition to participating in the obligatory campus tour and info session, it is equally as important to explore campus without an official tour guide. Asking questions of random people you encounter will give you a more authentic, unscripted response to your queries while their willingness to help you can help you gauge the friendliness of the campus in general.

Amberley WolfCollege ConsultantWolf College Consulting

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

One of my biggest tips to students visiting a college is… TALK TO STUDENTS!!! Of course it’s important to take a tour and listen to the info session, but make sure you interact with students. Ask questions like: What programs are considered outstanding? What activities on campus draw the largest crowds? What is the personality of the student body? What is like on the weekends? What is the academic reputation of the institution? What do students complain about on campus? What do students love about the campus? Don’t be shy…. Ask questions, take notes and take photos!!!

Todd WeaverSenior AdvisorStrategies for College, Inc.

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Eat lunch at the cafeteria and talk to current students. If you don’t like the food now, you won’t like eating it for the next four years!

Jeannie Beierle

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Utilize your technological supports. The internet is full of tips on what questions you should ask and what you should look for in your campus tour. Always go prepared with a checklist of items that are important for you to find out and a lsit of questions to ask. For example, you may want to know about housing costs/options,food available, # of students per bathroom in the dorms, # of students in each class, availability of the library, the list can go on and on. Make a list of what is important for you to know then make a checklist or matrix so you can document the information from each visit and then compare your findings to find the best fit.

Doris KleinPresidentChoice College Consulting

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

The main purpose of a campus tour or information session is to help you decide if this school offers the education you are seeking in an environment in which you can thrive and grow, and in which you would feel comfortable. Prior to your visit, it helps to draw up your own checklist of what is important to you personally, and to bring this with you when you visit a campus. In addition to the arranged tours, you can attempt to get a feel for the school by picking up a student newspaper, seeing a dorm room, and most important of all, talking to students. You can usually find some students to talk to in the cafeteria, student lounges, or around the campus. You can request to see facilities of particular interest to you if the have not been included in the tour, such as theaters, laboratories, computer centers,or the sports complex. You might also want to evaluate how accessible the school is, what the surrounding area offers, and what security features the school has in place. Before you leave, stop in at the admissions office to introduce yourself, and to get a name for future contacts. Immediately after the visit, jot down some notes to help you remember what you particularly liked or disliked about this school.

Elysa StahlPresidentAdmissions Avenue

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Do some research on the school you are visiting before you visit and come prepared with some questions for the tour guides and the admissions counselors in the info sessions. Have lunch in the cafeteria at the school and try to spark up a conversation with some students.Do they seem friendly? Look around the campus and notice the students– does it look like youll fit in?? Take a walk through the local town/street and see how it feels.

Ellen Fitzkee

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Make sure you are organized and have a way to record what each school has to offer in the most important categories that a college must have for you so after your campus tours, you have a way to compare each school. To get organized, make a list of questions that you would like to ask and be sure to ask them. Visiting a prospective college in person is still one of the best ways to determine if it’s a good fit for you. With the internet, you can find out alot of information about a school. And while the “virtual tour” can be helpful, there’s no substitute for how a place “feels to you in your gut” when you visit and speak with the people. When you visit, take some pictures as you walk around. Jot down your impressions while you are there in the moment. Ask questions of your tour guides and also of the “average” student that you may run into in the cafeteria for example. Find out why they came to this particular school and what they like now that they are there as well as perhaps what they don’t like. Check out all the facilities, peruse the campus newspaper and hang out in the student center. To get the pulse of the campus, be sure to visit when people are present as opposed to “vacation” time. Visit a class if you know your intended major and have spoken with a faculty person in a particular department. Introduce yourself to an admissions counselor before you depart if you are really interested. If you are a student-athlete, make plans to meet the coach, or a representative from their department before you go on the campus visit. Again, have a list of questions to ask the coach and/or players and drop off a game video of your play. If possible, stay and watch practice or take in a contest if your sport is in season to see where you may “fit in”.

Bill McMurrayPresidentW.C. McMurray& Associates

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Be sure you allow for enough time to see what you need to see. Ideally, you should be prepared to spend a half day on each campus you visit. Try not to visit more than 2 colleges on a single day. Obviously, the earlier you can plan your visit, the more likely it is that your schedule will work out. Once you have a date in mind, schedule a tour and information session (if offered) through the admission office, and also ask them to help you arrange time with any other people who will be important to you once you’re a student. Depending on your interests and/or needs, you may want to set up some individual time with a coach, club/activity advisor, professor from a key department(s), academic support person, etc. If the admission office cannot set up appointments for you, get the names of who you want to see and make the calls yourself. In addition to the tour/info session and any individual meetings you schedule, be sure to build in some unstructured time on the campus – just to walk around, explore bulletin boards, and generally just look and listen to campus life. This can help you to get a sense of the rhythm of daily life on the campuses you’re considering.

Bill PrudenHead of Upper School, College CounselorRavenscroft School

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Go prepared. Do some advance research so that you can ask questions that yield information and an understanding that goes beyond what is offered on the tour. The school has a message its wants to share, but you need to know as much as you can in order to be sure that it is the right place for you. Ask about program, about financial aid, the make-up of the student body, the realities of the social life, and grad school placement rates. It is all relevant to your ultimate decision, and the school should welcome your desire to get to know it as well as you can.

Ted SkowronCounselorBrophy College Preparatory

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Because most campus tours are guided by students, the tour itself is not as important as what can happen after the tour. If you are visiting from out of state, you may want to call the Admissions Office and see if you can sit with an admission representative for a few minutes. Additionally, remember that a tour is guided by them. After the tour, ask yourself: “what part of campus did they not show me”? Then, check out that area as well. Visiting a campus is also a good time to ask questions especially if you eat in the food court. Ask students a few questions while you eat, they will know in advance that your are visiting campus.

Nina ScullerDirectorCollege Prep

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Do some research and get the basic information ahead of time; i.e. SAT/ACT requirements, costs, male:female ratio, class size. Look at some of the academic programs the school has to offer and ask about them. Generate a list of questions ahead of time regarding what is of importance to you. Bring a padfolio, an ipad, or something to write on so you don’t forget what was said. Take a camera so you can remember what the school looked like, what the students were doing while you were there. Arrive 30 minutes early or plan to stay after the tour to walk the campus without a guide or your parents. See if you feel comfortable on the campus and whether you feel you will fit in.

Nina ScullerDirectorCollege Prep

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Do some research and get the basic information ahead of time; i.e. SAT/ACT requirements, costs, male:female ratio, class size. Look at some of the academic programs the school has to offer and ask about them. Generate a list of questions ahead of time regarding what is of importance to you. Bring a padfolio, an ipad, or something to write on so you don’t forget what was said. Take a camera so you can remember what the school looked like, what the students were doing while you were there. Arrive 30 minutes early or plan to stay after the tour to walk the campus without a guide or your parents. See if you feel comfortable on the campus and whether you feel you will fit in.

Cathy McMeekan

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Go with a list of some questions you want answered, that way you can make sure you leave with that knowledge. Don’t know what to ask? Think about what it is you want out of your college experience, and ask questions to see if you can create that experience on that particular campus. On tours, don’t just look at the buildings to see if they are pretty, look at the people using them too. Are there no students in the library or is it packed? Are students interacting with each other? Do they look happy? Ask your tour guide what a typical Wednesday (day and night) is for her/him, and also what happens on a Saturday. Ask about the tour guide’s favorite class and professor. Ask what other colleges the tour guide applied to and why they chose that particular school. You can learn a lot more from a tour guide and info session if you are proactive and ask questions!

Evan ForsterFounderForster-Thomas, Inc

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

I have about 1,000 tips on this topic, but for the sake of brevity, here are a few: First, before your visit, spend some time researching the school. Don’t only look and at the school’s website—check out at least two other published/online sources. If possible, also speak to a friend (or family friend, acquaintance, etc.) who either goes to the school or graduated from it within the last decade. You should also do a virtual/video tour on a site like www.youniversitytv.com before visiting the school. The better informed you are before your visit, the more likely you’ll be to see the aspects of the school that really matter instead of just being wowed by all the big ivy-covered buildings. Next, on your actual visit, have questions prepared in advance. They should be questions that CANNOT be answered with yes/no or a number/statistic that can be found online. You want unique opinions and personal viewpoints, not canned responses. Ask at least one question during the info session; speak clearly, give your name, and ask away. Do the same with your tour guide. As for the tour, this is important: Tell your parents to go on a different tour than you do. That way, you won’t be shy about asking the questions YOU want to know, instead of the questions you want your parents to hear you ask. And don’t ask a bunch of questions intended to make you look smart and intellectual—ask questions that matter to you. Your goal is not to impress the tour guide…it’s to find out if the school matches you and your interests. Finally, when you’re on the tour, do some snooping. Think of this as an intelligence mission, where your goal is to figure out what the school is REALLY all about. Look around you (in every nook and cranny), and see which organizations have posters on the wall. If you’re a young Republican and everywhere you go you see rainbow flags and Greenpeace stickers, chances are the school is not the best fit for you.

Hamilton GreggEducational ConsultantPrivate Practice

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Think of the tour like a shopping trip. You want to be able to get the most information you can while you are there, but also to inspect the campus. So, most likely the first stop is the admission office. Since this is a rather important place, the first stop for most families, how have they designed it? Does it feel warm and welcoming? What kinds of materials do they have out to read? As you go on the tour, have a parent take pictures you can catalog later to remind you of the buildings and what you saw. Schools tend to melt together if you are visiting lots of schools on a trip. Plus this will help you later. Read the message boards and see what things are happening on campus. See what students think is important, check out study abroad opportunities, internships, concerts etc… Definitely check out the dorms, but make sure they are taking you to the Freshman dorms. What are the living arrangements. Also remember that most dorm rooms are smaller than you room at home. But think about living there. Be sure to ask your guide good, solid questions. Ask them where else they applied, why did they choose this school over others they were accepted to. What do they like? What would they change? As you walk around check out what kids are wearing, listen in to their conversations? What are they talking about? Is the content about the class they just took or research project or are the complaining about something? In the information session, make sure you ask any lingering questions you may have about applying, opportunities, etc… If you are from another state or country, see if you can get an email address of student from your home so you can contact them. Definitely ask for a business card from someone in admissions who represents your region, state or country. Finally, keep a record of each school and your thoughts about the campus and things you liked and disliked. This will be important later. Can you imagine yourself there? Why? Have fun with the visit. But keep an open mind. You never know what you will find.

Kerrie TrosethCollege Counselor

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

First of all, wear very comfortable clothing. Do wear nicer jeans or khakis and shirt. Don’t wear ripped jeans and and old t-shirt. You will be walking a lot on the tour, so you need to be comfortable. The tours are usually the same no matter what day you visit. The tour will consist of “showing off” the college in the best possible light. You may visit the new multi-million science lab or new Olympic-sized swimming pool. However, you may not be interested in any of that. You should tell the admission office (prior to you visit) that you are interested in seeing the theater or other department of interest. Be sure to ask to see a typical freshman dorm room. Take pictures. This will help you to remember how small the space is if you decide to attend. Look at the bulletin boards around campus. You will get “the pulse” of the campus (especially if the school is strong leaning liberal). Be sure to approach any student (other than your tour guide) and tell them that you are considering the school. Ask them one good thing about the school and one not so good thing. Surprisingly, most students will take the time and tell you their opinion. Be sure to drive around outside of campus. Visit the town or the city. Is there enough to do or things that you like to do in the town/city? Enough Taco Bells or movie theaters. Ask lots of questions!

Gregg Murray

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Lots of campus tours are very similar. The entail an admissions information session that lasts approximately 45 minutes and a walking tour of campus that takes almost 1 hour. The best thing you can do during your visit is to come prepared with questions about the admissions process and campus life. Every college/university reviews an application differently and you can tailor yours to ensure you will be most competitive at that particular school. If they highlight “global knowledge and cultural awareness”, you should add any experience you’ve had with international travel in your application or supplements. The tour is a good chance to ask tour guides about their experiences. Often, they are reciting a script provided to them by the university. If you ask about their experience with their freshman roommate, they will have to provide their own insights. Also, take time to sit in the student union, eavesdrop on some conversations too. There is no better way to get a true sense of the campus atmosphere than listening in on what student’s are talking about. If you hear them complaining about the quality of food, dorms or teaching it should raise red flags. If they are excited about sporting events, classes, etc, that’s a great sign!

Edward LaMeireCEOLaMeire College Consulting (lameirecollegeconsulting.com)

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

The college application process is generally pretty wacky, but this part is rather idiot-proof. Just a few things to keep in mind: 1. Schedule everything through the admissions office. Get your name in the admissions office’s system in order to have a degree of demonstrated interest (DI) on file. DI (or the absence thereof) is never a deal-breaker, but it does play a role in most (private) college admissions decisions. 2. Get involved. To the extent that you feel comfortable doing so, schedule everything the school offers (time and interest permitting, obviously): overnight stays, information sessions, scholarship interviews, and the like. The more information/exposure you have, the better you’ll be. 3. Visit during the school year. See what the energy is like on campus. Talk to the students. Remember, you’ll rarely get a straight answer about touchy issues with an admissions officer. Best case scenario, you won’t get the truth warts and all. Get information straight from the horse’s mouth.

Kerrie TrosethCollege Counselor

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

First of all, wear very comfortable clothing. Do wear nicer jeans or khakis and shirt. Don’t wear ripped jeans and and old t-shirt. You will be walking a lot on the tour, so you need to be comfortable. The tours are usually the same no matter what day you visit. The tour will consist of “showing off” the college in the best possible light. You may visit the new multi-million science lab or new Olympic-sized swimming pool. However, you may not be interested in any of that. You should tell the admission office (prior to you visit) that you are interested in seeing the theater or other department of interest. Be sure to ask to see a typical freshman dorm room. Take pictures. This will help you to remember how small the space is if you decide to attend. Look at the bulletin boards around campus. You will get “the pulse” of the campus (especially if the school is strong leaning liberal). Be sure to approach any student (other than your tour guide) and tell them that you are considering the school. Ask them one good thing about the school and one not so good thing. Surprisingly, most students will take the time and tell you their opinion. Be sure to drive around outside of campus. Visit the town or the city. Is there enough to do or things that you like to do in the town/city? Enough Taco Bells or movie theaters? Ask lots of questions!

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Short Answer: Be an astute observer and a critical thinker when visiting a college and listening to an admissions counselor. Detailed Answer: Your college search is one of the first steps you will take to more fully become the person you will be throughout your life. So your college visits are a great place to begin developing the critical thinking and observation skills that will serve you well in every aspect of living. Be a smart consumer of higher education. Do your homework before you go, and be an astute observer and critical thinker when you visit. First, listen critically to everything that is told to you. Traditionally, admissions counselors have been caring, knowledgeable individuals. However, many admissions counselors attitudes today are being driven by pressure from the administration to bring in students, which equals tuition and room and board money. Admissions counselors are selling you their college, because their jobs depend upon the numbers of students they recruit. So, unfortunately, you can no longer believe them any more than you would believe a used car salesman, despite everyone’s good intentions. (BTW, the term “used car salesman” is one I hear often now, used by admissions counselors weary of the pressure to recruit students who are not a good fit.) I have attended and participated in many, many info sessions over the years. In the past several years, it is astonishing how similar these sessions have become. They are almost interchangeable. The truth is that admissions departments everywhere have deeply researched your generation and know exactly what to say to attract you — from diversity, to community service, to safety, to anything and everything. Honestly, visiting a college is much more about considering the details that will affect your day to day life and sussing out the truth behind the marketing and reputation. 1. Observe the way that professors and administrators behave around students. Are the employees respectful of the students? Do they seem to enjoy interacting with them? Do they seem helpful and not dismissive of students with questions? 2. Consider the situations at Penn State and Rutgers. Consider your own ethics and then think about what questions you need to ask to learn about the ethics of the institution. For example, what is their student judicial system like? How have they handled bullying in the past? Do they have campus-wide programs in effect to increase inter-human sensitivity? How do they handle substance abuse issues? How do they deal with student conflict? What is their approach to handling student mental and emotional health issues? If a student is in crisis, and that crisis may reflect poorly on the institution, will the institution act on behalf of the student or will it cover up the crisis in order to protect the institution? Does the institution seem punitive or does it seem to approach jurisprudence as a learning opportunity? Don’t just ask them open ended questions, ask for specific examples. 3. Ask about their first-year student intake program. How are they going to ensure that you are socially integrated and academically supported? What are the mechanisms for students to confidentially express their fears and anxieties? Do they have an Early Alert system? If they don’t, what is their process for ensuring that no student falls through the cracks? If they do, is it one that is designed to truly help students who are struggling, or is it intended to seek out struggling students and punish them for buckling to the high pressures of college life? 4. Look at the “bricks and mortar.” Does the campus look well-cared for? Does it look safe? Lights in alleyways and hallways, etc. That stuff matters. But college is a place to learn. It’s not supposed to be the Golden Door Spa. Be aware that fancy, expensive residence hall facilities should make you question where your tuition and room and board money will be going — especially if it is an institution that is charging higher tuition and it has little or no endowment. It should be going to ensure that the academic facilities and equipment will prepare you to enter your profession. That’s what you’re going to college for. 5. Before you go, read the local newspapers online and see what’s mentioned about the college or university. Does the institution have a good reputation within the community? What is the relationship of the college to the surrounding community — “town and gown”? Is the college genuinely invested in the people and community that surround it, or are they simply taking up space, creating a universe of their own with no interest in bettering the world around them? Some institutions, such as Indiana University — Bloomington, are fully integrated into the community in every way, ethnically, socially, and economically. This integration creates a rich personal and professional experience with lots of real world possibilities for building a resume aimed at gaining employment upon graduating. 6. Listen closely and think critically. Make sure that the institution you are visiting is marketing itself HONESTLY through its tours and info sessions. For example,Tulane University is in New Orleans, which in its admissions tours touts its diversity. However, look around you on campus and you see virtually no evidence of varied ethnicities. Then drive to the other side of town and see a completely different, devastated community. Then remember the admissions officer telling you that their football team plays in the Superdome, which had housed all the people from the Ninth Ward. They have an almost billion dollar endowment, yet they accepted $135 million from FEMA post-Katrina to upgrade their data systems, yet the city is still devastated. Again, institutional ethics and truth in marketing — pay attention to what they are telling you, then pay closer attention to anything that supports or denies what they have said. 7. Before you go on your tour, research safety statistics and everything that’s been in the general news about the college. And when you are there, pick up a copy of the student newspaper — that’s where you will see what’s really going on. And learn about what’s being discussed at the Student Government Association meetings. Pay attention to what you find out about efforts students and student groups make to express their concerns to the college’s administration. What are the concerns being expressed and how are those concerns being responded to. 8. Ask where your tuition money and room and board goes. Better yet, ask to be directed to published information that details where your money will go. 9. Don’t ask what their average SAT score is, or their graduation rate, or their student/faculty ratio. You can find all that info online, even though it’s not very important. The fact is, you learn more from astute observation and research than you do from asking questions. 10. Four-to-five years is a long time to be someplace. Before you leave for your visits, you should read online the college’s Strategic Plan. When you visit the campus, check to see if there is evidence that the institution is moving actively in the direction its Strategic Plan indicates it wants to go. 11. Also research online where funding cuts are being made. If it’s a public institution you are looking at, research what kinds of funding cuts are being made to make up for reduced state funding. Many, many institutions around the country are being faced with having to pull back on programs or eliminate them completely. When you visit, talk to a professor or students and find out what the continued funding outlook is for their department. You don’t want to end up in a program that cannot keep up with it’s needs for educating you, or worse, in a program that is in danger of being eliminated. And make sure you research what they tell you — they may be trying to save their department by recruiting anyone and everyone. That doesn’t mean the department isn’t good, it just means they are struggling and you want to make certain that you understand the truth and possible outcomes of their struggles, because they will affect you. 12. Ask if tuition money is being spent to attract international students or if it is being used to help students such as yourself pay for college. How much money is being spent to recruit international students? Where is that money coming from? The latest statistics show that colleges are now spending more money on general marketing and marketing to international students than they are on scholarships for talented, low income students. Colleges claim that they recruit internationally because they want the diversity, but it’s just about the money. The fact is that there is plenty of diversity in this country that is not being served by our institutions of higher learning.

Yana Geyfman

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Observe- when looking around the campus, see how the students interact with each other, read activities announcements, is the campus well kept, how does this particular college campus makes you feel, can you see yourself attending classes, sitting on a grass and reading a book. Ask specific questions not percentage/number questions- what is this college known for, what kind of specific academic or other scholarships this college offers, what kind of internships students are offered, can they apply in their first year what about research opportunities, etc. Make connections with tour guides and admissions officers who are leading the information sessions. Tour guides are the best source of knowledge-ask about their experience- also information sessions can be an opportunity for you to create a personal connection with an admissions counselor especially if you are a borderline student- show your interest and continue be in contact with that counselor because it can make a difference in terms of their admissions decision.

Hamilton GreggEducational ConsultantPrivate Practice

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Think of the tour like a shopping trip. You want to be able to get the most information you can while you are there, but also to inspect the campus. So, most likely the first stop is the admission office. Since this is a rather important place, the first stop for most families, how have they designed it? Does it feel warm and welcoming? What kinds of materials do they have out to read? As you go on the tour, have a parent take pictures you can catalog later to remind you of the buildings and what you saw. Schools tend to melt together if you are visiting lots of schools on a trip. Plus this will help you later. Read the message boards and see what things are happening on campus. See what students think is important, check out study abroad opportunities, internships, concerts etc… Definitely check out the dorms, but make sure they are taking you to the Freshman dorms. What are the living arrangements. Also remember that most dorm rooms are smaller than you room at home. But think about living there. Be sure to ask your guide good, solid questions. Ask them where else they applied, why did they choose this school over others they were accepted to. What do they like? What would they change? As you walk around check out what kids are wearing, listen in to their conversations? What are they talking about? Is the content about the class they just took or research project or are the complaining about something? In the information session, make sure you ask any lingering questions you may have about applying, opportunities, etc… If you are from another state or country, see if you can get an email address of student from your home so you can contact them. Definitely ask for a business card from someone in admissions who represents your region, state or country. Finally, keep a record of each school and your thoughts about the campus and things you liked and disliked. This will be important later. Can you imagine yourself there? Why? Have fun with the visit. But keep an open mind. You never know what you will find.

Dr. Bruce NeimeyerCEO/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Be prepared….

I think it is difficult for a family to know what to do for a college visit if they have never really experienced one. I tend to prep my families to do their homework and I give them a spreadsheet of important questions to ask based on my years of experience in the field. However, even with this guidance some families will still show up unprepared and realize their mistake a little too late. If you tend to operate like this, then I suggest that you go on a campus visit to a local university. Experience the day and make note of all the things you hear and want to know more about. This way if you make a mistake and feel you didn’t do enough homework before your visit, you can always go back easily and get those questions answered. Now that you have experienced such a visit, you can more easily make a list of everything that is important for you and your parents to understand and to gather about the college or university when you visit. See what information you can find on the schools website to answer your questions prior to the visit. If it is unclear, get that information clarified when you visit. If it is clear but requires you to experience it like how good the cafeteria food tastes…then make a point to do that while on campus. You should not treat your visit to campus any differently than your investigation into a new cell phone or any other purchase that you make. Most of us tend to go online, compare, read reviews, and think about what is most important for us. Why would you treat a potential $100,000 investment any differently than your next cell phone or iPad purchase? This early preparation should also allow you some time to just enjoy the day and take in the culture of the campus. You should allow yourself to have some fun while visiting right? Beyond this advice, I suggest that you make sure you speak with an informed admissions counselor about any specific questions you have. Also, if you have the courage, stop a random student on campus and ask them about their experience. Take their comments with a grain of salt because it is random…. Pick up the student newspaper to understand what the student hot buttons are at the moment. Observe what is happening in the hallways, on the sidewalks, in the classrooms. You heard all the propaganda and now you need to do some people watching to see if it is true. If you follow this simple advice, I believe you will be satisfied with the visit that you make. Remember, you should visit prior to applying to a school and I recommend a return visit prior to making your final decision. You are going to live there for four or more years so make the effort now to choose wisely!

Deanna Kubit

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

A campus tour is your opportunity to decide whether the school is right for you. Think of a campus tour as your chance to be the admissions director – does this school meet your criteria? Does it deserve to be on your desired list? Make the most of the tour by asking questions. I have been on many college tours and the one thing that always surprises me is that no one asks any questions, especially when most times a student is giving the tour. What an opportunity to find out everything the college website doesn’t tell you, such as: What would you change about the campus? What was the most difficult situation you faced when you were a freshman on this campus? How difficult do you find the course load? Would you attend this school again, if given a new opportunity? What other colleges did you apply to and what made you choose this school over the others? Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions. While on campus, be sure to stop into the financial aid department as well and discuss scholarship opportunities, difficult family situations, how aid is determined in a divorce situation or how to handle changes in your financial situation if they happen in the middle of a school year. These answers are different at each school and the best place to get the answers is directly from those that award the money. After a campus tour, an admissions talk and a visit to the financial aid department, don’t forget to have lunch on campus. How better to know if you are going to use a meal plan than to sample the food. Most schools allow you to visit many of their on campus eateries – if there is a question, ask the admissions representative if this is possible. Now that you are refueled, it is time to make a few last stops: The student union (or any building that has lounges and student activities), the recreation facilities (work out centers), library and finally the school bookstore. Each of these areas provide not only a valuable look into life on campus, but along the way, you can hear students interacting with each other and those conversations may provide a more inside look into what living here daily may entail. One thing for sure, when visiting a college campus, you will get a “sense” of whether you belong there or not. Is the campus too big, too cold, too small or too urban. Picturing yourself living there will help you find the right school for you.

Zicky Villette

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Talk to the students that actually go to the school. The guides tend to give you fluff answers since they do not want to make the school look bad, getting you their is your job. The regular students have no bias, they will give you straight answers and will usually be honest with you.

Judy ZoddaFounder and PresidentZodda College Services

Make your College Visit Meaningful

You’ve arrived on campus and you’re ready for your visit to begin. You find the Admissions office and you’re there on time. Be sure to sign in and make sure that you, do it, not your Mom or Dad. If you don’t sign in, the college might not know you’ve visited! People think that if they have taken the official tour and attended the information session, they have “visited” a college. There is so much more you can do, as you’ve just scratched the surface! On the tour, ask to see a dorm room. In Admissions, try to schedule an interview with an admissions officer ahead of your scheduled visit and bring some questions to ask during the interview. Also try to attend a class. Admissions can help you with this request. Go and have lunch in the cafeteria and ask to sit with a bunch of students. Tell them you are considering applying and you’d like to get information from their point of view. Ask a lot of questions, i.e. What do you do on weekends? What do you do on weeknights? How is the advising system? Are professors available to you? Is it difficult to find internships? How helpful is the career office? After all, that’s why you’re going to college! How much time outside of class do you spend studying? Is there anything you don’t like about this school? Given the chance, would you choose to attend this school again? Ask whatever you want! Take a camera along with you and take pictures because after you’ve visited a lot of schools, they tend to run together. Finally, when you get into the car, write down what you liked and didn’t like about the school so it’s fresh in your mind! This will also help you answer the “why X” college essay, if it’s on their application!

Mark GathercoleUniversity AdvisorIndependent University Advising

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Split up with your parents and take two different tours, or after the same tour, split up and wander around campus separately and compare impressions later. Come up with questions that are important to you and ask the same ones at each campus. Ask questions that require an evaluative answer – instead of “Do you like it here?”, ask “What are the three best things about this school?” Take photos and notes. Don’t visit more than two schools a day. Treat every visit like that school could be The One, because it might be!

Kamal Johl

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

First of all, speak to your high school counselor for a list upcoming campus tours. Before the tour really think of what you as a student would like to get out of being in college.Make a list of the questions and make use of the list during the tour. Most tour guides do a great job explaining the greatness of the and offerings. Important questions to ask would be about campus safety, campus life, class size, residence halls, food, how does the campus tour guide like the school. During the info sessions its important to ask about your major and classes.

Donovan BlakeLead ConsultantGriffin Blake Educational Consulting

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

It is best if you do your research prior to a campus vist or an info session. When you go you should have a list of your questions. This will allow you to have all of your concerns addressed at that time.

Janelle BravermanEducational ConsultantIndependent University Advisors, LLC

Own it!

The campus visit is your opportunity to evaluate college fit. It’s not necessarily when you’re going to try and get FaceTime with the admissions officer. If you’re too focused on making a good impression you won’t be able to take in your surroundings. On the Admissions sponsored activities, like the campus tour and info session, pay attention to information that goes beyond statistics you can find on the website. If you can, build in time to walk around campus independently. Visit the student center or the cafeteria or the library. If you feel comfortable, talk to as many people as you can. Just say, “I’m a prospective student and I’m interested in your school. What’s it like here?” Before your visit see if you can connect with a professor in a department you may be interested in. Ask them about their impressions of their academic department, the student body, and the tone of the faculty/student relationships. The main point is, the campus visit is less about the information you gather and more about how you feel when you’re there.

Rebecca JosephExecutive Director & Foundergetmetocollege.org

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

TOURS–Don’t judge a college by its tour guides. Not all tour guides are created equal. If the tour guide is a dud–leave the tour and go off on your own. Don’t count out a campus because of that. On all tours, see what else is going on around campus. Plan on going back and visiting. Perhaps classes are getting out and you can go speak with kids. Maybe there is an activity going on in the quad. After tours and info sessions, plan on spending some time on your own (away from family and friends) exploring the campus. INFO Sessions-Go with a list of questions to info sessions and listen to what other people ask as well. Introduce yourself after the info session and get the card of the presenter. Perhaps that person can introduce you to some professors or programs on campus.

John BramletteFounderBramlette Consulting LLC

Before & After…

I make two suggestions to all students about campus visits: 1. Identify things you’d like to know about a school in advance. Regardless of whether the tour/info session answers your question or whether you need to pose it yourself, it is always a good exercise to think about what’s most important to you before you arrive on-campus. 2. Even if just for 5 minutes in the car, memorialize your thoughts, feelings and reactions to a school right away. It is very easy, particularly if you’re on a trip where you visit multiple schools, to forget those crucial details or have them blend together. Have a mechanism ready to help you hold onto the vivid impressions – this will maximize the investment of time and resources required to visit a college.

Cindy ShermanGuidance Counselor/Crisis CounselorBloomfield High School

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Believe it or not, positioning is important. If you are taking a group tour, situate yourself in the front of the line near the tour guide. If you are participating in an info session, come prepared with a number of questions, specifically as they relate to the school you are touring

Dustin GiesenhagenCounselorGrand Junction High School

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

These sessions can be a TON of fun as long as you’re willing to put yourself out there! Ask lots of questions and make sure you see what you want to see during your tours. All of your tour guides should be seasoned pros at the school that they are providing the tour for and will be excited to share fun stories about the campus. Make it a point to get to know the fellow members of your tour. They are likely to be attending the school in the fall as well. Moving away from home can be tough and its nice to look forward to seeing familiar faces during the first week of school. Be on the look out for additional orientation trips and activities as you tour around campus. Many colleges and universities have amazing programs to welcome you to their campus. I’ve seen and been a part of a huge variety of orientation programs that provide students with concerts, hypnotists, whitewater rafting adventures, backpacking trips and rock climbing trips. Guess what students get to take part in the most fun activities??? The ones that pay attention and sign up early during their tours!

Rana SlosbergOwnerSlosberg College Solutions LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Research the college before you visit the college and come armed with the questions you want answered. While you are visiting, ask yourself whether you feel like you would fit in at this college. Take notes and photos, so you can remember what you have learned on your visit.

John Happs

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

I believe that a student should have the opportunity to visit with students that are not conducting the tour. Ask questions of these students that deals with your values, and your reasons for wanting to attend that specific school. Also, if you know what your major field of study will be, spend some time in that building and talking to those professors.

Jackson

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

To get the most out of any campus visit ask questions! You should always have questions to ask, if you don’t you aren’t prepared. This will be your home for the next for years you should have a minimum of 10 questions to ask, from administration, to students, cafeteria workers, maintenance, teachers, and anyone else on campus. Ask, ask, ask away. It will be your money you are spending.

Sharon Epstein

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Go on each tour with the idea that you’re going to ENJOY yourself. Relax, take a look around and absorb the atmosphere. Don’t get so busy asking questions that you forget to see what’s around you. I think it’s important to pay attention to your gut instincts when you go on a tour. For instance, what do you notice? The architecture? The landscape? The really long walks from one side of campus to another? Is it noisy or quiet, or does it feel isolated to you? Try to pretend you’re a freshman on campus and ask yourself how it feels, and if the school is starting to feel like it’s a good fit for you. Never leave a tour or info session without contact information. Get the name and email address of your tour guide and the person who ran the info session. That way you can always follow up later if you have questions or need more information.

Kathryn Lento

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Campus Tours- generally hit most of the same sites: dorms, dining options, athletic/recreational facilities, bookstores and academic buildings. You may be interested in the science labs or fine arts facilities. Make a list of your must see spots and questions regarding the student body, social culture or administration. Jot them down on an index card and refer to your list prior to the tour. Ask the guide if you will be seeing a science lab, for example. If it is not on the tour, ask if you could see it afterward. If you are uncomfortable asking some of the questions during the tour, speak with your guide individually. Take photos! After you have been on a few campuses, you often can’t remember whether it was Ohio State or The University of Maryland that had the great dorms. Photos help jog your memory months later when you are in final decision mode. Info Sessions – Most of what you hear will be repeated from school to school: the blue light system, first year experience and study abroad. Resist the temptation of writing down everything. If something is said that resonates with you and you find yourself thinking “I haven’t heard that before,” write it down. Try to focus on the information that seems to define a particular college or university. It could be a unique study abroad program, massages during finals week or the opportunity to design your own major. When you leave each campus answer three questions: 1. What I liked most? 2. What I liked least? 3. Do I see myself being a part of this campus and student body?

Tanjanesia Willoughby

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

The reputation of the college or department’s academic rigor and successfully matriculation to graduation success. What are the college’s individual departmental majors for noted awards, honors, achievements? Ask questions about job placement rates for students in a particular field of interest, internships as part of the curriculum, professor and instructors background and knowledge of content, support services available. Sit in on lectures to observe instructor teaching styles, visit residential halls for incoming freshmen, are the living accommodations suitable or meet your expectations? Speak with students (outside of student tour guide) in passing about their experiences on campus. If the prospective student has a car, are freshmen allowed to have cars on campus? Allow the prospective student to gain a sense of comfort, feeling of inclusiveness, ability to access necessary services on campus and off campus needed to successfully matriculate to graduate. Does the student body exhibit a sense of school pride. In addition to instructional quality, the student should be a well-rounded participant in organizational and campus activities while receiving an enriching college experience. It’s important to know what academic, social and honors clubs and organizations are available on campus. These organization can help connect students with outside work opportunities or provide them with great references.

Rachael PlantStudentUAB

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Part of it is asking questions. A lot of them. Be prepared to exhaust your tour guide or orientation leader. Also, be sure you know what you’re looking for in a college.

Lisa RansdellPresidentPinnacle Education Consulting, LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

First of all, sign up ahead of time, so there is a record of your visit. Some colleges recognize this as an indication of sincere interest in their school. Also, this will get you on the college mailing lists and you will have more points of contact. Secondly, take advantage of all that is offered in association with your visit. Some schools offer an overnight with an enrolled student, some invite you to sit in on a class, or an event, etc. Some connect you with faculty in your area of interest. All of this is a wonderful way to get a deeper impression of the college. Finally, come prepared with a set of solid questions that you pose at all schools you will be visiting. This will give you a good basis for comparison of one school to the next.

Cheryl Millington

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

I have participated in tours that were very comprehensive and showed practically all areas of the campus while others turned out to be just a tour of the various residences. You can’t do much about the official tour, but my recommendation is to try to customize your visit as best you can. Campuses are normally open to the general public and you can also visit the faculty, department or program office you’re interested in before or after the official tour (campus maps are often available online). Some of the best information about your intended program may come from a faculty member or program administrator so try to book an appointment to meet with someone during your visit. Furthermore, ask to be connected to a current student or recent alumni to get their view on the program, university, faculty, etc. If possible, have lunch on campus. Not only to get a sense of campus food services, but it’s a great opportunity to speak to real students (not school ambassadors) and ask about their experience and other things that are important to you. It’s a good time to assess the campus vibe and see how comfortable you might be there. Can you fit in? Don’t forget to take photographs (yes, you’ll look like a tourist) but I found that reviewing pictures after the visit to be helpful. Also, months later when you’re comparing universities and perhaps ready to accept one offer over another, the photographs will be invaluable. They jog your memory and show details that you have forgotten.

Cheryl Millington

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

I have participated in tours that were very comprehensive and showed practically all areas of the campus while others turned out to be just a tour of the various residences. You can’t do much about the official tour, but my recommendation is to try to customize your visit as best you can. Campuses are normally open to the general public and you can also visit the faculty, department or program office you’re interested in before or after the official tour (campus maps are often available online). Some of the best information about your intended program may come from a faculty member or program administrator so try to book an appointment to meet with someone during your visit. Furthermore, ask to be connected to a current student or recent alumni to get their view on the program, university, faculty, etc. If possible, have lunch on campus. Not only to get a sense of campus food services, but it’s a great opportunity to speak to real students (not school ambassadors) and ask about their experience and other things that are important to you. It’s a good time to assess the campus vibe and see how comfortable you might be there. Can you fit in? Don’t forget to take photographs (yes, you’ll look like a tourist) but I found that reviewing pictures after the visit to be helpful. Also, months later when you’re comparing universities and perhaps ready to accept one offer over another, the photographs will be invaluable. They jog your memory and show details that you may have forgotten.

Cheryl Millington

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

I have participated in tours that were very comprehensive and showed practically all areas of the campus while others turned out to be just a tour of the various residences. You can’t do much about the official tour, but my recommendation is to try to customize your visit as best you can. Campuses are normally open to the general public and you can also visit the faculty, department or program office you’re interested in before or after the official tour (campus maps are often available online). Some of the best information about your intended program may come from a faculty member or program administrator so try to book an appointment to meet with someone during your visit. Furthermore, ask to be connected to a current student or recent alumni to get their view on the program, university, faculty, etc. If possible, have lunch on campus. Not only to get a sense of campus food services, but it’s a great opportunity to speak to real students (not school ambassadors) and ask about their experience and other things that are important to you. It’s a good time to assess the campus vibe and see how comfortable you might be there. Can you fit in? Don’t forget to take photographs (yes, you’ll look like a tourist) but I found that reviewing pictures after the visit to be helpful. Also, months later when you’re comparing universities and perhaps ready to accept one offer over another, the photographs will be invaluable. They jog your memory and show details that you may have forgotten.

Katherine PriceSenior AssociateGreat College Advice

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Campus tours and information sessions can be a great way to learn more about a college. Here are few things you should keep in mind before you visit a college: 1. Do some practice visits. Before you spend the money to visit your “top choice” school out of state, visit some colleges near your home. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with how campus tours and information sessions run. By the time you visit your top schools, you will know what details to look out for and what questions to ask. 2. Plan ahead. Most colleges will ask you to sign up for your tour and information session at least two weeks a head of time. You should also ask how long the tour and information session last, in case you are planning on trying to make it to another college that same day. 3. Give your tour guide a break. I have had many students say that they did not like a school because they did not like the tour guide. Remember that is just one student of possibly thousands at that particular college. Take the time to talk to other students as you walk around campus or eat in the cafeteria. 4. Try not to let the weather influence your impression. If you tour a school on a rainy day, it may be difficult to fall in love with the beautiful campus. Try to plan ahead and be prepared for bad weather in order to make your visit as comfortable as possible. 5. Ask questions! Do some research ahead of time so that all of your questions can be answered during your visit. Make sure you find out who your contact is in the Admissions Office so you can follow up with them with additional questions that may come up when you get home. Katherine Price Senior Associate www.greatcollegeadvice.com

Katherine PriceSenior AssociateGreat College Advice

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Campus tours and information sessions can be a great way to learn more about a college. Here are few things you should keep in mind before you visit a college: 1. Do some practice visits. Before you spend the money to visit your “top choice” school out of state, visit some colleges near your home. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with how campus tours and information sessions run. By the time you visit your top schools, you will know what details to look out for and what questions to ask. 2. Plan ahead. Most colleges will ask you to sign up for your tour and information session at least two weeks a head of time. You should also ask how long the tour and information session last, in case you are planning on trying to make it to another college that same day. 3. Give your tour guide a break. I have had many students say that they did not like a school because they did not like the tour guide. Remember that is just one student of possibly thousands at that particular college. Take the time to talk to other students as you walk around campus or eat in the cafeteria. 4. Try not to let the weather influence your impression. If you tour a school on a rainy day, it may be difficult to fall in love with the beautiful campus. Try to plan ahead and be prepared for bad weather in order to make your visit as comfortable as possible. 5. Ask questions! Do some research ahead of time so that all of your questions can be answered during your visit. Make sure you find out who your contact is in the Admissions Office so you can follow up with them with additional questions that may come up when you get home. Katherine Price Senior Associate www.greatcollegeadvice.com

Willard DixDirector of ProgrammingChicago Scholars

Being There

It may seem counterintuitive, but my primary suggestion is to research the institution carefully before you go on a tour/info session trip. There is nothing more wasteful of everyone’s time than to visit a campus only to find out it doesn’t have the major or program you want. When I worked at a small New Enland liberal arts college, I often went through my information session only to have someone ask about our engineering program, whihc we didn’t have. Be prepared to ask some questions about specific programs offered by the college. This is not only good for you, it also impresses the admission officer.DOn’t be a wise guy and try to trip up the admission person with some obscure fact or rumor you heard about on the internet. Listen, ask substantive questions, and move on, Parents, do not speak for your kids. In fact, let them go on the student tour by themselves while you grab a cup of coffee in the student center or in town. Let you children ask the questions they need to ask of their peers while you get a sense of the atmosphere of the place. In fact, if you think you can do it, let you kids do the info sessions and the tours while you relax with a good book or walk around campus yourselves. Meet for a meal later and see what your teens have learned. IT’s a great way to start them on the way toward making this big choice. You can talk about what questions to ask beforehand, then listen to the answers later. Don’t worry, nothing bad will happen whatever happens, and your children will appreciate that you trust them to take the whole thing seriously.

Jolyn BrandOwner & CEOBrand College Consulting

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Try to visit campuses during times when class sessions are in- students will be on campus and visitors can get a better feel of the school. Also, register for the official tour. Yes, sometimes it’s boring, but usually filled with useful information and then the student will be on the college’s list of interested students. During the visit, ask to audit a class. Sit in and listen to the professor, but also watch the students. Are they engaged, listening and alert? Or sleeping or texting? Lastly, eat in the cafeteria where you’d be required on the meal plan. You should at least try the food you may be eating for the next 4 years.

Sandy Austin

Campus Tours and Info Sessions – Do Your Homework!

Campus tours are extremely important! Campus tours will give you a feel for the campus and the students who attend. Before you go, do your research so you can ask higher level thinking questions about your major at that school. Create a list of questions. Develop your own ranking list so you can look for answers about things on campus that are important to you and your interests. Try to visit during a normal day of classes on the campus and not when the students are out on break. If you are interested in schools in another part of the country at a great distance from your home which you can’t make in a day trip, ask your parent(s) to plan a trip to that area in the summer or on a long break. Make every effort to visit the top three schools or your choice. Take the standard tour that is offered in groups, but also ask if you can take a personal tour with someone from your major area of interest if possible so you can ask more specific questions. While on campus ask students how they like the school. Also ask to meet with the head of the department in your major. Attend all info sessions and update your list of questions as you learn more about the schools. Whenever reps from the schools come to visit your high school, make sure you schedule a visit with them.

Allie MendelsohnFounderAM Educational Consulting

Do reconnaisance

At the far ends of the continuum are, on one end simply showing up and being another warm body on the tour and at the session. On the other end of the spectrum is someone who has done their research and can ask questions not answered in the school’s promotional literature; someone who knows enough about the college to notice when the admissions representative shares something that gives you real insight into the college. Do your research before getting to campus. Once on campus, take a good look at the enrolled students. Do they look like people you would want to hang out with? Eavesdrop (in this context it’s allowed) on their conversations. Are they talking about things that interest you? Go to the cafeteria and grab a bite to eat. Not only will it give you a chance to sample food that you might be eating for 4+ years, it also offers you a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the campus culture. Can you see yourself here? As you go on the campus tour notice what’s posted on the bulletin boards. Do the outings and announcements interest you? I know it can be awkward, but force yourself to talk to some enrolled students. Ask them what they like best and least about the college. Ask them where else they were accepted and how they chose this college. Grab a college newspaper and see what the issues are. You are a spy. Find out as much as you can about this place and its people so you can make an informed decision about whether this could be a good match school for you.

Lora LewisEducational ConsultantLora Lewis Consulting

Boldly Go Where No Tour Has Gone Before

All too often, prospective students and families invest time, money (and sometimes torturously long journeys) to make college visits, then leave having gained little more than knowledge of the campus map and the dining hall menu. Make the most of your campus visits and get the information you need to make informed decisions about whether or not a school is the right fit for you by planning ahead, taking advantage of campus tours, and then venturing off on your own. * Arrange to visit schools when classes are in session. It’s impossible to get an authentic sense of a school’s cultural and atmosphere when the quad, hallways and dorms are empty. If this means skipping a few days of school yourself, so be it. Missing a couple of high school classes is a worthwhile trade-off for the ability to make a smart decision about choosing a college. * When possible, try to visit during “normal” periods of the school year, when you are most likely to get a realistic picture of what day to day life is like on campus. The start of the year, Greek rush, big football games and the like are all an awesome part of campus life, but they’re only exciting days and weeks that punctuate longer periods of study, study and more study. Don’t visit at a time that will give you an idealized picture of campus life and possibly create unrealistic expectations about what college will be like. * If you’re from the West Coast and planning to head East of the Rockies, do yourself a favor: Check out the schools’ virtual tours to get an idea of what campus looks like in the picturesque fall and spring, but visit during the winter so you really know what it’s like to live in weather. Many California students have found that ski weeks in Tahoe aren’t quite the same thing as long semesters in upstate New York. * Schedule a campus tour. While you’re on the tour, ask questions. Lots of them. Ask ahead of time if you will be able to tour dormitories, sports facilities, art studios or whatever matters to you. If not, ask how you can arrange to do so. * Schedule a meeting with an admissions officer. These meetings are short, informal, and are a great way to both get your questions answered and get yourself on the radar of the admissions office. * Arrange to sit in on a class in a subject of interest. It’s a great way to get a glimpse of your future life as a college student. Though it’s not always possible, you might also email a professor in advance of your visit to see if he or she would be willing to briefly sit down with you during office hours to discuss your major field of interest. * Have a meal or two in the different dining options on campus. While you eat, pick up some of the campus publications and take a look at what’s going on. If you’ve got time, find an event or two to check out that evening. See a film on campus, go to a sporting event, or attend a local performance. * Talk to some people. Most students are more than happy to answer questions or tell you about their experiences at college. Unoccupied cashiers at campus stores, library clerks, and random loiterers at cafes and on stairwells can be excellent sources of inside information. * If you have a special interest or need and want to get an idea of how that might be served on a particular campus, go hunting for information. For example, visit the student disability services center, find out where and how often different support groups meet, arrange to talk to dining hall administration about special dietary needs. You’re going to be living at college for at least four years. The quality of your education is paramount, but so is the quality of your life while you’re there. Campus visits are an excellent way to find out if a school fits you not just academically, but personally. Decide in advance what you want to know, then hit those campuses and find out all you can. As in all things related to college (and life), information is King.

Daniel McLoughlinAdmissions CounselorUniversity of Phoenix

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Ask questions

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Don’t Be A Tourist, Be a Thinker

Short Answer: Be an astute observer and a critical thinker when visiting a college and listening to an admissions counselor. Detailed Answer: Your college search is one of the first steps you will take to more fully become the person you will be throughout your life. So your college visits are a great place to begin developing the critical thinking and observation skills that will serve you well in every aspect of living. Be a smart consumer of higher education. Do your homework before you go, and be an astute observer and critical thinker when you visit. First, listen critically to everything that is told to you. Traditionally, admissions counselors have been caring, knowledgeable individuals. However, many admissions counselors attitudes today are being driven by pressure from the administration to bring in students, which equals tuition and room and board money. Admissions counselors are selling you their college, because their jobs depend upon the numbers of students they recruit. So, unfortunately, you can no longer believe them any more than you would believe a used car salesman, despite everyone’s good intentions. (BTW, the term “used car salesman” is one I hear often now, used by admissions counselors weary of the pressure to recruit students who are not a good fit.) I have attended and participated in many, many info sessions over the years. In the past several years, it is astonishing how similar these sessions have become. They are almost interchangeable. The truth is that admissions departments everywhere have deeply researched your generation and know exactly what to say to attract you — from diversity, to community service, to safety, to anything and everything. Honestly, visiting a college is much more about considering the details that will affect your day to day life and sussing out the truth behind the marketing and reputation. 1. Observe the way that professors and administrators behave around students. Are the employees respectful of the students? Do they seem to enjoy interacting with them? Do they seem helpful and not dismissive of students with questions? 2. Consider the situations at Penn State and Rutgers. Consider your own ethics and then think about what questions you need to ask to learn about the ethics of the institution. For example, what is their student judicial system like? How have they handled bullying in the past? Do they have campus-wide programs in effect to increase inter-human sensitivity? How do they handle substance abuse issues? How do they deal with student conflict? What is their approach to handling student mental and emotional health issues? If a student is in crisis, and that crisis may reflect poorly on the institution, will the institution act on behalf of the student or will it cover up the crisis in order to protect the institution? Does the institution seem punitive or does it seem to approach jurisprudence as a learning opportunity? Don’t just ask them open ended questions, ask for specific examples. 3. Ask about their first-year student intake program. How are they going to ensure that you are socially integrated and academically supported? What are the mechanisms for students to confidentially express their fears and anxieties? Do they have an Early Alert system? If they don’t, what is their process for ensuring that no student falls through the cracks? If they do, is it one that is designed to truly help students who are struggling, or is it intended to seek out struggling students and punish them for buckling to the high pressures of college life? 4. Look at the “bricks and mortar.” Does the campus look well-cared for? Does it look safe? Lights in alleyways and hallways, etc. That stuff matters. But college is a place to learn. It’s not supposed to be the Golden Door Spa. Be aware that fancy, expensive residence hall facilities should make you question where your tuition and room and board money will be going — especially if it is an institution that is charging higher tuition and it has little or no endowment. It should be going to ensure that the academic facilities and equipment will prepare you to enter your profession. That’s what you’re going to college for. 5. Before you go, read the local newspapers online and see what’s mentioned about the college or university. Does the institution have a good reputation within the community? What is the relationship of the college to the surrounding community — “town and gown”? Is the college genuinely invested in the people and community that surround it, or are they simply taking up space, creating a universe of their own with no interest in bettering the world around them? Some institutions, such as Indiana University — Bloomington, are fully integrated into the community in every way, ethnically, socially, and economically. This integration creates a rich personal and professional experience with lots of real world possibilities for building a resume aimed at gaining employment upon graduating. 6. Listen closely and think critically. Make sure that the institution you are visiting is marketing itself HONESTLY through its tours and info sessions. For example,Tulane University is in New Orleans, which in its admissions tours touts its diversity. However, look around you on campus and you see virtually no evidence of varied ethnicities. Then drive to the other side of town and see a completely different, devastated community. Then remember the admissions officer telling you that their football team plays in the Superdome, which had housed all the people from the Ninth Ward. They have an almost billion dollar endowment, yet they accepted $135 million from FEMA post-Katrina to upgrade their data systems, yet the city is still devastated. Again, institutional ethics and truth in marketing — pay attention to what they are telling you, then pay closer attention to anything that supports or denies what they have said. 7. Before you go on your tour, research safety statistics and everything that’s been in the general news about the college. And when you are there, pick up a copy of the student newspaper — that’s where you will see what’s really going on. And learn about what’s being discussed at the Student Government Association meetings. Pay attention to what you find out about efforts students and student groups make to express their concerns to the college’s administration. What are the concerns being expressed and how are those concerns being responded to. 8. Ask where your tuition money and room and board goes. Better yet, ask to be directed to published information that details where your money will go. 9. Don’t ask what their average SAT score is, or their graduation rate, or their student/faculty ratio. You can find all that info online, even though it’s not very important. The fact is, you learn more from astute observation and research than you do from asking questions. 10. Four-to-five years is a long time to be someplace. Before you leave for your visits, you should read online the college’s Strategic Plan. When you visit the campus, check to see if there is evidence that the institution is moving actively in the direction its Strategic Plan indicates it wants to go. 11. Also research online where funding cuts are being made. If it’s a public institution you are looking at, research what kinds of funding cuts are being made to make up for reduced state funding. Many, many institutions around the country are being faced with having to pull back on programs or eliminate them completely. When you visit, talk to a professor or students and find out what the continued funding outlook is for their department. You don’t want to end up in a program that cannot keep up with it’s needs for educating you, or worse, in a program that is in danger of being eliminated. And make sure you research what they tell you — they may be trying to save their department by recruiting anyone and everyone. That doesn’t mean the department isn’t good, it just means they are struggling and you want to make certain that you understand the truth and possible outcomes of their struggles, because they will affect you. 12. Ask if tuition money is being spent to attract international students or if it is being used to help students such as yourself pay for college. How much money is being spent to recruit international students? Where is that money coming from? The latest statistics show that colleges are now spending more money on general marketing and marketing to international students than they are on scholarships for talented, low income students. Colleges claim that they recruit internationally because they want the diversity, but it’s just about the money. The fact is that there is plenty of diversity in this country that is not being served by our institutions of higher learning.

Sandy AustinProfessional School CounselorGreen Mountain High School

Campus Tours & Info Sessions – Do Your Homework

Campus tours are extremely important! Campus tours will give you a feel for the campus and the students who attend. Before you go, do your research so you can ask higher level thinking questions about your major at that school. Create a list of questions. Develop your own ranking list so you can look for answers about things on campus that are important to you and your interests. Try to visit during a normal day of classes on the campus and not when the students are out on break. If you are interested in schools in another part of the country at a great distance from your home which you can’t make in a day trip, ask your parent(s) to plan a trip to that area in the summer or on a long break. Make every effort to visit the top three schools or your choice. Take the standard tour that is offered in groups, but also ask if you can take a personal tour with someone from your major area of interest if possible so you can ask more specific questions. While on campus ask students how they like the school. Also ask to meet with the head of the department in your major. Attend all info sessions and update your list of questions as you learn more about the schools. Whenever reps from the schools come to visit your high school, make sure you schedule a visit with them.

Kim RomanPresidentCustom College Planning, LLC

Make the most of your campus visit

Before your visit, it is important to research the school. Look at majors, minors, special opportunities, internships, study abroad, student life, etc. Then when you visit, you will be more prepared to ask questions. During the information session, pay attention to not only the school’s requirements for admission, but also what the school offers you. Talk to current students and find out what they like and dislike about the school. Visit the buildings you will be in the most – dorms, your major’s department, the athletic center, the student center, the disabilities office, the career center, etc. Look at kiosks and pick up a student newspaper to read about the current issues on the campus. Eat the food, sit in on a class and try to schedule an interview. Don’t forget to drive or walk around the area surrounding the campus to see what it offers. Remember, you will be attending this college or university for at least four years. What you require as a freshmen is very different from what you will require as a senior.

Kim RomanPresidentCustom College Planning, LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Before your visit, it is important to research the school. Look at majors, minors, special opportunities, internships, study abroad, student life, etc. Then when you visit, you will be more prepared to ask questions. During the information session, pay attention to not only the school’s requirements for admission, but also what the school offers you. Talk to current students and find out what they like and dislike about the school. Visit the buildings you will be in the most – dorms, your major’s department, the athletic center, the student center, the disabilities office, the career center, etc. Look at kiosks and pick up a student newspaper to read about the current issues on the campus. Eat the food, sit in on a class and try to schedule an interview. Don’t forget to drive or walk around the area surrounding the campus to see what it offers. Remember, you will be attending this college or university for at least four years. What you require as a freshmen is very different from what you will require as a senior.

Steven CrispOwner Crisp College Advising

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

My suggestion on getting the most out of a campus tour is to get in the front of the group. This does two things. First off you are able to hear the tour guide well, but second and most important is that you can ask the tour guide the questions you want to know the answers to when they are not talking to the group. This will give you insight on the campus from the students perspective.

Christine ChapmanDirectorChapman Educational Services

Look, listen and connect!

I always tell families and students as they visit colleges to be sure, during the campus visit, that they look around, take in the surroundings and imagine yourself (or your child) there. As a student, do you feel like you would fit in? Do the students and teachers seem friendly? Could you imagine yourself happy and productive in this kind of environment? Don’t discount the surrounding area and the town in which the school is situated. Can you imagine weekends in that town and on that campus? Listening is probably the best way to get the most out of the info session. Listen to the counselor giving the session, and listen to the feedback you might get from student panelists. Take copious notes. There’s potentially a wealth of advice in what seems like a monotonous, repetitive process. The most important part of the info session is the opportunity to hear from other students and families who are sitting there and asking questions. Take notes and don’t doze during the Q&A. Chances are, someone is going to ask all the questions you might have had and have some extra compelling ones to add to the mix. After the tour and interview, get out on campus to where the students congregate. Strike up a conversation at the cafeteria, the student union or in a library. Ask the students directly about their experiences and the reasons they chose this institution and how it has been. You’ll get a lot connecting with the other students on campus…and if you have a particular area of study you want to explore, don’t be afraid to get out to a particular building and talk to the students currently enrolled in that major program. This is your opportunity to really do your research–don’t be shy!

Daniel KramerCollege AdvisorThe Wight Foundation

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

There are few better ways of determining if a college or university feels right and fits right than the campus visit. But one can only determine this if they have done research about the school ahead of time to determine if they offer what you are looking for in a school. In other words, tours and information sessions are great if you know what you’re looking for and want more information than a website and view book can provide. Bring your questions. Its one thing to know about a college’s biology department…its another thing to how often a student gets to do summer research with professors within that department. This is the kind of question that will not only benefit you as you make your decision to apply or not apply, but will also demonstrate your sincere interest in that school. ON another practical note…bring a parent, guardian, or friend with you. You take the job of listener and question asker. The other should take the job of note taker. The should take notes during the information session and write down everyone’s name…from the tour guide to the information session presenter to the professor you meet on the tour. This way, the thank you note you’ll write after the visit, an essential part of the visit, can be personalized to them.

Felice KobrickOwner, College Consultant,Kobrick College Consulting, LLC

No two schools are the same….

If you have been to several info sessions and tours, you may begin to feel bored and believe that all info sessions are basically the same. Not true!! Each school has a unique story to tell. The best info sessions emphasize what is most important to the school. Listen carefully. There will be opportunities to use that information in your application essay. For example, at the info session at Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, the admissions staff stresses that “interdisciplinary study” is an extremely important part of their vision. That’s something that might not be so important to another school, but it would be a great point to incorporate into your “Why Cornell/College of Human Ecology” essay!

Laurie Hall

Ask questions!!

Yes, it is most helpful for students to see the campus “live” in other words when college is in session. This can give a prospective student the real feel for what it is like on campus. Also, it is helpful to see dining halls, dormitories and classrooms, especially for those for first year students. Stop and talk to students you see along the way, ask what they like best about the college.

Evelyn M.A.PresidentMagellan College Counseling

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

I have two ways you can get the most out of college tours and information sessions. First of all, ask LOTS of questions. Questions are good. Ask questions about whatever issues you are interested in or concerned about. Ask about housing, financial aid, student life, academics. Ask about things you won’t learn by visiting the college’s website. Second, if you are walking around campus on a tour, talk to regular students you see (ie not your tour guide, who is trained about all of the positive points to hit as they take you around campus). Ask real students questions about their academic and social lives. This will help you evaluate whether or not each campus would be a good place for you to spend four years furthering your education. You can also consider bringing a checklist with you on college tours. I like the College Board’s checklist [https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/find-colleges/campus-visit-guide/campus-visit-checklist] and Cappex’s worksheet [http://www.cappex.com/media/CampusVisitPlannerWorksheet.pdf].

Chris PowersCollege Counselor and Philosophy TeacherPowers College Counseling

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Make sure that you arrive with some questions in mind by doing some research before you arrive on campus. Dive deep into the schools website by looking into specific program concentrations or check out freshman course requirements. Having an agenda will allow you to make the most of the visit. Also, make sure you connect with a representative and get a contact. Having a person to connect with during the admissions process can be extremely helpful. Finally, make sure you reflect immediately after the visit and write down those reflections. It is easy to forget or mix up schools when you are visiting a few colleges.

Scott MaciagGuidance counselorNew Providence High School

Look around

As you are on your tour make sure you look around at what is happening on campus and the students that are around you. Are they active? Do they seem happy? Make sure you see a dorm room and eat or at least stop by the dining facility to see what,themfoodmis like. Are the bulletin boards full of notices? Is the campus clean? Looke beyond the tour guide.

Katherine CraneCounselor

Getting the Scoop

Campus tours and info sessions can really be a fun process! Use them to ask questions, questions, and more questions. Treat it like a job interview whereby you are the employer looking to “hire” a college. Ask the not-so-obvious questions like what is NOT included in the brochures, what ‘quirky’ trivia can you learn about the school or town or where’s the cheapest cup of coffee in town because as a student, you’re going to need caffeine and cheapness! Make sure you sit at the front, use your manners and dress the part. First impressions go a long way.

Geoff BroomeAssistant Director of AdmissionsWidener University

Ask Questions

Come prepared to the visit with a list of questions that you want the answers to. What do you want in a college? Your visit is the opportunity to find out if that particular college has what you want. Can you picture yourself on campus? Do you see yourself flourishing and growing at that particular institution? Do you connect with the tour guide or the students that you met? These should be the questions lingering in your mind.

Eric Beers, Ph.D.College and Career CounselorAir Academy High School

Getting the most out of your visit

To me a few of the best places to learn about a campus community is through any student newspaper or publications, community bulletin boards (including ones posting club and activity information), and then just informally talking to students around classes, student unions, dorms, etc. How many different clubs and activities are available, how are they advertised, and how many of them are you interested in? How safe do students feel on campus and are there crime issues on campus are two important questions that are often overlooked! Many admissions offices will arrange for you to spend the night in dorms, go to athletic events, plays or musicals, etc. I think it’s important to see the students’ spirit and passion for their school. Certainly calling ahead of time and having someone from the admissions office arrange an opportunity to sit in classes and to meet with a professor or department chair from the academic area you are interested in is important, but so is talking to students who aren’t being paid by the university.

Vicky MoIndependent College CounselorUniversity of California, Riverside

Just have fun!

The most important part about campus tours and info sessions is to meet the counselors and people who are new to your college too. Either way you will get to know the campus very well after starting classes, and the first few weeks there will be information booths around for freshmen who cannot find their classes. Bring pen and paper to your info session because you will receive lots of handouts and information so it would be best to take notes. Don’t worry if you miss anything because you can always call a counselor to ask or find it on the college website.

Eric Beers, Ph.D.College and Career CounselorAir Academy High School

Getting the most out of your visit

To me a few of the best places to learn about a campus community is through any student newspaper or publications, community bulletin boards (including ones posting club and activity information), and then just informally talking to students around classes, student unions, dorms, etc. How many different clubs and activities are available, how are they advertised, and how many are you interested in? Many admissions offices will arrange for you to spend the night in dorms, go to athletic events, plays or musicals, etc. I think it’s important to see the students’ spirit and passion for their school. Certainly calling ahead of time and having someone from the admissions office arrange an opportunity to sit in classes and to meet with a professor or department chair from the academic area you are interested in is important, but so is talking to students who aren’t being paid by the university.

Keith BermanPresidentOptions for College, Inc.

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

I would do a few things: 1.) Check the website to make sure that there are college tours for your particular interest. Schools like Johns Hopkins have panels and specialty tours. It is worth the call to the admissions department. 2.) Take the virtual tour ahead of time. Almost every college and university has one at this point, and there is a lot more narrative. Unfortunately, some colleges just tell the tour guide to go wherever they want instead of trying to appeal to everyone, but a virtual tour can go only where you want it to! 3.) Make SURE to sign in so the college knows you are there and so that you are on the mailing list.

Keith BermanPresidentOptions for College, Inc.

Tips for touring, virtual and non-

I would do a few things: 1.) Check the website to make sure that there are college tours for your particular interest. Schools like Johns Hopkins have panels and specialty tours. It is worth the call to the admissions department. 2.) Take the virtual tour ahead of time. Almost every college and university has one at this point, and there is a lot more narrative. Unfortunately, some colleges just tell the tour guide to go wherever they want instead of trying to appeal to everyone, but a virtual tour can go only where you want it to! 3.) Make SURE to sign in so the college knows you are there and so that you are on the mailing list.

Judy ZoddaFounder and PresidentZodda College Services

Make your College Visit Meaningful

You’ve arrived on campus and you’re ready for your visit to begin. You find the Admissions office and you’re there on time. Be sure to sign in and make sure that you, do it, not your Mom or Dad. If you don’t sign in, the college might not know you’ve visited! People think that if they have taken the official tour and attended the information session, they have “visited” a college. There is so much more you can do, as you’ve just scratched the surface! On the tour, ask to see a dorm room. In admissions Try to schedule an interview with an admissions officer ahead of your scheduled visit and bring some questions to ask during the interview. Also try to attend a class. Admissions can help you with this request. Go and have lunch in the cafeteria and ask to sit with a bunch of students. Tell them you are considering applying and you’d like to get information from their point of view. Ask a lot of questions, i.e. What do you do on weekends? What do you do on weeknights? How is the advising system? Are professors available to you? Is it difficult to find internships? How helpful is the career office? After all, that’s why you’re going to college! How much time outside of class do you spend studying? Is there anything you don’t like about this school? Given the chance, would you choose to attend this school again? Ask whatever you want! Take a camera along with you and take pictures because after you;ve visited a lot of schools, they tend to run together. Finally, when you get into the car, write down what you liked and didn’t like about the school so it’s fresh in your mind! This will also help you answer the “why X” college essay, if it’s on their application!

Lauren CarterDirector of College CounselingLouisville Collegiate School

Best to visit when school is in session

In order to maximize your time on a campus, try your best to visit when school is in session. This way you can get a better sense of the campus on a “typical” day. Open houses are a great way to have full access to many offices and resources so I highly recommend those events as well. If you attend an information session, make sure to ask for the business card of the admissions officer who conducts your session, just in case you think of a question or two after you leave. After your tour, pick up a school newspaper, spend some time looking into the activities happening on campus by visiting the campus center, try to visit a class or attend an overnight with a current student. There are many ways to maximize your time. Take full advantage of the opportunity to see a college up close and personal.

Esther WallingCollege CounselorThomas Jefferson High School

Preparation is the key.

Get a list together of the questions you want to ask, the departments you want to visit and the classes and special sites you want to see. Ask to see a dorm room, the cafeteria or local eating establishment. Try the food, not just the fast food resaturants, but what they cook in the cafeteria. Talk to students and faculty and make sure you are familiar with the counseling and admissions staff. They will be the ones who will review your application. Ask as many questions as you can about student life and by all means pick up a school newspaper. Make a comparison chart for all schools you visit and representatives with whom you speak. It’s your choice for the next four years of your life. Try to make it the most enjoyable and don’t get blindsided by things you forgot to ask about.

Chuck SlatePresidentCollege Advisors,LLC

OPTIMIZING THE COLLEGE VISIT…..

Some random observations (not in any particular order): 1. For a variety of reasons, I rarely recommend that a family rely on their admissions rep for “sponsorship”, but you do NEED to connect with your rep–if only at the end of your visit before you leave. This is important because most PRIVATE colleges keep track of visits or “contacts”. These institutions have limited seats and limited funds so you need to “go on record” as being someone who has DI (demonstrated interest) all along and not just at the admissions deadline. 2. Have questions prepared in advance for the various departments/people you are likely to encounter. (If you can’t come up with any, contact us through our website and we’ll try to get you some–collegeadvisorsllc.com) 3. If you live in a snowbelt (eg: midwest or northeast) try to plan your visits for 9 months of the year when there is no SNOW. I can’t tell you the number of times that parents have knocked a wonderful school off their list because their student inexplicably just hated it. (HINT: Hey Mom and Dad, they hated tromping around in 2 feet of snow, NOT the college itself!!) 4. I would avoid eating ON CAMPUS. Why let your student cross off a perfectly good school because they had a so-so meal (which would be NO DIFFERENT than all the other so-so meals at the other 1,000 schools across the country). Reward your student AND YOURSELVES with a trip to one of the local eateries. The kids will have four (4) years to get used to the dining hall or not. That’s it for now. More later……

Diana HansonCommon Sense College CounselingCollege Mentors

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Try to go when classes are in session! That way you will have a chance to see what the campus feels like when students are on campus. Plus, you may be able to sit in on a class or two after the formal tour, so as to get a stronger feel for the college. I also recommend taking a look at the school newspaper as well as perusing the campus bulletin boards to see the kinds of activities in which students engage. Sometimes, it’s the non-academic aspects of a college that help you make your college decision from among similar schools…. So, don’t forget to see a dorm room, try out the campus eateries, and check out the recreation center/gym facilities for students.

Reena Gold KaminsFounderCollege, Career & Life, LLC.

Plan ahead and listen closely when heading to campus.

Some colleges always have classes available for you to visit or dorms for you to see. Some don’t. Before you head to campus, make a list of everything you want to do, e.g. see a dorm, eat in the dining hall, sit in on a class, or see the career services center. Next, check the website to see if any of the things on your list are part of the standard tour. If they’re not, call the admission office to see if they can accommodate your interests. Don’t just show up for the tour and expect to see everything on your list. Once on campus, listen carefully to the information that is presented in the info session. Often counselors will give subtle details about what they’re looking for in their applicants or about what they find sets some applicants apart, in a positive way. Listen closely; but, more importantly, ask good questions. You have a chance to make a positive impression on the counselor, so don’t ask a question like what’s the average class size which can easily be found on the website. Listen closely on the tour too. Is the guide only talking about athletics? Or is he only talking about parties? It could be that he’s not the most knowledgeable guide or, it could be that is all that happens on that campus. It’s an important distinction to investigate.

Ellen [email protected]OwnerEllen Richards Admissions Consulting

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

I would say that Number one is to plan ahead, make sure that you have some familiarity with the college and what things are that you want to investigate or ask more about because each college has it’s own unique aspects and so you want to know what appeals to you and, therefore, know what you wanna ask the tour guide and what not. Students should have a very distinct idea of what the school offers and what they want from that school. You wanna keep in mind that essentially every time you come in contact with someone from any particular college it’s usually considered an interview because they do most colleges keep track of the interactions that they have with their students or with the students that are interested in applying and, demonstrated interest is a big part of college admissions. So, whenever you are speaking with anyone representing the admissions office or connecting in any way in the admissions office, you wanna make sure that you are enthusiastic about the school and that you are asking intelligent questions and not questions that are in the guide book or whatever. Next thing would be to, if, possible have an overnight stay at the school because that will give you a really clear idea of what it means to attend the school which helps a lot. Because that way, you can decide whether or student can decide whether or not they can see themselves attending that school. Another thing is that the student should avoid allowing the tour guide, themselves, or the personality of the tour guide to influence their decision to apply to a specific college because many times at some schools you’ll hear or too often students will comeback from a campus tour and not have had a good experience because of the particular tour guide. However, sometimes they need to look beyond the tour guide and look deeper into the school which is why an overnight visit and meeting as many people as possible is always a great idea as well as attending a class. Attending a class is always an excellent idea, most colleges have a list of classes that are available for students to attend and students can choose when they get to the school which one they would like to attend, and that’s a great way to see what academically what it would be like. Next would be the parents should be in the background, not in the forefront and allow their child to or give their child the freedom to explore the campus on their own and without intervention or bias from the parents because ultimately it’s the student that will be spending the next four years at that college. Next, whenever possible, a student should try to have a scheduled interview and on-campus interview. Since, on-campus interview it seem to hold more weight or they seem to carry more influence than the alumni interviews that students can do within their hometown. If, a school does not offer interviews then students should contact the department that they are most excited of. Contact the director of that department, set-up a meeting to meet with that person and talk to them about their passion for that particular subject. They should try to make arrangements to talk with someone in the admissions office at some point while they are in the campus, to try to get themselves noticed. So that, in that way they can bypass the fact that the school doesn’t offer interviews and still kind of have a conversation with someone who will keep track of what they say. The last thing, the students should also research campus groups that they might be interested in joining and find out if they have any club activities or meetings or anything while the students are on campus especially when they are doing an overnight, in this way the students can see what goes on with the meetings and how, whether it peaks their interests and pretty much explore just as much as they possibly can.

Chuck SlatePresidentCollege Advisors,LLC

OPTIMIZING THE COLLEGE VISIT…..

Some random observations (not in any particular order): 1. For a variety of reasons, I rarely recommend that a family rely on their admissions rep for “sponsorship”, but you do NEED to connect with your rep–if only at the end of your visit before you leave. This is important because most PRIVATE colleges keep track of visits or “contacts”. These institutions have limited seats and limited funds so you need to “go on record” as being someone who has DI (demonstrated interest) all along and not just at the admissions deadline. 2. Have questions prepared in advance for the various departments/people you are likely to encounter. (If you can’t come up with any, contact us through our website and we’ll try to get you some–collegeadvisorsllc.com) 3. If you live in a snowbelt (eg: midwest or northeast) try to plan your visits for 9 months of the year when there is no SNOW. I can’t tell you the number of times that parents have knocked a wonderful school off their list because their student inexplicably just hated it. (HINT: Hey Mom and Dad, they hated tromping around in 2 feet of snow, NOT the college itself!!) 4. I would avoid eating ON CAMPUS. Why let your student cross off a perfectly good school because they had a so-so meal (which would be NO DIFFERENT than all the other so-so meals at the other 1,000 schools across the country). Reward your student AND YOURSELVES with a trip to one of the local eateries. The kids will have four (4) years to get used to the dining hall or not. That’s it for now. More later……

Chuck SlatePresidentCollege Advisors,LLC

OPTIMIZING THE COLLEGE VISIT…..

Some random observations (not in any particular order): 1. For a variety of reasons, I rarely recommend that a family rely on their admissions rep for “sponsorship”, but you do NEED to connect with your rep–if only at the end of your visit before you leave. This is important because most PRIVATE colleges keep track of visits or “contacts”. These institutions have limited seats and limited funds so you need to “go on record” as being someone who has DI (demonstrated interest) all along and not just at the admissions deadline. 2. Have questions prepared in advance for the various departments/people you are likely to encounter. (If you can’t come up with any, contact us through our website and we’ll try to get you some–collegeadvisorsllc.com) 3. If you live in a snowbelt (eg: midwest or northeast) try to plan your visits for 9 months of the year when there is no SNOW. I can’t tell you the number of times that parents have knocked a wonderful school off their list because their student inexplicably just hated it. (HINT: Hey Mom and Dad, they hated tromping around in 2 feet of snow, NOT the college itself!!) 4. I would avoid eating ON CAMPUS. Why let your student cross off a perfectly good school because they had a so-so meal (which would be NO DIFFERENT than all the other so-so meals at the other 1,000 schools across the country). Reward your student AND YOURSELVES with a trip to one of the local eateries. The kids will have four (4) years to get used to the dining hall or not. That’s it for now. More later……

Joseph RomanoCollege CounselorBellarmine College Preparatory

There are such things as dumb questions

You should not go on a tour and be asking questions that you could answer using online resources. For example, size of school,, available majors, gender breakdown to name a few.

Amy Carlson

Campus Tours

To get the most out of campus tours and info sessions, come prepared with a list of questions about the things that are important to you. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Find out if you can sit in on a class and visit the student housing so you can get a feel for what it is really like to be a student at the school. Take notes on each school so you don’t forget what you’ve learned and you can compare features later.

Lisa BlakeHead School CounselorPhoenix Christian Unified Sch

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Always VISIT!!! Even though it’s fun to visit during the big “preview weekends,” I advise visiting during a typical school week, visiting several classes in your major of interest, staying in the dorms, eating in the cafeteria. Schools typically roll out the red carpet during the preview weekends or weeks so it’s important to experience the “typical” day in the life of a college student. Also, if you are considering going from a climate like Arizona to one like Minnesota – you must visit during the most severe weather just to make sure you are not TOO warm blooded! Weather can be a HUGE unforeseen variable so always check-it-out first.

Kat Kadian-BaumeyerVocational Guidance Counselor

Getting Your Money’s Worth of a College Tour

Think about it. If you were an employer,y ou would have several interviews with a candidate before making the decision to hire. Well, your education is being provided to you by … in a sense … people you hire to teach you … so prepare for the tour as an employer would prepare for an interview with a potential candidate. Have a list of important questions like: Faculty/Student ratio Graduation Rate Faculty Degrees Faculty Publications Faculty Experience Retention Rates Demographics Resources (tutoring, writing centers) Accreditation Transferrable Credits Articulation Agreements (community college to university) Work Study Programs Social Life Security Job Outlook for Degrees Job Placement Next, prepare for conversations about reviews you research online. Be armed with the good and the bad. Be “that guy” who asks the questions. Create comparison spreadsheets as you begin touring colleges. Update your spreadsheets as soon as you are able to after the tour so the information is fresh in your mind. My the time you visit your favorite coleges, you should have enough information to rate each college and make this important decision.

Ellen [email protected]OwnerEllen Richards Admissions Consulting

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Ellen [email protected]OwnerEllen Richards Admissions Consulting

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

I would say that Number one is to plan ahead, make sure that you have some familiarity with the college and what things are that you want to investigate or ask more about because each college has it’s own unique aspects and so you want to know what appeals to you and, therefore, know what you wanna ask the tour guide and what not. Students should have a very distinct idea of what the school offers and what they want from that school. You wanna keep in mind that essentially every time you come in contact with someone from any particular college it’s usually considered an interview because they do most colleges keep track of the interactions that they have with their students or with the students that are interested in applying and, demonstrated interest is a big part of college admissions. So, whenever you are speaking with anyone representing the admissions office or connecting in any way in the admissions office, you wanna make sure that you are enthusiastic about the school and that you are asking intelligent questions and not questions that are in the guide book or whatever. Next thing would be to, if, possible have an overnight stay at the school because that will give you a really clear idea of what it means to attend the school which helps a lot. Because that way, you can decide whether or student can decide whether or not they can see themselves attending that school. Another thing is that the student should avoid allowing the tour guide, themselves, or the personality of the tour guide to influence their decision to apply to a specific college because many times at some schools you’ll hear or too often students will comeback from a campus tour and not have had a good experience because of the particular tour guide. However, sometimes they need to look beyond the tour guide and look deeper into the school which is why an overnight visit and meeting as many people as possible is always a great idea as well as attending a class. Attending a class is always an excellent idea, most colleges have a list of classes that are available for students to attend and students can choose when they get to the school which one they would like to attend, and that’s a great way to see what academically what it would be like. Next would be the parents should be in the background, not in the forefront and allow their child to or give their child the freedom to explore the campus on their own and without intervention or bias from the parents because ultimately it’s the student that will be spending the next four years at that college. Next, whenever possible, a student should try to have a scheduled interview and on-campus interview. Since, on-campus interview it seem to hold more weight or they seem to carry more influence than the alumni interviews that students can do within their hometown. If, a school does not offer interviews then students should contact the department that they are most excited of. Contact the director of that department, set-up a meeting to meet with that person and talk to them about their passion for that particular subject. They should try to make arrangements to talk with someone in the admissions office at some point while they are in the campus, to try to get themselves noticed. So that, in that way they can bypass the fact that the school doesn’t offer interviews and still kind of have a conversation with someone who will keep track of what they say. The last thing, the students should also research campus groups that they might be interested in joining and find out if they have any club activities or meetings or anything while the students are on campus especially when they are doing an overnight, in this way the students can see what goes on with the meetings and how, whether it peaks their interests and pretty much explore just as much as they possibly can.

Mollie ReznickAssociate DirectorThe College Connection

Ask questions!

The best way to get the most out of your campus visit is simply to ask lots of questions. If you have a chance to stray from the tour and talk to students who aren’t paid to represent their school you might get the most candid responses. When you visit the student center, try to get a sense of what events are advertised; are these things you would want to attend? Try to sit in on a class in your field of interest; do these students feel like people you would want to be your peers? Is the professor willing to speak to you? These are all ways to get the best sense of a school.

Michael PuccioPresident/Advisor/Life CoachFuture First Advisors, LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

If you are going to take the trip to a college campus, make sure you are prepared to get as much information as you can. Why? Well, you’ll probably visit a lot of colleges and will hopefully have several schools to pick from when it comes time to commit to a school. Let’s face it. When you go on a tour, your guide is going to take you to the nicest dormitories, the neatest dining halls, and the newest lecture halls. So not only is it important to go on a structured and formal tour, try to take some time to take your own tour where you can see things for yourself. Make yourself a “college information sheet” that you can fill in during your visit. Take notes on: +DORMS – how old are they? – are there laundry facilities? – do they all look the same on the inside? – do they have Air Conditioning? (that’s an important one!) +DINING HALLS – how many are there? – where are they in reference to the dorms and lecture halls? – what type of food options are there? Vegetarian? Kosher? – what are their hours? +LECTURE HALLS/ACADEMIC BUILDINGS/LIBRARIES – where are they in relation to the dorms and dining halls? – are there computer labs? – are they separated by academic departments? – are the faculty offices located in these buildings? – where is the library and what are the hours? +MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS – where is the student center and what’s inside it? – how many clubs are there? – what is there to do on the weekend? – what is there to do off campus? – is there a campus police department and/or security department? The list can go on and on. Think of the items that YOU want answered. If the tour guides or whomever is running the info session does not cover what you want to know, ASK THEM!!!!! Remember, you are planning where you will spend the next four years while you continue your education. That’s a big commitment! Best of luck!!

Leigh MooreCollege CounselorCollege Admissions Planning, LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Student newspapers aren’t usually among the handouts in the admissions office, but when you find them in the student union or the classroom buildings, pick one up. In my view, they often serve to expose the nature of the climate and discourse on campus. If garden-variety friendliness is as important to you as it is to me, notice whether or not the students you happen to pass seem to be a pleasant bunch. See if they greet one another, particularly if you are on a small campus. To what extent are students detached from one another via electronics? Is everyone plugged in–or do the students circle up for conversations in the cafeteria?

Sommer LangSchool Counselor

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Make sure you visit campuses when classes are in session. When you see students walking around and professors teaching, you get a better idea of whether or not the campus is a good fit for you. Try to schedule a time when you can sit in on a class that is in session. Make sure to meet with a professor from the department that you will be majoring in. Ask them to show you a degree plan and to explain the different types of classes that you will be required to take. Find out the average GPA of students who enter with your same high school GPA and ACT/SAT score. Make sure to ask the percentage of students who are immediately placed in their chosen career.

Carita Del ValleFounderAcademic Decisions

Do not do it on your own!

Most important is not to just stroll the campus, but participate in a formal student or admissions officer led tour. Note everything they say, and then start asking students, librarians, and campus police more realistic questions. Ask students where else they were admitted and why those chose this particular school? Pay attention to their answers as they may be important to you personally.

Janet. Kempf

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

If you’re taking a tour with a college student, pay close attention to everything that the student is showing you or talking about on the tour. Current college students will give you all of the inside tips and interesting ideas about campus life. The best advice that I would give a student when going on a campus tour, is to see if you could envision yourself walking around that campus – do you feel like you fit in with the other students? It’s important to attend each of the info sessions and to ask all questions that come to your mind. This is the best time to get useful information to help you determine if this is the college/university for you.

Donna DondoGuidance CounselorDOE

Making the most of a campus visit.

Look at bulletin boards/ eat in the cafeteria/ arrange beforehand for an official tour/ take home a school newspaper/ make a list of important things that you want in a college/ sit in on a class/ schedule an interview/ have questions for your tour guide you cannot find on their website/ take pictures

Kathleen GriffinOwnerAmerican College Strategies

Ask the locals

When I visit campuses I have found in invaluable to talk to students. They have given me a wealth of information about the campus. I always sit in the registrar’s office to watch how university staff work with students. Are they polite? Are they brusque? I also eat at the cafeteria and talk to students. Remember that it is important to check in with admissions and take an official tour. Ask your tour quide what other schools they applied to. If you know what major you will be enrolling in, ask to sit in during a class and make sure you meet the head of the department. If you are visiting a great many schools, I encourage you to take notes. I give my students a form they use to keep notes about each school.

Pamela Hampton-GarlandOwnerScholar Bound

Making the Campus Tour Count

It is important to visit the colleges and universities that you are considering, however taking a leisurly walk around the campus on a Sunday afternoon is quite different from becoming a part of the college tour provided by trained students. Remember that you must prepare yourself for a prepared college presentation. Tour guides are selected and trained on what to show and what to say. They rarely deviate from the script and be careful if they do because they are not the experts they are there to give you the icing that catches the eye with a few historical tidbits, and to point out some important parts of the campus that are unique to that campus and for the audience at large (minority focused, academic focused, athletic focused, etc.) The best way to enhance what you gain from the tour is before you ever leave home do your research and write down the questions that you still have after studying the available information that is already posted online. Remember you make the most of all experiences by knowing the basics and letting the actual visiting experience be about dispelling or confirming what you discovered prior to the visit. Basically; do your homework before you get to class and ask questions that are not clarified during the “lecture/visit”.

Brooke Daly

Do your homework!

Before visiting a college, do your homework! Peruse the college’s website, take a look at other resources like Unigo.com and get a general feel for what the school is all about. It’s important to get your general questions answered (e.g. Do you offer my major?) before arriving on campus. Come up with a list of questions you’d like to ask before you walk out the door. Think about what you really want to know about a school that you can’t find out anywhere else. If you’re planning on being a biology major, maybe you want to setup a meeting with a biology professor. If you’re a swimmer, maybe you want to check out the pool facilities. After your visit, jot down some notes about what you saw and your general impression. This will be very helpful after you’ve seen multiple campuses and they begin to meld together in your mind!

Corey FischerPresidentCollegeClarity

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

•Most visits will consist of a tour and a Group Information Session/Q & A. Each generally lasts an hour. The GIS is usually given by an admissions officer and the tour guide is a student. •Remember that your tour guide is just one person! Don’t let them make or break your impression of the college. If you like your guide, ask for his or her email address so you can ask questions you think of later. •Ask good, probing questions, such as questions that pertain to your areas of interest, or what the person most likes about the college or would change about the college, why the student chose to attend this college or why the professor chose to work at this college, etc. Don’t ask basic questions that can easily be found on the website or in literature (that shows you have not done your homework). •Be sure to sign in so the admissions office knows you were there. These “contacts” can be critical to many colleges. They keep a record of all contacts which shows “demonstrated interest”. These contacts can make or break you when colleges are making decisions. •Colleges try to keep tours to about 1 hour. At smaller colleges this is generally enough time to see a significant amount of the campus and facilities, but at a larger college you will find that you are just walking past the majority of buildings without really seeing much. •If a college doesn’t show you something on a tour or tell you how to go there afte the tour, be wary. Ask to see a dorm room, the athletic facilities, a lab, whatever is important to you. •Don’t be afraid to poke around. Get a map and visit the buildings that you want to see. It is rare anyone would question you, but if they do, just tell them you are a prospective student and are looking at the facilities. •It is a very good idea to make an appointment to meet with a professor in your department(s) and/or field(s) of interest. This will give you a more thorough sense of the program and determine if the college’s focus matches your intended focus/interests. Also, professors can and do let the admissions office know when they have met with a student they would like to see in their department. •Pick up the student newspaper. It will give you a lot of information about the campus. What the issues are, whether or not the administration is receptive to student concerns and suggestions, what is going on on-campus. •Look at the general upkeep of the campus. •KEEP NOTES. You will never remember all the nuances of a college or the pros and cons a month down the road. Or even a few days later if you are visiting a lot of colleges.

Felice KobrickOwner, College Consultant,Kobrick College Consulting, LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

If you have been to several info sessions and tours, you may begin to feel bored and believe that all info sessions are basically the same. Not true!! Each school has a unique story to tell. The best info sessions emphasize what is most important to the school. Listen carefully. There will be opportunities to use that information in your application essay. For example, at the info session at Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, the admissions staff stresses that “interdisciplinary study” is an extremely important part of their vision. That’s something that might not be so important to another school, but it would be a great point to incorporate into your “Why Cornell/College of Human Ecology” essay!

Pamela Hampton-GarlandOwnerScholar Bound

Making the Campus Tour Count

It is important to visit the colleges and universities that you are considering, however taking a leisurly walk around the campus on a Sunday afternoon is quite different from becoming a part of the college tour provided by trained students. Remember that you must prepare yourself for a prepared college presentation. Tour guides are selected and trained on what to show and what to say. They rarely deviate from the script and be careful if they do because they are not the experts they are there to give you the icing that catches the eye with a few historical tidbits, and to point out some important parts of the campus that are unique to that campus and for the audience at large (minority focused, academic focused, athletic focused, etc.) The best way to enhance what you gain from the tour is before you ever leave home do your research and write down the questions that you still have after studying the available information that is already posted online. Remember you make the most of all experiences by knowing the basics and letting the actual visiting experience be about dispelling or confirming what you discovered prior to the visit. Basically; do your homework before you get to class and ask questions that are not clarified during the “lecture/visit”.

Joseph FreemanDean and College CounselorRandolph School

Tips for tours and information sessions

College tours can be stressful, particularly when you are visiting multiple schools with a parent or two in tow. To get plenty out of these sessions, follow a few basic guidelines: 1.) Dress presentably, but try to fit in. Don’t wear a coat and tie (unless the college has a dress code), but don’t wear sweatpants or a lurid t-shirt either. Split the middle with a collared shirt or blouse, nice jeans or khakis, or a skirt. 2.) Don’t be afraid to ask questions in information sessions. College admissions counselors and tour guides would much rather answer a student’s question than a parent’s. Your parents will almost certainly ask a variety of questions; you can preempt them by asking your own. 3.) Try not to get embarrassed by your parents and their questions, and do not allow any embarassment to prompt moments of immaturity. 4.) Remember that tours and information sessions are designed to present a college at its best. Spend some time on campus away from the tour. Eat lunch in the dining hall. Sit in the library for fifteen minutes. People-watch and eavesdrop. You will get a much better sense of the “true” community by doing some independent reconnaissance. Then you can compare that with what you learned on the tour and in the information session. 5.) It is better to schedule a tour than to drop in, and you should fill out a card at every opportunity. Colleges keep track of visits and contacts to gauge your interest in their school, so improving that level of interest can help you in the admissions process.

Tam Warner MintonConsultantCollege Adventures

Get the most out of your campus visits!

When visiting a college it is important that you ask intelligent questions during the information session. DO NOT ASK standard questions that you can find out on the website: how many students go here? do you have a business major? Ask questions that show you have done your homework. Ask about particular programs you may be interested in, ask about housing and if they have learning communities, ask about first year programs, or ask about a particular feature about the university (such as a great outdoor program or leadership program.) Show the college admission representatives that you have really looked into their university. During the tour, ask questions. Don’t let your parents upstage you. Colleges want to know that your have driven the college application process, not your mom or dad. Read my blog about what parents should not do on a campus visit at http://collegeadventures.net/blog/2009/08/11/campus-visitswhat-parents/!

Frank DonPartnerEast West College Counseling LLP

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

I would suggest that some preparation be done prior to the campus tour and info session. Go online and visit the website of the college you plan to tour. Get a feel for the college — take a virtual tour. Familiarize yourself with the college. If you have questions about the college or do not understand something being presented during the info session, speak up. Ask your question, get as much information as you possibly can about the college, the programs offered, the social life, the college community and the environs in which the college is located. It is also helpful after the info session and the campus tour for you to take your own walkabout, getting a ‘feel’ for the campus and a ‘feel’ as to whether it ‘feels’ right for you or not. Talk to students. Ask them why they decided to go to college there, what they like about the school, what some of the things they don’t like about the school. I also suggest driving around the college town or the city to get a sense of what would be available to you if you were to choose to go to this particular school. And, please, try to avoid doing three or four college tours in one day. Let me assure you that such an itinerary can create an incredible blur, a montage of different facts and thoughts that might not be correctly associated with an individual school. If you do such a whirlwind itinerary, then I suggest you take notes or record your thoughts after each school. And digital cameras with pictures snapped of the campus and life on campus are also a wonderful way to recount later some of your impressions about that particular school.

Frank DonPartnerEast West College Counseling LLP

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

I would suggest that some preparation be done prior to the campus tour and info session. Go online and visit the website of the college you plan to tour. Get a feel for the college — take a virtual tour. Familiarize yourself with the college. If you have questions about the college or do not understand something being presented during the info session, speak up. Ask your question, get as much information as you possibly can about the college, the programs offered, the social life, the college community and the environs in which the college is located. It is also helpful after the info session and the campus tour for you to take your own walkabout, getting a ‘feel’ for the campus and a ‘feel’ as to whether it ‘feels’ right for you or not. Talk to students. Ask them why they decided to go to college there, what they like about the school, what some of the things they don’t like about the school. I also suggest driving around the college town or the city to get a sense of what would be available to you if you were to choose to go to this particular school. And, please, try to avoid doing three or four college tours in one day. Let me assure you that such an itinerary can create an incredible blur, a montage of different facts and thoughts that might not be correctly associated with an individual school. If you do such a whirlwind itinerary, then I suggest you take notes or record your thoughts after each school. And digital cameras with pictures snapped of the campus and life on campus are also a wonderful way to recount later some of your impressions about that particular school.

Judy McNeely

Tips for campus tours and info sessions

One of the most valuable sources of information for the visiting student is to use time before or after the organized sessions to talk frankly with current students. When asked directly “So, what do you dislike about this college?”, students not on the payroll are generally very truthful. If the reply is “There is no ultimate frisbee” and visitor doesn’t care, then the college can stay on the potential list. If a major interest, however, isn’t evident in this conversation, then the college might not stay on the list of colleges for that individual student.

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Your college search is one of the first steps you will take to more fully become the person you will be throughout your life. So your college visits are a great place to begin developing the critical thinking and observation skills that will serve you well in every aspect of living. Be a smart consumer of higher education. Do your homework before you go, and be an astute observer and critical thinker when you visit. First, listen critically to everything that is told to you. Traditionally, admissions counselors have been caring, knowledgeable individuals. However, many admissions counselors attitudes today are being driven by pressure from the administration to bring in students, which equals tuition and room and board money. Admissions counselors are selling you their college, because their jobs depend upon the numbers of students they recruit. So, unfortunately, you can no longer believe them any more than you would believe a used car salesman, despite everyone’s good intentions. (BTW, the term “used car salesman” is one I hear often now, used by admissions counselors weary of the pressure to recruit students who are not a good fit.) I have attended and participated in many, many info sessions over the years. In the past several years, it is astonishing how similar these sessions have become. They are almost interchangeable. The truth is that admissions departments everywhere have deeply researched your generation and know exactly what to say to attract you — from diversity, to community service, to safety, to anything and everything. Honestly, visiting a college is much more about considering the details that will affect your day to day life and sussing out the truth behind the marketing and reputation. 1. Observe the way that professors and administrators behave around students. Are the employees respectful of the students? Do they seem to enjoy interacting with them? Do they seem helpful and not dismissive of students with questions? 2. Consider the situations at Penn State and Rutgers. Consider your own ethics and then think about what questions you need to ask to learn about the ethics of the institution. For example, what is their student judicial system like? How have they handled bullying in the past? Do they have campus-wide programs in effect to increase inter-human sensitivity? How do they handle substance abuse issues? How do they deal with student conflict? What is their approach to handling student mental and emotional health issues? If a student is in crisis, and that crisis may reflect poorly on the institution, will the institution act on behalf of the student or will it cover up the crisis in order to protect the institution? Does the institution seem punitive or does it seem to approach jurisprudence as a learning opportunity? Don’t just ask them open ended questions, ask for specific examples. 3. Ask about their first-year student intake program. How are they going to ensure that you are socially integrated and academically supported? What are the mechanisms for students to confidentially express their fears and anxieties? Do they have an Early Alert system? If they don’t, what is their process for ensuring that no student falls through the cracks? If they do, is it one that is designed to truly help students who are struggling, or is it intended to seek out struggling students and punish them for buckling to the high pressures of college life? 4. Look at the “bricks and mortar.” Does the campus look well-cared for? Does it look safe? Lights in alleyways and hallways, etc. That stuff matters. But college is a place to learn. It’s not supposed to be the Golden Door Spa. Be aware that fancy, expensive residence hall facilities should make you question where your tuition and room and board money will be going — especially if it is an institution that is charging higher tuition and it has little or no endowment. It should be going to ensure that the academic facilities and equipment will prepare you to enter your profession. That’s what you’re going to college for. 5. Before you go, read the local newspapers online and see what’s mentioned about the college or university. Does the institution have a good reputation within the community? What is the relationship of the college to the surrounding community — “town and gown”? Is the college genuinely invested in the people and community that surround it, or are they simply taking up space, creating a universe of their own with no interest in bettering the world around them? Some institutions, such as Indiana University — Bloomington, are fully integrated into the community in every way, ethnically, socially, and economically. This integration creates a rich personal and professional experience with lots of real world possibilities for building a resume aimed at gaining employment upon graduating. 6. Listen closely and think critically. Make sure that the institution you are visiting is marketing itself HONESTLY through its tours and info sessions. For example,Tulane University is in New Orleans, which in its admissions tours touts its diversity. However, look around you on campus and you see virtually no evidence of varied ethnicities. Then drive to the other side of town and see a completely different, devastated community. Then remember the admissions officer telling you that their football team plays in the Superdome, which had housed all the people from the Ninth Ward. They have an almost billion dollar endowment, yet they accepted $135 million from FEMA post-Katrina to upgrade their data systems, yet the city is still devastated. Again, institutional ethics and truth in marketing — pay attention to what they are telling you, then pay closer attention to anything that supports or denies what they have said. 7. Before you go on your tour, research safety statistics and everything that’s been in the general news about the college. And when you are there, pick up a copy of the student newspaper — that’s where you will see what’s really going on. And learn about what’s being discussed at the Student Government Association meetings. Pay attention to what you find out about efforts students and student groups make to express their concerns to the college’s administration. What are the concerns being expressed and how are those concerns being responded to. 8. Ask where your tuition money and room and board goes. Better yet, ask to be directed to published information that details where your money will go. 9. Don’t ask what their average SAT score is, or their graduation rate, or their student/faculty ratio. You can find all that info online, even though it’s not very important. The fact is, you learn more from astute observation and research than you do from asking questions. 10. Four-to-five years is a long time to be someplace. Before you leave for your visits, you should read online the college’s Strategic Plan. When you visit the campus, check to see if there is evidence that the institution is moving actively in the direction its Strategic Plan indicates it wants to go. 11. Also research online where funding cuts are being made. If it’s a public institution you are looking at, research what kinds of funding cuts are being made to make up for reduced state funding. Many, many institutions around the country are being faced with having to pull back on programs or eliminate them completely. When you visit, talk to a professor or students and find out what the continued funding outlook is for their department. You don’t want to end up in a program that cannot keep up with it’s needs for educating you, or worse, in a program that is in danger of being eliminated. And make sure you research what they tell you — they may be trying to save their department by recruiting anyone and everyone. That doesn’t mean the department isn’t good, it just means they are struggling and you want to make certain that you understand the truth and possible outcomes of their struggles, because they will affect you. 12. Ask if tuition money is being spent to attract international students or if it is being used to help students such as yourself pay for college. How much money is being spent to recruit international students? Where is that money coming from? The latest statistics show that colleges are now spending more money on general marketing and marketing to international students than they are on scholarships for talented, low income students. Colleges claim that they recruit internationally because they want the diversity, but it’s just about the money. The fact is that there is plenty of diversity in this country that is not being served by our institutions of higher learning.

Mindy PoppPrincipalPopp & Associates, LLC

Tips for College Tours

Take a camera along when visiting colleges. Photographs from memorable campus locations will help to jog your memory after many college visits (you’ll find that details about each school will start to blur together in your mind). I also recommend keeping a college visits journal. After each campus tour and information session, write down your impressions in a journal. These notes will serve prospective college students well and may be useful when writing colleges’ supplemental essays.

Dale BonavitaCounselorFalcon Virtual Academy

Getting the most out of your college visit!

Be prepared! Go to the visit with a list of questions! Determine what is important to you. Do you want to know what activities are offered? How many students are typically in a class? Do they have a freshman cohort for studying? Is there a meal plan? Check out the surrounding area too! Do you want to be in a big city? small town? What are the dorms like? The more questions you have the better you will get to know the school to see if it is a good fit!

Barbara Jones

Getting the most out of a campus visit.

Plan in advance with the recruiter a day visit during the school week where opportunities to sit in on a class and meet with an instructor about the individual classes. Tour the campus in the morning or when the majority of the students are present. Visit the student unions, libraries and living facilities.

Sarah ContomichalosManagerEducational Advisory Services, LLC

Getting the most from your campus visit

Prepare for you visit by reading up on the college in one of the college guides such as Fiske’s Guide to Colleges and looking at the school’s website. If you know any students currently attending the college, contact them in advance and see if you can meet up with them during your visit. If you are interested in a particular program or major ask in advance if you can see a class or meet the relevant professor. During your visit ask questions, take notes and photographs and take in the atmosphere.

Diane Coburn Bruningchoreographer/counselor in performing artsCollege Match, Inc, Performing Arts Specialist

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Study their website. Arrive early and have a short look around campus on your own. As with admissions interviews, prepare and ask only questions that may not be answered on the website; this will show both interest and rigor in your preparation. After the tour, go to the department of the school in which you are considering studying and strike up a conversation with a student (or your mom will do this as she will not be embarrassed to do so!). Or go to the bookstore and in the process of buying something, ask the student help there for some information. You want to get some un-prepared, spontaneous answers…..

Amy FeinsownerAMF College Consulting

Not another cafeteria tour

After touring a few college campuses, they all start to look alike. The info session, the dorm room, the cafeteria with the description of the declining balance “swipe” system. You know the drill. But it is still really important to get your feet onto a campus in order to see the students there and get a feel for the place. So how to make it more personal? I always like to hang out at the student center after the tour. Get a copy of the student paper. ASK students (not your tour guide) if they like the school. They are astonishingly honest! You can also get some good information out of your tour guide without embarassing them or making them go too far “off script”. Find out what they did last night, and last weekend. Ask what they would change (not food or parking!) Ask what they wouldn’t want to change! If you have special interests or departments you want to see, call ahead and make an appointment to meet with faculty or students in those areas. Many schools will arrange overnights or classroom visits for interested seniors, but again, this takes some planning, so think ahead!

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

President/Partner, Global College Search Associates, LLC

Your college search is one of the first steps you will take to more fully become the person you will be throughout your life. So your college visits are a great place to begin developing the critical thinking and observation skills that will serve you well in every aspect of living. Be a smart consumer of higher education. Do your homework before you go, and be an astute observer and critical thinker when you visit. First, listen critically to everything that is told to you. Traditionally, admissions counselors have been caring, knowledgeable individuals. However, many admissions counselors attitudes today are being driven by pressure from the administration to bring in students, which equals tuition and room and board money. Admissions counselors are selling you their college, because their jobs depend upon the numbers of students they recruit. So, unfortunately, you can no longer believe them any more than you would believe a used car salesman, despite everyone’s good intentions. (BTW, the term “used car salesman” is one I hear often now, used by admissions counselors weary of the pressure to recruit students who are not a good fit.) Interestingly, I have attended and participated in many, many info sessions over the years. In the past several years, it is astonishing how similar these sessions have become. They are almost interchangeable. The truth is that admissions departments everywhere have deeply researched your generation and know exactly what to say to attract you — from diversity, to community service, to safety, to anything and everything. Honestly, visiting a college is much more about considering the details that will affect your day to day life and sussing out the truth behind the marketing and reputation. 1. Observe the way that professors and administrators behave around students. Are the employees respectful of the students? Do they seem to enjoy interacting with them? Do they seem helpful and not dismissive of students with questions? 2. Consider the situations at Penn State and Rutgers. Consider your own ethics and then think about what questions you need to ask to learn about the ethics of the institution. For example, what is their student judicial system like? How have they handled bullying in the past? Do they have campus-wide programs in effect to increase inter-human sensitivity? How do they handle substance abuse issues? How do they deal with student conflict? What is their approach to handling student mental and emotional health issues? If a student is in crisis, and that crisis may reflect poorly on the institution, will the institution act on behalf of the student or will it cover up the crisis in order to protect the institution? Does the institution seem punitive or does it seem to approach jurisprudence as a learning opportunity? Don’t just ask them open ended questions, ask for specific examples. 3. Ask about their first-year student intake program. How are they going to ensure that you are socially integrated and academically supported? What are the mechanisms for students to confidentially express their fears and anxieties? Do they have an Early Alert system? If they don’t, what is their process for ensuring that no student falls through the cracks? If they do, is it one that is designed to truly help students who are struggling, or is it intended to seek out struggling students and punish them for buckling to the high pressures of college life? 4. Look at the “bricks and mortar.” Does the campus look well-cared for? Does it look safe? Lights in alleyways and hallways, etc. That stuff matters. But college is a place to learn. It’s not supposed to be the Golden Door Spa. Be aware that fancy, expensive residence hall facilities should make you question where your tuition and room and board money will be going — especially if it is an institution that is charging higher tuition and it has little or no endowment. It should be going to ensure that the academic facilities and equipment will prepare you to enter your profession. That’s what you’re going to college for. 5. Before you go, read the local newspapers online and see what’s mentioned about the college or university. Does the institution have a good reputation within the community? What is the relationship of the college to the surrounding community — “town and gown”? Is the college genuinely invested in the people and community that surround it, or are they simply taking up space, creating a universe of their own with no interest in bettering the world around them? Some institutions, such as Indiana University — Bloomington, are fully integrated into the community in every way, ethnically, socially, and economically. This integration creates a rich personal and professional experience with lots of real world possibilities for building a resume aimed at gaining employment upon graduating. 6. Listen closely and think critically. Make sure that the institution you are visiting is marketing itself HONESTLY through its tours and info sessions. For example,Tulane University is in New Orleans, which in its admissions tours touts its diversity. However, look around you on campus and you see virtually no evidence of varied ethnicities. Then drive to the other side of town and see a completely different, devastated community. Then remember the admissions officer telling you that their football team plays in the Superdome, which had housed all the people from the Ninth Ward. They have an almost billion dollar endowment, yet they accepted $135 million from FEMA post-Katrina to upgrade their data systems, yet the city is still devastated. Again, institutional ethics and truth in marketing — pay attention to what they are telling you, then pay closer attention to anything that supports or denies what they have said. 7. Before you go on your tour, research safety statistics and everything that’s been in the general news about the college. And when you are there, pick up a copy of the student newspaper — that’s where you will see what’s really going on. And learn about what’s being discussed at the Student Government Association meetings. Pay attention to what you find out about efforts students and student groups make to express their concerns to the college’s administration. What are the concerns being expressed and how are those concerns being responded to. 8. Ask where your tuition money and room and board goes. Better yet, ask to be directed to published information that details where your money will go. 9. Don’t ask what their average SAT score is, or their graduation rate, or their student/faculty ratio. You can find all that info online, even though it’s not very important. The fact is, you learn more from astute observation and research than you do from asking questions. 10. Four-to-five years is a long time to be someplace. Before you leave for your visits, you should read online the college’s Strategic Plan. When you visit the campus, check to see if there is evidence that the institution is moving actively in the direction its Strategic Plan indicates it wants to go. 11. Also research online where funding cuts are being made. If it’s a public institution you are looking at, research what kinds of funding cuts are being made to make up for reduced state funding. Many, many institutions around the country are being faced with having to pull back on programs or eliminate them completely. When you visit, talk to a professor or students and find out what the continued funding outlook is for their department. You don’t want to end up in a program that cannot keep up with it’s needs for educating you, or worse, in a program that is in danger of being eliminated. And make sure you research what they tell you — they may be trying to save their department by recruiting anyone and everyone. That doesn’t mean the department isn’t good, it just means they are struggling and you want to make certain that you understand the truth and possible outcomes of their struggles, because they will affect you. 12. Ask if tuition money is being spent to attract international students or if it is being used to help students such as yourself pay for college. How much money is being spent to recruit international students? Where is that money coming from? The latest statistics show that colleges are now spending more money on general marketing and marketing to international students than they are on scholarships for talented, low income students. Colleges claim that they recruit internationally because they want the diversity, but it’s just about the money. The fact is that there is plenty of diversity in this country that is not being served by our institutions of higher learning.

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Your college search is one of the first steps you will take to more fully become the person you will be throughout your life. So your college visits are a great place to begin developing the critical thinking and observation skills that will serve you well in every aspect of living. Be a smart consumer of higher education. Do your homework before you go, and be an astute observer and critical thinker when you visit. First, listen critically to everything that is told to you. Traditionally, admissions counselors have been caring, knowledgeable individuals. However, many admissions counselors attitudes today are being driven by pressure from the administration to bring in students, which equals tuition and room and board money. Admissions counselors are selling you their college, because their jobs depend upon the numbers of students they recruit. So, unfortunately, you can no longer believe them any more than you would believe a used car salesman, despite everyone’s good intentions. (BTW, the term “used car salesman” is one I hear often now, used by admissions counselors weary of the pressure to recruit students who are not a good fit.) Interestingly, I have attended and participated in many, many info sessions over the years. In the past several years, it is astonishing how similar these sessions have become. They are almost interchangeable. The truth is that admissions departments everywhere have deeply researched your generation and know exactly what to say to attract you — from diversity, to community service, to safety, to anything and everything. Honestly, visiting a college is much more about considering the details that will affect your day to day life and sussing out the truth behind the marketing and reputation. 1. Observe the way that professors and administrators behave around students. Are the employees respectful of the students? Do they seem to enjoy interacting with them? Do they seem helpful and not dismissive of students with questions? 2. Consider the situations at Penn State and Rutgers. Consider your own ethics and then think about what questions you need to ask to learn about the ethics of the institution. For example, what is their student judicial system like? How have they handled bullying in the past? Do they have campus-wide programs in effect to increase inter-human sensitivity? How do they handle substance abuse issues? How do they deal with student conflict? What is their approach to handling student mental and emotional health issues? If a student is in crisis, and that crisis may reflect poorly on the institution, will the institution act on behalf of the student or will it cover up the crisis in order to protect the institution? Does the institution seem punitive or does it seem to approach jurisprudence as a learning opportunity? Don’t just ask them open ended questions, ask for specific examples. 3. Ask about their first-year student intake program. How are they going to ensure that you are socially integrated and academically supported? What are the mechanisms for students to confidentially express their fears and anxieties? Do they have an Early Alert system? If they don’t, what is their process for ensuring that no student falls through the cracks? If they do, is it one that is designed to truly help students who are struggling, or is it intended to seek out struggling students and punish them for buckling to the high pressures of college life? 4. Look at the “bricks and mortar.” Does the campus look well-cared for? Does it look safe? Lights in alleyways and hallways, etc. That stuff matters. But college is a place to learn. It’s not supposed to be the Golden Door Spa. Be aware that fancy, expensive residence hall facilities should make you question where your tuition and room and board money will be going — especially if it is an institution that is charging higher tuition and it has little or no endowment. It should be going to ensure that the academic facilities and equipment will prepare you to enter your profession. That’s what you’re going to college for. 5. Before you go, read the local newspapers online and see what’s mentioned about the college or university. Does the institution have a good reputation within the community? What is the relationship of the college to the surrounding community — “town and gown”? Is the college genuinely invested in the people and community that surround it, or are they simply taking up space, creating a universe of their own with no interest in bettering the world around them? Some institutions, such as Indiana University — Bloomington, are fully integrated into the community in every way, ethnically, socially, and economically. This integration creates a rich personal and professional experience with lots of real world possibilities for building a resume aimed at gaining employment upon graduating. 6. Listen closely and think critically. Make sure that the institution you are visiting is marketing itself HONESTLY through its tours and info sessions. For example,Tulane University is in New Orleans, which in its admissions tours touts its diversity. However, look around you on campus and you see virtually no evidence of varied ethnicities. Then drive to the other side of town and see a completely different, devastated community. Then remember the admissions officer telling you that their football team plays in the Superdome, which had housed all the people from the Ninth Ward. They have an almost billion dollar endowment, yet they accepted $135 million from FEMA post-Katrina to upgrade their data systems, yet the city is still devastated. Again, institutional ethics and truth in marketing — pay attention to what they are telling you, then pay closer attention to anything that supports or denies what they have said. 7. Before you go on your tour, research safety statistics and everything that’s been in the general news about the college. And when you are there, pick up a copy of the student newspaper — that’s where you will see what’s really going on. And learn about what’s being discussed at the Student Government Association meetings. Pay attention to what you find out about efforts students and student groups make to express their concerns to the college’s administration. What are the concerns being expressed and how are those concerns being responded to. 8. Ask where your tuition money and room and board goes. Better yet, ask to be directed to published information that details where your money will go. 9. Don’t ask what their average SAT score is, or their graduation rate, or their student/faculty ratio. You can find all that info online, even though it’s not very important. The fact is, you learn more from astute observation and research than you do from asking questions. 10. Four-to-five years is a long time to be someplace. Before you leave for your visits, you should read online the college’s Strategic Plan. When you visit the campus, check to see if there is evidence that the institution is moving actively in the direction its Strategic Plan indicates it wants to go. 11. Also research online where funding cuts are being made. If it’s a public institution you are looking at, research what kinds of funding cuts are being made to make up for reduced state funding. Many, many institutions around the country are being faced with having to pull back on programs or eliminate them completely. When you visit, talk to a professor or students and find out what the continued funding outlook is for their department. You don’t want to end up in a program that cannot keep up with it’s needs for educating you, or worse, in a program that is in danger of being eliminated. And make sure you research what they tell you — they may be trying to save their department by recruiting anyone and everyone. That doesn’t mean the department isn’t good, it just means they are struggling and you want to make certain that you understand the truth and possible outcomes of their struggles, because they will affect you. 12. Ask if tuition money is being spent to attract international students or if it is being used to help students such as yourself pay for college. How much money is being spent to recruit international students? Where is that money coming from? The latest statistics show that colleges are now spending more money on general marketing and marketing to international students than they are on scholarships for talented, low income students. Colleges claim that they recruit internationally because they want the diversity, but it’s just about the money. The fact is that there is plenty of diversity in this country that is not being served by our institutions of higher learning.

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

President/Partner, Global College Search Associates, LLC

Your college search is one of the first steps you will take to more fully become the person you will be throughout your life. So your college visits are a great place to begin developing the critical thinking and observation skills that will serve you well in every aspect of living. Be a smart consumer of higher education. Do your homework before you go, and be an astute observer and critical thinker when you visit. First, listen critically to everything that is told to you. Traditionally, admissions counselors have been caring, knowledgeable individuals. However, many admissions counselors attitudes today are being driven by pressure from the administration to bring in students, which equals tuition and room and board money. Admissions counselors are selling you their college, because their jobs depend upon the numbers of students they recruit. So, unfortunately, you can no longer believe them any more than you would believe a used car salesman, despite everyone’s good intentions. (BTW, the term “used car salesman” is one I hear often now, used by admissions counselors weary of the pressure to recruit students who are not a good fit.) Interestingly, I have attended and participated in many, many info sessions over the years. In the past several years, it is astonishing how similar these sessions have become. They are almost interchangeable. The truth is that admissions departments everywhere have deeply researched your generation and know exactly what to say to attract you — from diversity, to community service, to safety, to anything and everything. Honestly, visiting a college is much more about considering the details that will affect your day to day life and sussing out the truth behind the marketing and reputation. 1. Observe the way that professors and administrators behave around students. Are the employees respectful of the students? Do they seem to enjoy interacting with them? Do they seem helpful and not dismissive of students with questions? 2. Consider the situations at Penn State and Rutgers. Consider your own ethics and then think about what questions you need to ask to learn about the ethics of the institution. For example, what is their student judicial system like? How have they handled bullying in the past? Do they have campus-wide programs in effect to increase inter-human sensitivity? How do they handle substance abuse issues? How do they deal with student conflict? What is their approach to handling student mental and emotional health issues? If a student is in crisis, and that crisis may reflect poorly on the institution, will the institution act on behalf of the student or will it cover up the crisis in order to protect the institution? Does the institution seem punitive or does it seem to approach jurisprudence as a learning opportunity? Don’t just ask them open ended questions, ask for specific examples. 3. Ask about their first-year student intake program. How are they going to ensure that you are socially integrated and academically supported? What are the mechanisms for students to confidentially express their fears and anxieties? Do they have an Early Alert system? If they don’t, what is their process for ensuring that no student falls through the cracks? If they do, is it one that is designed to truly help students who are struggling, or is it intended to seek out struggling students and punish them for buckling to the high pressures of college life? 4. Look at the “bricks and mortar.” Does the campus look well-cared for? Does it look safe? Lights in alleyways and hallways, etc. That stuff matters. But college is a place to learn. It’s not supposed to be the Golden Door Spa. Be aware that fancy, expensive residence hall facilities should make you question where your tuition and room and board money will be going — especially if it is an institution that is charging higher tuition and it has little or no endowment. It should be going to ensure that the academic facilities and equipment will prepare you to enter your profession. That’s what you’re going to college for. 5. Before you go, read the local newspapers online and see what’s mentioned about the college or university. Does the institution have a good reputation within the community? What is the relationship of the college to the surrounding community — “town and gown”? Is the college genuinely invested in the people and community that surround it, or are they simply taking up space, creating a universe of their own with no interest in bettering the world around them? Some institutions, such as Indiana University — Bloomington, are fully integrated into the community in every way, ethnically, socially, and economically. This integration creates a rich personal and professional experience with lots of real world possibilities for building a resume aimed at gaining employment upon graduating. 6. Listen closely and think critically. Make sure that the institution you are visiting is marketing itself HONESTLY through its tours and info sessions. For example,Tulane University is in New Orleans, which in its admissions tours touts its diversity. However, look around you on campus and you see virtually no evidence of varied ethnicities. Then drive to the other side of town and see a completely different, devastated community. Then remember the admissions officer telling you that their football team plays in the Superdome, which had housed all the people from the Ninth Ward. They have an almost billion dollar endowment, yet they accepted $135 million from FEMA post-Katrina to upgrade their data systems, yet the city is still devastated. Again, institutional ethics and truth in marketing — pay attention to what they are telling you, then pay closer attention to anything that supports or denies what they have said. 7. Before you go on your tour, research safety statistics and everything that’s been in the general news about the college. And when you are there, pick up a copy of the student newspaper — that’s where you will see what’s really going on. And learn about what’s being discussed at the Student Government Association meetings. Pay attention to what you find out about efforts students and student groups make to express their concerns to the college’s administration. What are the concerns being expressed and how are those concerns being responded to. 8. Ask where your tuition money and room and board goes. Better yet, ask to be directed to published information that details where your money will go. 9. Don’t ask what their average SAT score is, or their graduation rate, or their student/faculty ratio. You can find all that info online, even though it’s not very important. The fact is, you learn more from astute observation and research than you do from asking questions. 10. Four-to-five years is a long time to be someplace. Before you leave for your visits, you should read online the college’s Strategic Plan. When you visit the campus, check to see if there is evidence that the institution is moving actively in the direction its Strategic Plan indicates it wants to go. 11. Also research online where funding cuts are being made. If it’s a public institution you are looking at, research what kinds of funding cuts are being made to make up for reduced state funding. Many, many institutions around the country are being faced with having to pull back on programs or eliminate them completely. When you visit, talk to a professor or students and find out what the continued funding outlook is for their department. You don’t want to end up in a program that cannot keep up with it’s needs for educating you, or worse, in a program that is in danger of being eliminated. And make sure you research what they tell you — they may be trying to save their department by recruiting anyone and everyone. That doesn’t mean the department isn’t good, it just means they are struggling and you want to make certain that you understand the truth and possible outcomes of their struggles, because they will affect you. 12. Ask if tuition money is being spent to attract international students or if it is being used to help students such as yourself pay for college. How much money is being spent to recruit international students? Where is that money coming from? The latest statistics show that colleges are now spending more money on general marketing and marketing to international students than they are on scholarships for talented, low income students. Colleges claim that they recruit internationally because they want the diversity, but it’s just about the money. The fact is that there is plenty of diversity in this country that is not being served by our institutions of higher learning.

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Do Your Homework

Your college search is one of the first steps you will take to more fully become the person you will be throughout your life. So your college visits are a great place to begin developing the critical thinking and observation skills that will serve you well in every aspect of living. Be a smart consumer of higher education. Do your homework before you go, and be an astute observer and critical thinker when you visit. First, listen critically to everything that is told to you. Traditionally, admissions counselors have been caring, knowledgeable individuals. However, many admissions counselors attitudes today are being driven by pressure from the administration to bring in students, which equals tuition and room and board money. Admissions counselors are selling you their college, because their jobs depend upon the numbers of students they recruit. So, unfortunately, you can no longer believe them any more than you would believe a used car salesman, despite everyone’s good intentions. (BTW, the term “used car salesman” is one I hear often now, used by admissions counselors weary of the pressure to recruit students who are not a good fit.) Interestingly, I have attended and participated in many, many info sessions over the years. In the past several years, it is astonishing how similar these sessions have become. They are almost interchangeable. The truth is that admissions departments everywhere have deeply researched your generation and know exactly what to say to attract you — from diversity, to community service, to safety, to anything and everything. Honestly, visiting a college is much more about considering the details that will affect your day to day life and sussing out the truth behind the marketing and reputation. 1. Observe the way that professors and administrators behave around students. Are the employees respectful of the students? Do they seem to enjoy interacting with them? Do they seem helpful and not dismissive of students with questions? 2. Consider the situations at Penn State and Rutgers. Consider your own ethics and then think about what questions you need to ask to learn about the ethics of the institution. For example, what is their student judicial system like? How have they handled bullying in the past? Do they have campus-wide programs in effect to increase inter-human sensitivity? How do they handle substance abuse issues? How do they deal with student conflict? What is their approach to handling student mental and emotional health issues? If a student is in crisis, and that crisis may reflect poorly on the institution, will the institution act on behalf of the student or will it cover up the crisis in order to protect the institution? Does the institution seem punitive or does it seem to approach jurisprudence as a learning opportunity? Don’t just ask them open ended questions, ask for specific examples. 3. Ask about their first-year student intake program. How are they going to ensure that you are socially integrated and academically supported? What are the mechanisms for students to confidentially express their fears and anxieties? Do they have an Early Alert system? If they don’t, what is their process for ensuring that no student falls through the cracks? If they do, is it one that is designed to truly help students who are struggling, or is it intended to seek out struggling students and punish them for buckling to the high pressures of college life? 4. Look at the “bricks and mortar.” Does the campus look well-cared for? Does it look safe? Lights in alleyways and hallways, etc. That stuff matters. But college is a place to learn. It’s not supposed to be the Golden Door Spa. Be aware that fancy, expensive residence hall facilities should make you question where your tuition and room and board money will be going — especially if it is an institution that is charging higher tuition and it has little or no endowment. It should be going to ensure that the academic facilities and equipment will prepare you to enter your profession. That’s what you’re going to college for. 5. Before you go, read the local newspapers online and see what’s mentioned about the college or university. Does the institution have a good reputation within the community? What is the relationship of the college to the surrounding community — “town and gown”? Is the college genuinely invested in the people and community that surround it, or are they simply taking up space, creating a universe of their own with no interest in bettering the world around them? Some institutions, such as Indiana University — Bloomington, are fully integrated into the community in every way, ethnically, socially, and economically. This integration creates a rich personal and professional experience with lots of real world possibilities for building a resume aimed at gaining employment upon graduating. 6. Listen closely and think critically. Make sure that the institution you are visiting is marketing itself HONESTLY through its tours and info sessions. For example,Tulane University is in New Orleans, which in its admissions tours touts its diversity. However, look around you on campus and you see virtually no evidence of varied ethnicities. Then drive to the other side of town and see a completely different, devastated community. Then remember the admissions officer telling you that their football team plays in the Superdome, which had housed all the people from the Ninth Ward. They have an almost billion dollar endowment, yet they accepted $135 million from FEMA post-Katrina to upgrade their data systems, yet the city is still devastated. Again, institutional ethics and truth in marketing — pay attention to what they are telling you, then pay closer attention to anything that supports or denies what they have said. 7. Before you go on your tour, research safety statistics and everything that’s been in the general news about the college. And when you are there, pick up a copy of the student newspaper — that’s where you will see what’s really going on. And learn about what’s being discussed at the Student Government Association meetings. Pay attention to what you find out about efforts students and student groups make to express their concerns to the college’s administration. What are the concerns being expressed and how are those concerns being responded to. 8. Ask where your tuition money and room and board goes. Better yet, ask to be directed to published information that details where your money will go. 9. Don’t ask what their average SAT score is, or their graduation rate, or their student/faculty ratio. You can find all that info online, even though it’s not very important. The fact is, you learn more from astute observation and research than you do from asking questions. 10. Four-to-five years is a long time to be someplace. Before you leave for your visits, you should read online the college’s Strategic Plan. When you visit the campus, check to see if there is evidence that the institution is moving actively in the direction its Strategic Plan indicates it wants to go. 11. Also research online where funding cuts are being made. If it’s a public institution you are looking at, research what kinds of funding cuts are being made to make up for reduced state funding. Many, many institutions around the country are being faced with having to pull back on programs or eliminate them completely. When you visit, talk to a professor or students and find out what the continued funding outlook is for their department. You don’t want to end up in a program that cannot keep up with it’s needs for educating you, or worse, in a program that is in danger of being eliminated. And make sure you research what they tell you — they may be trying to save their department by recruiting anyone and everyone. That doesn’t mean the department isn’t good, it just means they are struggling and you want to make certain that you understand the truth and possible outcomes of their struggles, because they will affect you. 12. Ask if tuition money is being spent to attract international students or if it is being used to help students such as yourself pay for college. How much money is being spent to recruit international students? Where is that money coming from? The latest statistics show that colleges are now spending more money on general marketing and marketing to international students than they are on scholarships for talented, low income students. Colleges claim that they recruit internationally because they want the diversity, but it’s just about the money. The fact is that there is plenty of diversity in this country that is not being served by our institutions of higher learning.

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Do Your Homework

Your college search is one of the first steps you will take to more fully become the person you will be throughout your life. So your college visits are a great place to begin developing the critical thinking and observation skills that will serve you well in every aspect of living. Be a smart consumer of higher education. Do your homework before you go, and be an astute observer and critical thinker when you visit. First, listen critically to everything that is told to you. Traditionally, admissions counselors have been caring, knowledgeable individuals. However, many admissions counselors attitudes today are being driven by pressure from the administration to bring in students, which equals tuition and room and board money. Admissions counselors are selling you their college, because their jobs depend upon the numbers of students they recruit. So, unfortunately, you can no longer believe them any more than you would believe a used car salesman, despite everyone’s good intentions. (BTW, the term “used car salesman” is one I hear often now, used by admissions counselors weary of the pressure to recruit students who are not a good fit.) Interestingly, I have attended and participated in many, many info sessions over the years. In the past several years, it is astonishing how similar these sessions have become. They are almost interchangeable. The truth is that admissions departments everywhere have deeply researched your generation and know exactly what to say to attract you — from diversity, to community service, to safety, to anything and everything. Honestly, visiting a college is much more about considering the details that will affect your day to day life and sussing out the truth behind the marketing and reputation. 1. Observe the way that professors and administrators behave around students. Are the employees respectful of the students? Do they seem to enjoy interacting with them? Do they seem helpful and not dismissive of students with questions? 2. Consider the situations at Penn State and Rutgers. Consider your own ethics and then think about what questions you need to ask to learn about the ethics of the institution. For example, what is their student judicial system like? How have they handled bullying in the past? Do they have campus-wide programs in effect to increase inter-human sensitivity? How do they handle substance abuse issues? How do they deal with student conflict? What is their approach to handling student mental and emotional health issues? If a student is in crisis, and that crisis may reflect poorly on the institution, will the institution act on behalf of the student or will it cover up the crisis in order to protect the institution? Does the institution seem punitive or does it seem to approach jurisprudence as a learning opportunity? Don’t just ask them open ended questions, ask for specific examples. 3. Ask about their first-year student intake program. How are they going to ensure that you are socially integrated and academically supported? What are the mechanisms for students to confidentially express their fears and anxieties? Do they have an Early Alert system? If they don’t, what is their process for ensuring that no student falls through the cracks? If they do, is it one that is designed to truly help students who are struggling, or is it intended to seek out struggling students and punish them for buckling to the high pressures of college life? 4. Look at the “bricks and mortar.” Does the campus look well-cared for? Does it look safe? Lights in alleyways and hallways, etc. That stuff matters. But college is a place to learn. It’s not supposed to be the Golden Door Spa. Be aware that fancy, expensive residence hall facilities should make you question where your tuition and room and board money will be going — especially if it is an institution that is charging higher tuition and it has little or no endowment. It should be going to ensure that the academic facilities and equipment will prepare you to enter your profession. That’s what you’re going to college for. 5. Before you go, read the local newspapers online and see what’s mentioned about the college or university. Does the institution have a good reputation within the community? What is the relationship of the college to the surrounding community — “town and gown”? Is the college genuinely invested in the people and community that surround it, or are they simply taking up space, creating a universe of their own with no interest in bettering the world around them? Some institutions, such as Indiana University — Bloomington, are fully integrated into the community in every way, ethnically, socially, and economically. This integration creates a rich personal and professional experience with lots of real world possibilities for building a resume aimed at gaining employment upon graduating. 6. Listen closely and think critically. Make sure that the institution you are visiting is marketing itself HONESTLY through its tours and info sessions. For example,Tulane University is in New Orleans, which in its admissions tours touts its diversity. However, look around you on campus and you see virtually no evidence of varied ethnicities. Then drive to the other side of town and see a completely different, devastated community. Then remember the admissions officer telling you that their football team plays in the Superdome, which had housed all the people from the Ninth Ward. They have an almost billion dollar endowment, yet they accepted $135 million from FEMA post-Katrina to upgrade their data systems, yet the city is still devastated. Again, institutional ethics and truth in marketing — pay attention to what they are telling you, then pay closer attention to anything that supports or denies what they have said. 7. Before you go on your tour, research safety statistics and everything that’s been in the general news about the college. And when you are there, pick up a copy of the student newspaper — that’s where you will see what’s really going on. And learn about what’s being discussed at the Student Government Association meetings. Pay attention to what you find out about efforts students and student groups make to express their concerns to the college’s administration. What are the concerns being expressed and how are those concerns being responded to. 8. Ask where your tuition money and room and board goes. Better yet, ask to be directed to published information that details where your money will go. 9. Don’t ask what their average SAT score is, or their graduation rate, or their student/faculty ratio. You can find all that info online, even though it’s not very important. The fact is, you learn more from astute observation and research than you do from asking questions. 10. Four-to-five years is a long time to be someplace. Before you leave for your visits, you should read online the college’s Strategic Plan. When you visit the campus, check to see if there is evidence that the institution is moving actively in the direction its Strategic Plan indicates it wants to go. 11. Also research online where funding cuts are being made. If it’s a public institution you are looking at, research what kinds of funding cuts are being made to make up for reduced state funding. Many, many institutions around the country are being faced with having to pull back on programs or eliminate them completely. When you visit, talk to a professor or students and find out what the continued funding outlook is for their department. You don’t want to end up in a program that cannot keep up with it’s needs for educating you, or worse, in a program that is in danger of being eliminated. And make sure you research what they tell you — they may be trying to save their department by recruiting anyone and everyone. That doesn’t mean the department isn’t good, it just means they are struggling and you want to make certain that you understand the truth and possible outcomes of their struggles, because they will affect you. 12. Ask if tuition money is being spent to attract international students or if it is being used to help students such as yourself pay for college. How much money is being spent to recruit international students? Where is that money coming from? The latest statistics show that colleges are now spending more money on general marketing and marketing to international students than they are on scholarships for talented, low income students. Colleges claim that they recruit internationally because they want the diversity, but it’s just about the money. The fact is that there is plenty of diversity in this country that is not being served by our institutions of higher learning.

Tony BankstonDean of AdmissionsIllinois Wesleyan University

Do Your Homework Before Visiting

While college admission counselors and tour guides are prepared to work with students and parents who know absolutely nothing about their institution, the best and most productive campus visits occur when students and parents do some research and prepare a handful of questions ahead of time. Getting a lot of the basic information out of the way before you arrive on campus (via the web site or a brochure) allows you to go into greater depth about the specific things that can really shape your college experience. I always found it amusing when students would apologize for pulling out a spiral notebook that contained some of their questions, but I quickly assured them that I found it extremely helpful that they took the initiative to think about what they wanted to know ahead of the actual visit. If you can relay to an admission counselor or tour guide the issues that are most important to you, they can tailor the information to your specific needs, and that should eventually lead to you finding the right fit for your college home.

Jennifer HawleySchool CounselorHill Regional Career HS

The importance of campus tours

It is so important to see a campus before applying to a school. Many students want to go to a school for all of the wrong reasons and when they get there they find they do not like it as much as they thought they would. It is absolutely necessary to go on a campus tour, while school is in session. You want to see what the campus looks like but also, would you fit in. What are the students like? Is it an active campus, do you like the feel. Also, do you like the area the school is in, the ride up there-was it too long? too short? Be sure to ask your tour guide questions. What is the food like, is there a lot to do on the weekends or do students go home? are there many clubs or activities? Ask about tutoring and on campus jobs. These are all valid and important questions that should be asked and answered. Make yourself stand out. Even if you know the answer ask just so that they know you are interested. Get their name and send a thank you.

Laura O’Brien GatzionisFounderEducational Advisory Services

Campus Tours are best when school is in session

As far as the campus tour is concerned, try to go when classes are in session and talk to students around campus. Look at the bulletin boards to get a feel for the campus culture. Notice if the buildings and grounds are in good condition. Take photos and make notes because if you are on a tour of several schools you might not remember details when you return home. At the end of the information session, ask questions. Which of the application components are considered the most important? Does the college have a lot of applicants from your geographic area? Are optional questions on the application really optional?

David WeinerDirector of College CounselingFredericksburg Academy

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Introduce yourself to the territory representative from your area. One of the best ways to distinguish yourself from other applicants is to form a relationship with an admissions representative. Don’t be overzealous, though. Be polite and courteous, but ask to speak with the representative from your area. Also, if you’re interested in a specific major, try to meet with a Professor from that department. Lastly, ask regular students on campus if they like the place. As you can imagine, Admissions Offices employ the more enthusiastic students!

Aaron Kind

Get the most out of your tour..

To get the most out of your experience wonder away from the group. The student representative taking you around campus has a biased view of their college. They are (more often than not) not going to clue you in on how difficult course registration is, or how cramped the library gets during finals. You want to get the most of your hour or two on campus and here’s how. Wonder. Stop students in the quad and ask them if they’re happy. Eavesdrop on conversations other students are having. Are they talking about Philosophy 101 or are they talking about the party that happened last night? Which conversation do you prefer? You must stop by the cafeteria and taste the food. When buying a car you always test drive it, the same applies here. How is the food? Do you want to eat here every day for the next four years? I hope so, because if you chose First Choice U, you will be eating their food.

Shannon O’BrienCounselorPalatine High School

Campus Visits – How do I make the most of this opportunity?

You need to be prepared for a campus visit. You must call ahead and make an appointment whether it be an individual tour or an “open house” day for interested students. I would research the school online, talk with others you know who may have attended the school, etc. Many of the “open house” campus visit sessions will give you a general overview of the college/university and show you all of the programs they have available to you. If you would like a more personal experience (I suggest this), call the college/university offie of admissions and make an appointment to have a personal tour. in addition, you can seek out meetings with specific personal/college departments, but you must call ahead to make arrancgements. Please be an active participant – have a list of questions that you are seeking answers to.

Jeana RobbinsCounselor

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Have questions ready before your visit. Take plenty of notes during your visit. Try to talk with students taking classes in areas of personal interest.

Ed GarciaAssistant Professor/CounselorAustin Community College

Campus Tours…

Campus tours are a time for you to get a “feel” for the university. I have always encouraged students to take campus tours if it is something they can do. Campus tours give you an opportunity to walk around and view the campus setting. When you are on a campus tour I recommend asking the tour guide if you could get a peak inside a building or classroom. Some tours will include this, but it does not hurt to ask! When you go inside a building or view a classroom it allows you to visualize yourself in the setting. Ask lots of questions! Most tour guides will have knowledge about special programs, school size, student population, and so on. However, if you have specific questions about admissions or an academic program it is better to speak to the admissions staff or appropriate department! This leads to my next point. If you schedule a campus tour, why not see if you can schedule a sit down to meet with an admissions staff member? I have always been a big believer in getting the most out of your trip. If you schedule an appointment to meet with an admissions staff member make sure you have official copies of your transcripts! If you have already applied this could be an opportunity for you to turn in your official transcript(s) if you have not done so already. If you decide to meet with an admissions staff member make sure you have official documents of all of your academic achievements and records. Finally, I leave you with this. Make sure you pick a solid day to visit the campus. I typically try to avoid Friday’s. Friday’s seem to be a low student traffic days from my experience in higher education, although for some institutions it might be busy. However, if you like low student traffic Friday’s might be a good day to visit. If the goal is to get a feel of the institution then a middle of the day week might be better as students are in a “work mode” routine and this is more representative of college life.

Sarah ContomichalosManagerEducational Advisory Services, LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Prepare for you visit by reading up on the college in one of the college guides such as the Fiske Guide to Colleges and looking at the school’s website. If you know any students currently attending the college, contact them in advance and see if you can meet up with them during your visit. If you are interested in a particular program or major ask in advance if you can see a class or meet the relevant professor. During your visit ask questions, take notes and photographs and take in the atmosphere.

Amber GrohAssistant Director of Student LifeUniversity of South Dakota

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Come prepared with questions a head of time. Be familiar enough with the college that you know different options for majors. While you are setting up your campus visit request to meet with a professor for the majors you are interested in. Make sure to ask the admissions counselor our student tour guide what types of student organizations and other clubs you can get involved with.

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

seeking out the details

Colleges and Universities come in all shapes and sizes, and selecting the one that fits you and your goals best is extremely important. Before we get into the specific aspects of this journey please take a moment to reflect upon thisstatment: this choice is about you – your development personally, academically professionally. With that in mind. Campus tours and informational sessions are the bread and butter of getting to know a college; the former being geared towards academic programs and opportunities, the latter towards culture and social life. You can think of both as presentations a college gives to show what they have to offer. Before you attend either take time to reflect on what you want from your college experience and prepare questions that ask “does this institution offer what I want?” Note I can give you a few examples of what to ask but at the end of the day the person who can write the best question for you is … you, because only you know what you want. At informational sessions you can ask about majors, class sizes, faculty-student ratios, undergraduate research or internship opportunities. At campus tours ask about the general culture, student social life, how academics mesh with free time, living conditions, weather and things that matter to you. Another tip is to ask a student or faculty personal question to get to know a them and thus the school better.

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

seeking out the details

Colleges and Universities come in all shapes and sizes, and selecting the one that fits you and your goals best is extremely important. Before we get into the specific aspects of this journey please take a moment to reflect upon this statement: this choice is about you – your development personally, academically professionally. With that in mind let us proceed to discuss info sessions and campus tours. Campus tours and informational sessions are the bread and butter of getting to know a college; the former being geared towards academic programs and opportunities, the latter towards culture and social life. You can think of both as presentations a college gives to show what they have to offer. Before you attend either take time to reflect on what you want from your college experience and prepare questions that ask “does this institution offer what I want?” Note I can give you a few examples of what to ask but at the end of the day the person who can write the best question for you is … you, because only you know what you want. At informational sessions you can ask about majors, class sizes, faculty-student ratios and undergraduate research or internship opportunities. At campus tours ask personal questions about the general culture, student social life, how academics mesh with free time, living conditions, weather and things that matter to you. Furthermore, keep an open eyes and ears, listen carefully and critically to what people say and what you observe on campus. Final tip is to bring a notebook and jot down the things that are notable to you about each campus you visit or question you ask so you can remember each school when making your final decision.

Felice KobrickOwner, College Consultant,Kobrick College Consulting, LLC

No two schools are the same….

If you have been to several info sessions and tours, you may begin to feel bored and believe that all info sessions are basically the same. Not true!! Each school has a unique story to tell. The best info sessions emphasize what is most important to the school. Listen carefully. There will be opportunities to use that information in your application essay. For example, at the info session at Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, the admissions staff stresses that “interdisciplinary study” is an extremely important part of their vision. That’s something that might not be so important to another school, but it would be a great point to incorporate into your “Why Cornell/College of Human Ecology” essay!

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Don’t Be A Tourist

Short Answer: Be an astute observer and a critical thinker when visiting a college and listening to an admissions counselor. Detailed Answer: Your college search is one of the first steps you will take to more fully become the person you will be throughout your life. So your college visits are a great place to begin developing the critical thinking and observation skills that will serve you well in every aspect of living. Be a smart consumer of higher education. Do your homework before you go, and be an astute observer and critical thinker when you visit. First, listen critically to everything that is told to you. Traditionally, admissions counselors have been caring, knowledgeable individuals. However, many admissions counselors attitudes today are being driven by pressure from the administration to bring in students, which equals tuition and room and board money. Admissions counselors are selling you their college, because their jobs depend upon the numbers of students they recruit. So, unfortunately, you can no longer believe them any more than you would believe a used car salesman, despite everyone’s good intentions. (BTW, the term “used car salesman” is one I hear often now, used by admissions counselors weary of the pressure to recruit students who are not a good fit.) I have attended and participated in many, many info sessions over the years. In the past several years, it is astonishing how similar these sessions have become. They are almost interchangeable. The truth is that admissions departments everywhere have deeply researched your generation and know exactly what to say to attract you — from diversity, to community service, to safety, to anything and everything. Honestly, visiting a college is much more about considering the details that will affect your day to day life and sussing out the truth behind the marketing and reputation. 1. Observe the way that professors and administrators behave around students. Are the employees respectful of the students? Do they seem to enjoy interacting with them? Do they seem helpful and not dismissive of students with questions? 2. Consider the situations at Penn State and Rutgers. Consider your own ethics and then think about what questions you need to ask to learn about the ethics of the institution. For example, what is their student judicial system like? How have they handled bullying in the past? Do they have campus-wide programs in effect to increase inter-human sensitivity? How do they handle substance abuse issues? How do they deal with student conflict? What is their approach to handling student mental and emotional health issues? If a student is in crisis, and that crisis may reflect poorly on the institution, will the institution act on behalf of the student or will it cover up the crisis in order to protect the institution? Does the institution seem punitive or does it seem to approach jurisprudence as a learning opportunity? Don’t just ask them open ended questions, ask for specific examples. 3. Ask about their first-year student intake program. How are they going to ensure that you are socially integrated and academically supported? What are the mechanisms for students to confidentially express their fears and anxieties? Do they have an Early Alert system? If they don’t, what is their process for ensuring that no student falls through the cracks? If they do, is it one that is designed to truly help students who are struggling, or is it intended to seek out struggling students and punish them for buckling to the high pressures of college life? 4. Look at the “bricks and mortar.” Does the campus look well-cared for? Does it look safe? Lights in alleyways and hallways, etc. That stuff matters. But college is a place to learn. It’s not supposed to be the Golden Door Spa. Be aware that fancy, expensive residence hall facilities should make you question where your tuition and room and board money will be going — especially if it is an institution that is charging higher tuition and it has little or no endowment. It should be going to ensure that the academic facilities and equipment will prepare you to enter your profession. That’s what you’re going to college for. 5. Before you go, read the local newspapers online and see what’s mentioned about the college or university. Does the institution have a good reputation within the community? What is the relationship of the college to the surrounding community — “town and gown”? Is the college genuinely invested in the people and community that surround it, or are they simply taking up space, creating a universe of their own with no interest in bettering the world around them? Some institutions, such as Indiana University — Bloomington, are fully integrated into the community in every way, ethnically, socially, and economically. This integration creates a rich personal and professional experience with lots of real world possibilities for building a resume aimed at gaining employment upon graduating. 6. Listen closely and think critically. Make sure that the institution you are visiting is marketing itself HONESTLY through its tours and info sessions. For example,Tulane University is in New Orleans, which in its admissions tours touts its diversity. However, look around you on campus and you see virtually no evidence of varied ethnicities. Then drive to the other side of town and see a completely different, devastated community. Then remember the admissions officer telling you that their football team plays in the Superdome, which had housed all the people from the Ninth Ward. They have an almost billion dollar endowment, yet they accepted $135 million from FEMA post-Katrina to upgrade their data systems, yet the city is still devastated. Again, institutional ethics and truth in marketing — pay attention to what they are telling you, then pay closer attention to anything that supports or denies what they have said. 7. Before you go on your tour, research safety statistics and everything that’s been in the general news about the college. And when you are there, pick up a copy of the student newspaper — that’s where you will see what’s really going on. And learn about what’s being discussed at the Student Government Association meetings. Pay attention to what you find out about efforts students and student groups make to express their concerns to the college’s administration. What are the concerns being expressed and how are those concerns being responded to. 8. Ask where your tuition money and room and board goes. Better yet, ask to be directed to published information that details where your money will go. 9. Don’t ask what their average SAT score is, or their graduation rate, or their student/faculty ratio. You can find all that info online, even though it’s not very important. The fact is, you learn more from astute observation and research than you do from asking questions. 10. Four-to-five years is a long time to be someplace. Before you leave for your visits, you should read online the college’s Strategic Plan. When you visit the campus, check to see if there is evidence that the institution is moving actively in the direction its Strategic Plan indicates it wants to go. 11. Also research online where funding cuts are being made. If it’s a public institution you are looking at, research what kinds of funding cuts are being made to make up for reduced state funding. Many, many institutions around the country are being faced with having to pull back on programs or eliminate them completely. When you visit, talk to a professor or students and find out what the continued funding outlook is for their department. You don’t want to end up in a program that cannot keep up with it’s needs for educating you, or worse, in a program that is in danger of being eliminated. And make sure you research what they tell you — they may be trying to save their department by recruiting anyone and everyone. That doesn’t mean the department isn’t good, it just means they are struggling and you want to make certain that you understand the truth and possible outcomes of their struggles, because they will affect you. 12. Ask if tuition money is being spent to attract international students or if it is being used to help students such as yourself pay for college. How much money is being spent to recruit international students? Where is that money coming from? The latest statistics show that colleges are now spending more money on general marketing and marketing to international students than they are on scholarships for talented, low income students. Colleges claim that they recruit internationally because they want the diversity, but it’s just about the money. The fact is that there is plenty of diversity in this country that is not being served by our institutions of higher learning.

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

seeking out the details

Colleges and Universities come in all shapes and sizes, and selecting the one that fits you and your goals best is extremely important. Before we get into the specific aspects of this journey please take a moment to reflect upon this statement: this choice is about you – your development personally, academically and professionally. With that in mind let us proceed to discuss informational sessions and campus tours. Campus tours and informational sessions are the bread and butter of getting to know a college; the former being geared towards academic programs and opportunities, the latter towards culture and social life. You can think of both as presentations a college gives to show what they have to offer. Before you attend either take time to reflect on what you want from your college experience and prepare questions that ask “does this institution offer what I want?” Note I can give you a few examples of what to ask but at the end of the day the person who can write the best question for you is … you, because only you know what you want. At informational sessions you can ask about majors, class sizes, faculty-student ratios and undergraduate research or internship opportunities. At campus tours ask personal questions about the general culture, student social life, how academics mesh with free time, living conditions, weather and things that matter to you. Furthermore, keep an open eyes and ears, listen carefully and critically to what people say and what you observe on campus. Final tip is to bring a notebook and jot down the things that are notable to you about each campus you visit or question you ask so you can remember each school when making your final decision.

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Be Analytical

One way to combat the sometimes emotional and irrational tendencies that go into making a decision on which college to attend is to keep meticulous notes about each college visit. For instance, take an “College Visit Information Sheet” with you on each visit, so that you can document the information that is important to you. Once you have done this for each school, you can then go back and compare your notes for each school. Remember, you always want to try and make your notes right when experiencing something so that you get an accurate understanding of what you were feeling at the time of having said experience. Sincerely, Mike Chapman, Owner Chapman College Admission Consulting www.chapmancac.com

Ryan JohnSchool CounselorBethlehem High School

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

During your campus tours, ask the tour guide to take you through several living quarters, the dining halls, academic buildings where classes are held (hopefully you can view a class being taught by a professor), student support service offices, health offices and any other facility you may want to explore. Ask questions like, ‘what do students do on the weekends’ and ‘what types of clubs and activities are available to students’. Definitely try to tour the campus when school is in session (fall or spring is best) and not during holiday breaks or summers if you can avoid it. During the informational sessions, ask questions on topics like: – Merit money. Is it available and is it renewable each year? – Interviews. Does the college conduct them and where do they take place? – Does the college track interest on the students part? (i.e. campus visits, interviews, high school visits, summer program attendance). – What % of students go on to obtain paying jobs? What % of students go on to graduate school or pursue internships? – What is the retention rate of freshmen? – Are study abroad programs available? Are internships and/or Co-op opportunities available?

Zulema WascherCounselorRio Rico High School

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

The best tip is, always visit any campuses you are interested in.Many students feel they already know which campus is “right” for them. But the reality is, you won’t find out until you actually visit them, once you’re there, you might feel right at home, or you might feel like you’re in a different world that you don’t belong in. The best advice once you’re visiting the campus is ask questions, even if they seem simlpe and not very intelligent, ask away. I’ve taken many students on campus trips and the best questions are always related to how the student guides feel in school. Are they liking the classrooms, the teachers? But make sure you have a list of possible questions before you go… Once there, visit the dorms, try and find a student mentor there, and go with them to classes, many schools now offer this option of attending classes with current students for a day. And finally, always ask about financial aid and scholarships.

James LundgrenPartnerCollege Planning Solutions

What do you want from a campus visit?

I like for each person visiting to have their own Checklist and Q&A sheet. (Call or email for ours) All family members can share their perspectives when reviewing the visits back at home. A digital camera is always a good idea for recollection of which campus was which. Parents should leave their students (with a book to feign reading, while observing uninterrupted) in the cafeteria for about an hour to listen in on the surrounding conversations and soak up the atmosphere for future reflection. While their student is in the cafeteria, parents can go drive the off-campus perimeter of the college and look for local banks and/or credit unions, visit a local real estate office, and walk through the closest grocery store. How clean and safe are these areas? You may also ask Campus Security for a copy of their most recent Safety Report. (These are produced each year, by law.) Lastly, I like for all my students (and parents) to slowly drive through the student parking lots. I ask them to make note of the cars types and the bumper sticker messages; and then, ask themselves, “Would I be comfortable here?”

William PepinDirector of GuidanceNorth Smithfield High School

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Go prepared to campus tours and info sessions. I’d recommend bringing the following with you when you go: Camera Pen Notepad Parents Questions That is just a start and remember to dress nice and be yourself!

Trevor CreedenDirector of College and Career CounselingDelaware County Christian School

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

First, you want to make sure that you are attentive and listening to everything that the admissions representative says in an info session and the tour guide says on the tour. You don’t want to leave anyone that works in the admissions office with a bad first impression because you were talking, sleeping, texting or goofing around. Second, make sure you prepare a few questions for both the info session and the tour. These questions should be the most important factors you are considering in the college you want to attend. The info session is a good time to ask admission questions like SAT/GPA numbers, what is their acceptance rate from last year and most popular majors to name a few. The tour is where you can ask more specific questions like placement in jobs for a specific major, how many students live on campus and what are the meal plans. At the end, make sure you introduce yourself to the tour guide and they know you were there because that can help them know how much you want to go there and they have a record of your visit.

kati swansonCounselorTMCC HS

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Ask questions about what you’re interested in or concerned with. Guides give dozens of tours and they are rather broad because all groups have different interests and it’s the guides’ job to make everyone love their school. Don’t be afraid to ask pointed questions about the guides’ experience. Target students’ experiences: Why did you choose here? Where else did you apply? What are students complaining about? What’s one thing you’d like to change about this school? Do students have a strong voice on campus?How much time do you spend studying? What do you do on your down time?

Judy ZoddaFounder and PresidentZodda College Services

Make your College Visit Meaningful

People think that if they have taken the official tour and attended the information session, they have “visited” a college. There is so much more you can do, as you’ve just scratched the surface! On the tour, ask to see a dorm room. In admissions, try to schedule an interview with an admissions officer ahead of your scheduled visit. Also try to attend a class.Admissions can help you with this request. Go and have lunch in the cafeteria and ask to sit with a bunch of students. Tell them you are considering applying and you’d like to get information from their point of view. Ask a lot of questions, i.e. What do you do on weekends? What do you do on weeknights? How is the advising system? Are professors available to you? Is it difficult to find internships? How much time outside of class do you spend studying? Is there anything you don’t like about this school? Ask whatever you want!

Judy ZoddaFounder and PresidentZodda College Services

Make your College Visit Meaningful

People think that if they have taken the official tour and attended the information session, they have “visited” a college. There is so much more you can do, as you’ve just scratched the surface! On the tour, ask to see a dorm room. In admissions Try to schedule an interview with an admissions officer ahead of your scheduled visit and bring some questions to ask during the interview. Also try to attend a class. Admissions can help you with this request. Go and have lunch in the cafeteria and ask to sit with a bunch of students. Tell them you are considering applying and you’d like to get information from their point of view. Ask a lot of questions, i.e. What do you do on weekends? What do you do on weeknights? How is the advising system? Are professors available to you? Is it difficult to find internships? How helpful is the career office? After all, that’s why you’re going to college! How much time outside of class do you spend studying? Is there anything you don’t like about this school? Given the chance, would you choose to attend this school again? Ask whatever you want! Take a camera along with you and take pictures because after you;ve visited a lot of schools, they tend to run together. Finally, when you get into the car, write down what you liked and didn’t like about the school so it’s fresh in your mind! This will also help you answer the “why X” college essay, if it’s on their application!

Michelle AronoffGuidance Counselor

Go to open houses!

It is ALWAYS a good idea to attend campus tours and open houses. Most campuses will have campus tours available daily so you can fit it into your schedule. Holiday breaks are also a great time to visit some schools you are interested in that aren’t in your immediate area. When you go on tours and open houses its a good idea to bring a list of questions with you. That way you get all of the information you came there for and don’t forget or miss anything. Ask questions about residential life, campus safety, campus events/activities/clubs, athletics, specific questions about majors, etc. If the tour guide can’t answer the question, ask them if they can put you in touch with the person that can. Most importantly, pay attention to how you feel while you are there. Do you like the atmosphere? Can you picture yourself going to school there? Many times the tour guides are current students so they can tell you exactly what its like to attend that school.

Melissa GolliharCounselor

Campus Tours

When going on campus tours, in order to get the most out of the visit, it is critical to have a list of questions prepared before attending. It is important that the student and parents discuss what is important to them in regards to college needs. What academic, personal, career needs does the student find important that they believe their college should be able to provide assistance with? What needs do students have if they decide to live on campus? Also, be aware of how you feel on the campus you are touring. Do you feel safe? Does it feel like home? Do you feel welcomed, and so on.

James LundgrenPartnerCollege Planning Solutions

Campus Visits

I like for each person visiting to have their own Checklist and Q&A sheet. (Call or email for ours) All family members can share their perspectives when reviewing the visits back at home. A digital camera is always a good idea for recollection of which campus was which. Parents should leave their students (with a book to feign reading, while observing uninterrupted) in the cafeteria for about an hour to listen in on the surrounding conversations and soak up the atmosphere for future reflection. While their student is in the cafeteria, parents can go drive the off-campus perimeter of the college and look for local banks and/or credit unions, visit a local real estate office, and walk through the closest grocery store. How clean and safe are these areas? You may also ask Campus Security for a copy of their most recent Safety Report. (These are produced each year, by law.) Lastly, I like for all my students (and parents) to slowly drive through the student parking lots. I ask them to make note of the cars types and the bumper sticker messages; and then, ask themselves, “Would I be comfortable here?”

Susan HanflikEducational ConsultantSusan Hanflik and Associates

Know before you go…

The best tip I can give students is to do some research before arriving at a campus. I have everyone prepare a visit sheet which can be used on all visits, because everything starts to run together after the first few. Before you get there, know some basics about the school, the population, the location, strong programs and extracurriculars which may make a difference for you. Keeping good records makes it very easy to answer the “Why College X question” on your application. It also makes it easy to focus on the tour and the information session, and to have great questions for your interviews.

Nancy CaineDirector of College CounselingSt. Augustine High School

Nancy Caine

If you are visiting a college with your parents, take seperate tours whenever possible. This way you feel free to ask your own questions, and your parents don’t have to worry about embarassing you when asking theirs. After the tours, is a great opportunity to talk to each other and share information and impressions of the school. Make sure to always sign in with the admissions office (many colleges keep track of contacts), and in information sessions, don’t ask questions if the answers are easily found on the college’s web page. Do try to find out or get in contact with a member of the department in which you are majoring. If traveling a long distance, try to set up an interview on the same day.

Dr. SkarlisOwner/PresidentThe College Advisor of New York

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Evaluate the campus…Don’t just look at the pretty buildings. Notice what kinds of students the campus attracts. Are they interacting with faculty? Does the environment seem welcoming? Do the students look a lot like your friends? Ask at least 2 questions on the tour or information session…Ask about the majors you’re interested in, and try to meet with a faculty member in that department for at least 15 minutes. Engage in your visit and try to determine if this school will be a good fit for you based on a logical assessment – not your “gut feeling.” Also, record your thoughts when you get into the car immediately after the visit. Write down 5 or 6 pros and cons about each school. This will help you decide whether to apply at a later time.

Kenneth HutchinsonDirector of College Counseling

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

There is a contact card that admissions officers will fill out. You need to make sure that you fill that out because they will keep an online database of who has visited campus. In addition, you should write down the names of people you meet, names of buildings and memorable things on campus for 2 reasons. Reason 1.) After you have visited several schools, they all seem to look alike and your notes will help you distinguish the colleges. Reason 2.) Using the proper names of people, places and memorable moments from your visit will help you write a really outstanding college essay if in the event you end up applying to that school.

Nancy MilneOwnerMilne Collegiate Consulting

Campus Tours/Info Sessions

One of my favorite strategies when visiting schools is to follow the tour guide who I think is most like me. Even if they divide the group up, I don’t necessarily stick with my assignment. My favorite question to ask is: “If I was going to donate a large sum of money to the school, how would you like to see it used?” This is a polite way of saying, “So, what don’t you like about school ABC?” Try to ask this question of current students, faculty and staff as well. They may need a few moments to think about their answer, but responses can be very insightful.

Helen Cella

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Look at the schools website. Bring any questions you have with you. Take notes.

Jamie Reich

Campus Tours and Info sessions

When families visit several colleges, it is hard to remember specifics about each one. I suggest that my students take photos and keep a journal about what they liked and disliked for future conversation/consideration. Introducing oneself to the info session leader is a way for them to connect a name with a face, making it a more personal experience. Sending a thank you email to the session leader is a nicety, as well.

Nicholas Umphrey

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

If you go into a tour blind, you will limit what you get out of it. Research each school you tour and why you are interested in it. Ask questions during the tour, observe a class, speak to a professor in your discipline. This next tip, a parent of one of my students gave me and it is terrific. Go to a local student hangout, not a bar, but a coffee shop, pizza place, etc and look around at the students and how they interact with each other. If you can see yourself with this crowd, you will know whether it is a good fit.

Patricia AviezerPresidentInside Track To College, Inc.

Hitting The Road-The College Campus Tour

There’s nothing like being on campus to give you a sense of whether you will get the kind of 24/7 learning experience you are looking for in a college. Visiting as many college and university campuses as you can is the best way to learn which college is right for you. It’s never too early in high school to start. But go when students are there, summer time will only show you the buildings. Here are some questions that you might think about to help you discover which schools are the “best fit” for you. • Do I want to be near a city or in a rural setting? • How far away from home seems comfortable-what do my parents think is comfortable? • Do I want a small or huge campus population? • What university offers the academic programs that I’m interested in? Now that you’ve decided to explore your options, Campus Visiting does take some organization to maximize your experience. • Make a list of the colleges you think you’d like to explore, then map them. • You can usually see 2-3 colleges in an extended weekend if they are within 5-7 hours of your home, or if flying, each other.Plan to start your travel on a Thursday night, college tours are not available on Sundays. Book your hotel well in advance, many colleges have Open Houses or Parents’ Weekends and you can find that there isn’t a room to be had. The admission’s office can help you locate a place to stay. • Amtrack has discounts for college visitation and some airlines do to. • Call ahead to schedule a student guided tour. Tours are important since you’ll be able to ask questions of your tour guide while seeing most of the campus. • If you’re a senior and this college requires an interview, schedule a tour and interview at the same visit. • Do your research-read everything that is public knowledge about the college and take notes-outstanding programs, faculty-student ratio, educational mission, sports teams, study abroad programs-everything! • If you’re interested in a particular department, ask the admission’s office if they can schedule a meeting with the department chair while you’re there. When the Weekend Arrives-Here are some TIPS Arrive early and drive around the town, does it look interesting? Safe? Make up a standard list of questions to ask the Tour Guide or during the informational session in advance, this will help you compare all of your colleges using the same criteria: • What is the typical class size? • How many of your classes were taught by teaching assistants? • Are the professors accessible to the students, only during office hours or in casual dining room centers? • Are there support centers for assistance with papers, or are tutors available? Is there a charge? • Is housing guaranteed all four years? Deadlines for securing a dorm room? • Are dorms co-ed, by room, floor, wing? What about the bathrooms-are they co-ed? • Are there fraternities and sororities? What percentage of the student body gets involved? • Ask your Tour Guide some specific questions: How challenging are the academics? How safe is the campus? What is the quality of the faculty advising? Do students remain on campus on the weekends? Can freshman have cars on campus? What professors are known as outstanding regardless of a student’s major? After the Visit-remember to write a thank you note: to the Admissions Counselor who spent time with you, to the tour guide and to that Department Chair who stayed on campus that weekend just to meet with you. Finally, file your notes in that college’s folder so that when you go to make comparisons and finalize your college list, you’ll be able to relive your college visit accurately.

Patricia AviezerPresidentInside Track To College, Inc.

Hitting The Road-The College Campus Tour

There’s nothing like being on campus to give you a sense of whether you will get the kind of 24/7 learning experience you are looking for in a college. Visiting as many college and university campuses as you can is the best way to learn which college is right for you. It’s never too early in high school to start. But go when students are there, summer time will only show you the buildings. Here are some questions that you might think about to help you discover which schools are the “best fit” for you. • Do I want to be near a city or in a rural setting? • How far away from home seems comfortable-what do my parents think is comfortable? • Do I want a small or huge campus population? • What university offers the academic programs that I’m interested in? Now that you’ve decided to explore your options, Campus Visiting does take some organization to maximize your experience. • Make a list of the colleges you think you’d like to explore, then map them. • You can usually see 2-3 colleges in an extended weekend if they are within 5-7 hours of your home, or if flying, each other.Plan to start your travel on a Thursday night, college tours are not available on Sundays. Book your hotel well in advance, many colleges have Open Houses or Parents’ Weekends and you can find that there isn’t a room to be had. The admission’s office can help you locate a place to stay. • Amtrack has discounts for college visitation and some airlines do to. • Call ahead to schedule a student guided tour. Tours are important since you’ll be able to ask questions of your tour guide while seeing most of the campus. • If you’re a senior and this college requires an interview, schedule a tour and interview at the same visit. • Do your research-read everything that is public knowledge about the college and take notes-outstanding programs, faculty-student ratio, educational mission, sports teams, study abroad programs-everything! • If you’re interested in a particular department, ask the admission’s office if they can schedule a meeting with the department chair while you’re there. When the Weekend Arrives-Here are some TIPS Arrive early and drive around the town, does it look interesting? Safe? Make up a standard list of questions to ask the Tour Guide or during the informational session in advance, this will help you compare all of your colleges using the same criteria: • What is the typical class size? • How many of your classes were taught by teaching assistants? • Are the professors accessible to the students, only during office hours or in casual dining room centers? • Are there support centers for assistance with papers, or are tutors available? Is there a charge? • Is housing guaranteed all four years? Deadlines for securing a dorm room? • Are dorms co-ed, by room, floor, wing? What about the bathrooms-are they co-ed? • Are there fraternities and sororities? What percentage of the student body gets involved? • Ask your Tour Guide some specific questions: How challenging are the academics? How safe is the campus? What is the quality of the faculty advising? Do students remain on campus on the weekends? Can freshman have cars on campus? What professors are known as outstanding regardless of a student’s major? After the Visit-remember to write a thank you note: to the Admissions Counselor who spent time with you, to the tour guide and to that Department Chair who stayed on campus that weekend just to meet with you. Finally, file your notes in that college’s folder so that when you go to make comparisons and finalize your college list, you’ll be able to relive your college visit accurately.

Sue Luse

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Leave time to wonder around on your own, eat in the dining hall, and talk with students.

Karen Ekman-BaurDirector of College CounselingLeysin American School

Campus Tours and Information Sessions

I believe that the best way to get the most out of campus tours and information sessions is to research the school ahead of time so that you know as much as possible about the school environment and its offerings before you get there. Listen carefully during the tour and the info sessions, and be ready to ask well-considered questions. (Try not to ask a question that has just been answered in the presentation.) Don’t leave the college without finding out what you want to know; someone will be able to give you the answer.

Tyler BurtonPresident Burton College Tours

Bring a notebook & an open mind

It is important to take notes on key points that will help you identify the elements of fit. When I take students on a Burton College Tour they all have a field guide with a campus profile and a blank assessment for each school they visit. Students should take notes during info sessions and take time to reflect on their campus tour as soon as the tour is over. I caution students to write their personal reflections before sharing with others. Reflections are key and will allow students to compare and contrast the schools they visit. The notes will also be useful if a supplemental application question asks why a student would like to attend. Remember that once you are on campus go beyond the tour and info session to truly connect on campus.

Annie ReznikCounselor/CEOCollege Guidance Coach

3 Ways to Get More Out of College Visit

1. Ask specific questions. Don’t throw your guide softballs like, “So, what are your most popular majors?” Instead, ask questions that will produce unique responses. Try asking, “What are some of your unique on campus traditions?” or “What’s your favorite thing to eat in the dining hall?” or “What type of student wouldn’t fit in here?” 2. Visit a class. The percentage of tour time spent on academics is paltry. But, academics are the point. Just because the website doesn’t advertise it, you can sit in on a class at almost any college that you visit. Before you visit, read through course descriptions. If something sparks your interest, contact the professor yourself and set up a time to sit in on the class. Or, visit a “signature” required course like Reed College’s Humanities 110. 3. Spend time on campus off the tour route. At most colleges, the tour showcases the best a school has to offer in under an hour. But, taking time to walk around areas off the route may help you to learn about the nuances of an institution. If you are able to see the entire campus on tour, go “off route” by people watching in the student center for 15 or 20 minutes. Overhearing student conversations, viewing the bulletin board announcements, and entrenching yourself in the culture of a school will help reveal distinguishing characteristics of any institution.

Helese Sandler

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Takes notes, ask many questions, eat lunch in the cafeteria, talk to students,

Helese Sandler

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Take notes, ask many questions, eat lunch in the cafeteria, talk to students. Try and meet the counselor from your region if available.

Alan SheptinOwnerSheptin Tutoring Group, LLC

Alan Sheptin, Sheptin Tutoring Group

Before leaving for the college, be sure to do your research! Use the school’s website, books such as Fiske and Barrons, and websites such as YouTube, unigo, etc., to view the school, hear student opinion and find out the latest happenings on campus. Even though you may be meeting an admissions officer and a student ambassador (who gives the tour and may be present at the info session), try to connect with an alum from your local high school, so that you can find out about the school from a local’s perspective. S/he may be able to provide you with information, such as which high school courses to take to help you be better prepared, etc. At the info session, I like to ask about how the admissions staff reconstructs a GPA. Every high school has its own grading method and technique for weighting honors, AP, or extended classes. So you need to find that out. Also, some schools may not necessarily include music and art courses as part of the GPA. Like this, you can reconstruct your GPA to see where you stand, academically. Take note of key phrases that the admissions officers use. Is the essay vital to them? Are interviews evaluative (that means you must wow them!) or merely informative? WHen taking the tour, I always ask the student why s/he chose the school and what s/he likes and does not like about it. If the student says that everything is great, it’s not the truth. I also observe the campus: what do the kids look like? Do they look like my kid? Can I see my child fitting in? What condition are the dorms in? HOw about the campus facilities? While I don’t expect to see Walt DIsney World, I do expect to see a well-maintained, clean campus. I also suggest to families that the child and the parents should go on separate tours, if possible. In this way, the parent can evaluate the school independently from the child. Then they can talk about their tour and experiences afterward.

Melanie RomeCollege Admissions CounselorMelanie Rome, College Admissions Counselor

Booklet To Take With You on Campus Visits

http://nsse.iub.edu/pdf/NSSE_PocketGuide.pdf This booklet, “A Pocket Guide to Choosing a College-Questions to Ask on Your College Visits” (which you can download), was written by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), an organization that helps students make colleges choices based on certain criteria that is different from what other organizations or media use that attempt to rank colleges.

Cheri BaradEducation ConsultantBarad Education Consulting

Be prepared!

Campus tours and visits should be arranged/scheduled. Don’t expect the college will be receptive to you just ‘dropping in.’ Almost all schools list their visit schedules and most have a reservation system right at their website. Registering for a tour also adds your name to the school mailing list, which is helpful if you are looking for more information. Be prepared when you visit campus, do your homework, research things about the school, it will make your tour more personal and valuable. If the tour does not include things like a loop around the student center or dining hall, after the tour take the time to go on your own. It is advisable to have a snack or something to eat prior to the tour. There is nothing more miserable than being hungry during the tour, your mind will not be on the visit. Ask questions of your tour guide. If your questions aren’t answered, don’t hesitate to contact someone in admissions after the visit. Most tours end at admissions, therefore, you could go in and ask a counselor on duty or get a business card and email them your questions once you return home.

Laura O’Brien GatzionisFounderEducational Advisory Services

Campus Tours are best when school is in session

As far as the campus tour is concerned, try to go when classes are in session and talk to students around campus. Look at the bulletin boards to get a feel for the campus culture. Notice if the buildings and grounds are in good condition. Take photos and make notes because if you are on a tour of several schools you might not remember details when you return home. At the end of the information session, ask questions. Which of the application components are considered the most important? Does the college have a lot of applicants from your geographic area? Are optional questions on the application really optional?

Helen H. ChoiOwnerAdmissions Mavens

An Open Mind

You might attend some tours with a lot of knowledge about the school beforehand and you might attend others without too much knowledge about the institution. Either way — try to go with an open mind. Try not to let others’ perceptions and opinions about a school cloud YOUR feelings about the place. You might be surprised at the things that appeal to you and the things that don’t. And try not to be too stressed out as you visit colleges and attend informational sessions. You are just gathering information and facts — not committing to four years!

Erin AveryCertified Educational PlannerAvery Educational Resources, LLC

The Squeeky Wheel and the Empty Barrel

I’ve taken thousands of campus tours and listened to countless information sessions over the last decade as part of my educational consulting practice resulting in my attaining the title Certified Educational Panner. There is nothing that excited me more than exploring a campus I have not seen! The critical question for me is how to draw back the curtain and see behind the glossy photos and snappy PowerPoint presentations. That said, before I offer my “Dos” please abide by my “Do Nots”. Please do not be the “empty barrel” who makes the most noise at the info session. We know you are only speaking to either hear yourself speak or to attempt to make an impression (which is seldom positive in this venue.) instead, nurture that relationship with your admission counselor with follow up emails with thoughtful content and enthusiasm. No gimmics please. Also, avoid being the “squeaky wheel” on campus tours. You may think you are “getting the grease” but really if you attempt to monopolize the tour guide with private dialogue, the rest of the group suffers. I advise that for a truly efficacious campus visit, be uninhibited with the “unscripted” folks: leave your parents at arm’s length and sit in the dining hall. Approach current students with questions such as “Are you happy you decided to come here?” “What would you change about your college is you were given a million dollars.” “How easy/difficult is it to register for the classes you want?” “Is it cool to be smart here?” If you are willing to make yourself vulnerable and ask around, you will truly reap the benefits of time well spent.

Laurie Nash

Campus tours and info sessions

I encourage students to keep one notebook in which to take notes during and after the visit. Information given at the info session will help students write the answer to the “why” questions. After the tour and the info session, write down your feelings about the school….what you like and what you don’t like. It will keep the experience fresh in your mind because after a while, the schools will blend.

David AllenManaging DirectorGlobal College Counselors Ltd

Tips

Take lots of photos, if you are doing a tour it helps to remember the place and also acts as a memory jogger for what you were being told at the time; think of one or two questions and ask the same one at each college you visit to be able to compare the answers – make sure it’s a question relevant to you, not your parents. If you can, do a different tour from Mum and Dad – they have a whole different set of questions they need to hear the answers to. Only ask at the info session a question that you can’t get on the webiste – do your homework before you get there – good questions are memorable to the admissions counselors.

Kristina DooleyIndependent Educational ConsultantEstrela Consulting

That kid in the food court…

Some of the best sources of information on a college campus are students who are NOT campus tour guides. Though the thought of prospective families mingling with random, unpaid, possibly unhappy students might make the Admission Office cringe, you can absolutely gain some valuable insight into a campus by doing just that during your visit. One word of warning: Remember that each student you chat with is just ONE part of the campus puzzle and that their experiences and opinions aren’t necessarily those of the larger population. That being said, it’s not a bad idea to hear a few of the grumblings about “Pristine U” every now and then to keep things in perspective.

Sandy McMasterCollege Admissions ConsultantMy College Hunt, LLC

How to Make Your College Visit Count

– Ask your student tour guide questions about student life, academics, campus culture, etc. – Notice the campus facilities: buildings, dorms, library, cafeteria, location, surrounding town/city, transportation – Snag a copy of the student newspaper. Here’s a chance to get beyond the Admissions Office’s marketing hype. – Eat in the cafeteria or in town. Check out the students and listen to what they talk about. – Picture yourself as a student on that campus. How comfortable do you feel? – After your visit, write down your impressions of the college, noting pros and cons. After a few visits, details start to blur, so get your thoughts down while they are fresh.

Nancy MilneOwnerMilne Collegiate Consulting

Campus Tours/Info Sessions

One of my favorite strategies when visiting schools is to follow the tour guide who I think is most like me. Even if they divide the group up, I don’t necessarily stick with my assignment. My favorite question to ask is: “If I was going to donate a large sum of money to the school, how would you like to see it used?” This is a polite way of saying, “So, what don’t you like about school ABC?” Try to ask this question of current students, faculty and staff as well. They may need a few moments to think about their answer, but responses can be very insightful.

Dr. Bruce NeimeyerCEO/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Be prepared….

I think it is difficult for a family to know what to do for a college visit if they have never really experienced one. I tend to prep my families to do their homework and I give them a spreadsheet of important questions to ask based on my years of experience in the field. However, even with this guidance some families will still show up unprepared and realize their mistake a little too late. If you tend to operate like this, then I suggest that you go on a campus visit to a local university. Experience the day and make note of all the things you hear and want to know more about. This way if you make a mistake and feel you didn’t do enough homework before your visit, you can always go back easily and get those questions answered. Now that you have experienced such a visit, you can more easily make a list of everything that is important for you and your parents to understand and to gather about the college or university when you visit. See what information you can find on the schools website to answer your questions prior to the visit. If it is unclear, get that information clarified when you visit. If it is clear but requires you to experience it like how good the cafeteria food tastes…then make a point to do that while on campus. You should not treat your visit to campus any differently than your investigation into a new cell phone or any other purchase that you make. Most of us tend to go online, compare, read reviews, and think about what is most important for us. Why would you treat a potential $100,000 investment any differently than your next cell phone or iPad purchase? This early preparation should also allow you some time to just enjoy the day and take in the culture of the campus. You should allow yourself to have some fun while visiting right? Beyond this advice, I suggest that you make sure you speak with an informed admissions counselor about any specific questions you have. Also, if you have the courage, stop a random student on campus and ask them about their experience. Take their comments with a grain of salt because it is random…. Pick up the student newspaper to understand what the student hot buttons are at the moment. Observe what is happening in the hallways, on the sidewalks, in the classrooms. You heard all the propaganda and now you need to do some people watching to see if it is true. If you follow this simple advice, I believe you will be satisfied with the visit that you make. Remember, you should visit prior to applying to a school and I recommend a return visit prior to making your final decision. You are going to live there for four or more years so make the effort now to choose wisely!

Dr. Bruce NeimeyerCEO/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Be prepared….

I think it is difficult for a family to know what to do for a college visit if they have never really experienced one. I tend to prep my families to do their homework and I give them a spreadsheet of important questions to ask based on my years of experience in the field. However, even with this guidance some families will still show up unprepared and realize their mistake a little too late. If you tend to operate like this, then I suggest that you go on a campus visit to a local university. Experience the day and make note of all the things you hear and want to know more about. This way if you make a mistake and feel you didn’t do enough homework before your visit, you can always go back easily and get those questions answered. Now that you have experienced such a visit, you can more easily make a list of everything that is important for you and your parents to understand and to gather about the college or university when you visit. See what information you can find on the schools website to answer your questions prior to the visit. If it is unclear, get that information clarified when you visit. If it is clear but requires you to experience it like how good the cafeteria food tastes…then make a point to do that while on campus. You should not treat your visit to campus any differently than your investigation into a new cell phone or any other purchase that you make. Most of us tend to go online, compare, read reviews, and think about what is most important for us. Why would you treat a potential $100,000 investment any differently than your next cell phone or iPad purchase? This early preparation should also allow you some time to just enjoy the day and take in the culture of the campus. You should allow yourself to have some fun while visiting right? Beyond this advice, I suggest that you make sure you speak with an informed admissions counselor about any specific questions you have. Also, if you have the courage, stop a random student on campus and ask them about their experience. Take their comments with a grain of salt because it is random…. Pick up the student newspaper to understand what the student hot buttons are at the moment. Observe what is happening in the hallways, on the sidewalks, in the classrooms. You heard all the propaganda and now you need to do some people watching to see if it is true. If you follow this simple advice, I believe you will be satisfied with the visit that you make. Remember, you should visit prior to applying to a school and I recommend a return visit prior to making your final decision. You are going to live there for four or more years so make the effort now to choose wisely!

Sue Moore

Think ahead

Before you attend information sessions or campus tours, figure out what is important to you in a school and do some research on the school of interest. You want to have a pretty good idea of 1) what you are looking for in a school and 2) some of the basic information about the school. Don’t waste people’s time by asking if they have XYZ major when it is easy to find that information on the school website. Once you have a basic idea of what you are looking for in a school, create a standard set of questions. You want to ask the same (or very close to the same) questions at each school so you can be comparing apples to apples instead of oranges. Other basics – ask to see the housing and eat a meal in the dining hall. Go on the standard tour, but also wander around on your own. Feel free to ask random students some questions – what are your favorite and least favorite things about the school? and so on. Take notes – or if possible have someone else take notes for you while you soak it all in. Most of all, once you are on the campus see how it feels to you. This could very well be your home for 4 years. You want a “Wow, this feels like home” feeling, not a “Yeah, I guess this will work” feeling.

Mark CorkeryHead College CounselorInternational College Admissions Network (I-CAN)

Ask Good Questions!

As an admission presenter at Boston University, I always hated it when a student asked questions that they themselves could find the answers to on their own with a little research. I always recommend making reservations ahead of time if possible as college tours have become quite popular. Be sure to sign in when you get there as this is logged in and connected to your application on most occasions when/if you apply. This can help you get in as colleges today are looking for the predictability that you would actually go there for your first year. Try to get a one on one interview with an admission rep. This often is not possible.but ask for one anyway. You can have an informational or evaluative interview. Informational means that there is no write up from the campus rep and will usually have no bearing on your admission application. Evaluative means that the interview will have a bearing on your admission to a certain degree. If you cannot get an interview with admission, then pick a professor or academic advisor with whom you can meet. This will give you background information on the campus which you can address when you write the “why do you want to go here” essay.

Glenda DuranoOwnerCollege Advising and Planning Services

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Before you visit a school, research it thoroughly. In addition to researching a school, however, know enough about yourself to know what you are looking for. What do you need in order to thrive? How do you learn best? How do make decisions? What opportunities do you need? If you have time after the tour and information session, hang around and speak to the students on campus–not the tour guides. Find out what why they chose the school and what they love the most as well as what they don’t like. Ask about practical matters such as availability of professors, hands-on opportunities, graduation rates,class availability, and job placement rates. If possible, have a one-on-one dialogue with an admissions officer, but come prepared. Visiting a school is the most important factor in determining whether or not a school is a good fit, but in order to make the most of your time, come prepared and come with curiosity.

Janet RosierPresidentJanet Rosier’s Educational Resources

Make Your Trip Worthwhile

College Tours are a great way to get a real sense of the campus and its culture. The best time to do this is when the college is in session and the students are on campus Attend the information talk that the admissions offices give and take the campus tour. Ask questions of your tour guide and then, after the guided tour, take one on your own. Visit the student center and see what kinds of clubs and activities are popular on campus. Get a copy of the school newspaper and find out what the controversial issues or hot topics are. Don’t be shy about asking questions of students you meet–it has been my experience that students are happy to talk about their college experiences. Use this campus visit wisely–if you have a learning difference and expect to use accommodations, make an appointment to see the Office of Disability Service. You will get an idea of what accommodations they can provide, see how well the office runs and get a feel for how user friendly they are. If you play a sport, make an appointment to see the coach. Eat in the cafeteria so you can sample the food and also see how the students interact. If you are seeing more than one campus a day or several in a week, take good notes or the details may get forgotten!

IRMA TORRES

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

WHEN YOU ARE GETTING A COLLEGE TOUR TRY TO GET TO SEE THEIR TECHNOLOGICAL CENTER, THEIR LIBRARY AND COMUNICATE WITH THEIR COUNSELORS. ALSO GO ONLINE AND FIND WHAT TYPE OF CREDENTIALS AND VALIDATIONS THEY HAVE.

Roland Allen

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Be sure to go online and read about campus visits before showing up on campus. Most colleges have scheduled tours and information sessions. Be sure to check dates, hours, and find out if a reservation is necessary. Sometimes it’s helpful to ask the admissions office if it’s possible for you to talk who can tell you about areas of special interest to you, such as atheltics, the arts or an academic major. Meeting with someone who is a specialist – beyond that of the admissions counselor – can help you differentiate between colleges, and better make a match. Keep in mind that doing this type of in-depth visiting takes time. However, it may be worth doing so, particularly if you’re traveling to get to the college. I encourage my students to talk to me before scheduling visits, especially if travel is required, because I’m able to suggest travel time between campuses. I recommend that you talk to your college counselors about suggestions for scheduling travel.

Roland Allen

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Be sure to go online and read about campus visits before showing up on campus. Most colleges have scheduled tours and information sessions. Be sure to check dates, hours, and find out if a reservation is necessary. Sometimes it’s helpful to ask the admissions office if it’s possible for you to talk who can tell you about areas of special interest to you, such as atheltics, the arts or an academic major. Meeting with someone who is a specialist – beyond that of the admissions counselor – can help you differentiate between colleges, and better make a match. Keep in mind that doing this type of in-depth visiting takes time. However, it may be worth doing so, particularly if you’re traveling to get to the college. I encourage my students to talk to me before scheduling visits, especially if travel is required, because I’m able to suggest travel time between campuses. I recommend that you talk to your college counselors about suggestions for scheduling travel.

Roland Allen

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Be sure to go online and read about campus visits before showing up on campus. Most colleges have scheduled tours and information sessions. Be sure to check dates, hours, and find out if a reservation is necessary. Sometimes it’s helpful to ask the admissions office if it’s possible for you to talk who can tell you about areas of special interest to you, such as atheltics, the arts or an academic major. Meeting with someone who is a specialist – beyond that of the admissions counselor – can help you differentiate between colleges, and better make a match. Keep in mind that doing this type of in-depth visiting takes time. However, it may be worth doing so, particularly if you’re traveling to get to the college. I encourage my students to talk to me before scheduling visits, especially if travel is required, because I’m able to suggest travel time between campuses. I recommend that you talk to your college counselors about suggestions for scheduling travel.

Susan Knoppow

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Turn your phone to silent. Only use it to take notes or photos of the tour. It’s okay to tweet a photo with a hashtag of the university, but don’t chat with your friends while on the tour. They can wait. Your job is to listen to the person giving the tour, and ask good questions.

Andrew BelascoCEOCollege Transitions LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Upon scheduling your campus visit, inquire about opportunities to speak with admissions reps, sit in on classes, meet with faculty, talk with current students, and if possible, partake in an overnight experience. It’s important that you take advantage of as many opportunities as possible during your visit, so that you’re able to determine if the college is truly right for you. If you are granted an admissions interview during your visit, come prepared. Be sure to obtain a copy of your transcript, student activities resume, and standardized test scores (if applicable). This information will enable your admissions representative to realistically assess your chances for admission, as well as offer advice on how to improve your application. Also be prepared to discuss your courses, extracurricular experiences, and reasons for applying to the college (be specific). Finally, come with several questions that will enable you to learn more about the college and simultaneously demonstrate to an admissions rep that you have done your college research.

Judy ZoddaFounder and PresidentZodda College Services

Make your College Visit Meaningful

You’ve arrived on campus and you’re ready for your visit to begin. You find the Admissions office and you’re there on time. Be sure to sign in and make sure that you, do it, not your Mom or Dad. If you don’t sign in, the college might not know you’ve visited! People think that if they have taken the official tour and attended the information session, they have “visited” a college. There is so much more you can do, as you’ve just scratched the surface! On the tour, 1) Ask to see a freshman dorm room. 2) Take pictures, so you remember the school! In Admissions, 3) Ask the tour guide what he/she has liked the best and the least 4) Schedule an interview with an admissions officer ahead of your scheduled visit and bring some questions to ask during the interview. 5) Try to attend a class. Admissions can help you with this request. 6) Go and have lunch in the cafeteria and some current students if you can sit with them and ask questions.Tell them you are considering applying and you’d like to get information from their point of view. Ask a lot of questions, i.e. What do you do on weekends? What do you do on weeknights? How is the advising system? Are professors available to you? Is it difficult to find internships? How helpful is the career office? How much time outside of class do you spend studying? Is there anything you don’t like about this school? Given the chance, would you choose to attend this school again? Ask whatever you want! 7) Get an appointment with a professor in a department or major that you are interested in. Admissions can help you set up the appointment. Bring questions to ask that aren’t available on the website. 8) Finally, when you get into the car, write down what you liked and didn’t like about the school so it’s fresh in your mind! This will also help you answer the “why X” college essay, if it’s on their application!

Joseph II

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Make sure that you ask all the necessary questions when looking for the right schools, do not take no for an answer when wanting to visit certain areas of a schools cmapus. Ask for a student guide when touring, this will help to ensure that you get a good feel from someone with firsthand experience as to what the atomosphere and environment is like at that particular campusl.

Ellen [email protected]OwnerEllen Richards Admissions Consulting

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Ask questions that no one else asks! Request to see a typical dorm room (often the tour guide will be open to showing their own room a friend who lives in a dorm on the tour route). Plan ahead. Make sure that you have some familiarity with the college and what things you want to investigate or ask more about. Students should have a very distinct idea of what the school offers and what they want out of the college experience. Students should keep in mind contact with a representative of the college counts. Most colleges keep track of the interactions with prospective students. “Demonstrated interest” plays a substantial role in college admissions. Therefore, whenever speaking with anyone representing the admissions office or connecting in any way in the admissions office, students should make sure they are enthusiastic about the school and asking intelligent questions. And always make sure to not questions that are in the guide book or on the website. Next thing would be to, if, possible have an overnight stay at the school because that will give you a really clear idea of what it means to attend the school which helps a lot. Because that way, you can decide whether or student can decide whether or not they can see themselves attending that school. Another thing is that the student should avoid allowing the tour guide, themselves, or the personality of the tour guide to influence their decision to apply to a specific college because many times at some schools you’ll hear or too often students will comeback from a campus tour and not have had a good experience because of the particular tour guide. However, sometimes they need to look beyond the tour guide and look deeper into the school which is why an overnight visit and meeting as many people as possible is always a great idea as well as attending a class. Attending a class is always an excellent idea, most colleges have a list of classes that are available for students to attend and students can choose when they get to the school which one they would like to attend, and that’s a great way to see what academically what it would be like. Next would be the parents should be in the background, not in the forefront and allow their child to or give their child the freedom to explore the campus on their own and without intervention or bias from the parents because ultimately it’s the student that will be spending the next four years at that college. Next, whenever possible, a student should try to have a scheduled interview and on-campus interview. Since, on-campus interview it seem to hold more weight or they seem to carry more influence than the alumni interviews that students can do within their hometown. If, a school does not offer interviews then students should contact the department that they are most excited of. Contact the director of that department, set-up a meeting to meet with that person and talk to them about their passion for that particular subject. They should try to make arrangements to talk with someone in the admissions office at some point while they are in the campus, to try to get themselves noticed. So that, in that way they can bypass the fact that the school doesn’t offer interviews and still kind of have a conversation with someone who will keep track of what they say. The last thing, the students should also research campus groups that they might be interested in joining and find out if they have any club activities or meetings or anything while the students are on campus especially when they are doing an overnight, in this way the students can see what goes on with the meetings and how, whether it peaks their interests and pretty much explore just as much as they possibly can.

Katie MacConnellHigh School CounselorSchool District of Philadelphia

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

If you look on college planning websites or talk to your counselor, there are a lot of worksheets that help you get the most out of college tours. They list typical questions that students want answers to. Don’t be afraid to ask anything! You should spend some time on the school’s website before going, and plan some questions of your own. Make sure you see the classrooms and the dorms, eat the food, ask about activities, ask about having a car or public transportation.

Deborah HellerDirector of College CounselingBeacon School

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Do your homework before you show up on campus. Are there specific programs you have questions about? Is it important that you are able to meet with someone from the department you are applying to? Does the campus offer overnight stays in the dorms? The info session is typically led by an admissions officer – so ask all of your admissions questions here! What percent of students are admitted ED/EA? What are the most desirable majors (aka might be more difficult to get in applying with this major). Are there any majors that you can’t transfer into later? Are there any plans for construction or new buildings happening in the next 5 years? (these may affect you on campus!!), Are any new majors starting up this year (these may be easier to get into!) The campus tour is usually led by a current junior or senior – ask all of your campus culture and academic questions here! Keep in mind that the student may not be in your major or know anything about the club you so want to join, but they should be able to tell you what students typically do on a weekend, whether they are around or typically head home. Do they have on campus parties? Do they mostly go to events? Head into the city? How is acclimating freshman year? What is the orientation process like? Are first year classes really large? Are professors easy to talk to? If you feel you know enough about the school that you would be ready to do an interview when you visit the college set that up ahead of time. Make sure to have at least two questions on hand to ask the interviewer – with answers that are NOT readily available on the school’s website. For example – what are the largest community issues on campus? What majors are the most difficult to get into (if any)? What are the best adjectives you can think of to describe the typical student at this school? What are some of the most popular clubs on campus? Whenever possible write down all of your questions ahead of time and try to keep a notebook with all of your college visits together. This info is great to look back on if you have an interview later or are asked on a supplement why you want to go to the school. Campus visits usually provide you with very specific info about the school you won’t be able to just look up later.

Carolyn FrancisFounder

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Hopefully your college tour will be conducted by a student, which is a critical component to taking a campus tour. What kind of students go there? Are they enthusiastic? Brainy? Sporty? And while it is important not to pigeon hole a school by one student, it can tell you a lot. The other thing to look for is how do the students interact on campus? Are they sitting together in groups? Are there groups of 2 or 3? Are people mostly alone? Take stock of this as it can tell you a lot about a campus. One of my favorite things to do on a college tour is ask one or two students to describe the school in 3 words. It is always very eye opening and gives you a quick snapshot of how the school is perceived by those going there. Lastly, connect with your regional rep while there. You may or may not have an interview at the time, but it doesn’t hurt to pop your head in and introduce yourself. Having contact with your rep is a key element to a successful admissions outcome. I always tell my students to have 3 or more points of contact with your admission’s rep as it demonstrates your interest in the school.

Mary O’MalleyIndependent School CounselorMary O’Malley

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions. Current students and admission counselors what to help you get the correct information about their school to help you determine if it is the right fit for you. They will give honest answers so that you have information to decide if it is a good fit.

Mary O’MalleyIndependent School CounselorMary O’Malley

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions. Current students and admission counselors what to help you get the correct information about their school to help you determine if it is the right fit for you. They will give honest answers so that you have information to decide if it is a good fit.

Debra

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Research the college before you go so that you already have the basic information. That way you can listen for and ask about more in-depth information. Take notes during or right after the visit. It is so easy to forget things or get information from several different colleges mixed up in your memory! Keep the 5 or so attributes you are looking for in mind during your visit and rank the college in each of those areas after the visit. 1– not so good to 5 — excellent!

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Take some time to write down what is most important to you in regards to choosing a college. Write down any questions you want to ask. Spend some time on the college’s website. Dress appropriately and comfortably.

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Take some time to write down what is most important to you in regards to choosing a college. Write down any questions you want to ask. Spend some time on the college’s website. Dress appropriately and comfortably.

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Take some time to write down what is most important to you in regards to choosing a college. Write down any questions you want to ask. Spend some time on the college’s website. Dress appropriately and comfortably.

Jon Semcer

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

All college tours are run by the admission office and the tour guides work for the admissions. I would offer the following tips for you: 1. Ask the tour ask the student why they decided on this campus? 2. Ask the guide where else did they apply? 3. Go and eat in the student union and sample the food, get a copy of the school newspaper ( read about the issues on campus) and ask students what they like and do not like about the school. 4. Before you go on the tour be sure to have called the financial aid office to set up an appointment. 5. Schedule an interview if one is strongly recommended. Follow up with thank you note. 6. Take pictures ( the more schools you visit the more they tend to look alike ) For the info session I would arrive early and get seats down in front. if you could only ask one question it should be : Can you explain how the admission process works on your campus from the time the application is received and up to the time a letter is mailed— I am very interested how the application is evaluated and how many staff members are involved with each application. Take notes on each speaker and be sure to introduce yourself after the session and get the business card of either your area rep or the director. Be sure you had called ahead to registered. At small schools you might have to do this and at larger schools perhaps not. Enjoy both experiences and make the most of your time on campus.

Candyce Simpson

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

If possible bring questions with you. Ask any question that come to mind. Introduce yourself to the guides and admissions representative Take in the scenery as well as the information being given. Take the tour while school in in session. Watch the student interaction. See if you can sit in on a class. See where you may be living and eating. After the guided tour take a tour on your own and ask questions of the students you meet along the way.

Marissa MargosianCollege Counselor

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

• Take notes and pictures! You think you’ll remember . . . but you won’t. This is especially important if you’re visiting several schools in a short period of time. As soon as possible after visiting, make a pro-con list and take a few notes about your gut feeling. • Pick up a copy of the newspaper and read the editorials. What are students upset about? • Look at the fliers on the bulletin boards. What’s being advertised? Are you interested in these activities, events, or topics? • Visit the dining hall during the lunch or dinner rush. How hard will it be/how long will it take to get food? Is there enough variety that you’ll be happy? • If the tour doesn’t go into a freshman dorm, ask to see one. These are usually the worst dorms on campus; if you can live here for a year, it’s only going to get better. • Ask the admissions rep lots of specific information: do they superscore the SAT or ACT? Will you be automatically considered for scholarships or do you need a separate application? Is there a priority deadline for scholarships? Are you guaranteed housing? What specific distribution requirements will you need to take, and how much flexibility do you have with them? • Your tour guide is your best resource for insight into the college. The student probably loves talking about the school. Pick the student’s brain! o Ask open ended questions of the tour guide: o Instead of “Is the food good?” ask, “What is your favorite and least favorite thing about the food?” or “What meal does everyone rush over to get?” o Instead of “How big are the classes?” ask “How many students have been in the biggest and smallest classes you’ve taken?” o Instead of “Do you like the classes?” ask “What’s the best/most unusual class you’ve taken?” and “What types of classes did you take for your distribution requirements? What did you like about them? Did you have some choice?” o Ask what he or she wishes she had been told about the school before coming. o Ask what he or she would improve or change about the school if money were no object. o Does he or she know anyone who has transferred? Why did these people leave? o Is Greek Life a big thing? Do you have to be part of Greek Life to feel included on campus? o When was the last time he or she knew of someone who needed to use the Blue Security Lights?

Andrew BelascoCEOCollege Transitions LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Every year, thousands of otherwise intelligent and prudent high school seniors lose their cool and fall prey to the college admissions rat race. They frantically apply to the “best” schools, without ever taking time to find the right college. Between registering for standardized tests, writing essays, and completing college applications, they forget to focus upon a part of the college admissions process that is crucial to ensuring their postsecondary happiness and success–the campus visit. Campus visits allow college-bound students to experience first-hand the offerings of a particularly college, and come to informed decisions as to whether or not each of their target schools is truly a good fit. This fall is an ideal time to visit the schools on your college radar; students have returned, class is in session, and the weather is still mild throughout much of the country. If you can find the time and opportunity to plan a visit, be sure to follow these five simple rules: 1. Schedule early. Campus-based tours and appointments tend to fill up quickly, especially during the height of admissions season, so schedule a visit with an admissions office at least several weeks prior to arriving on campus. Upon scheduling your visit, inquire about opportunities to speak with admissions reps, sit in on classes, meet with faculty, talk with current students, and if possible, partake in an overnight experience. It’s important that you take advantage of as many opportunities as possible during your campus visit, so that you’re able to determine if the college is truly right for you. 2. Request an admissions interview. Admissions interviews are offered by schools which require or recommend that prospective students meet with an admission officer as part of the application process. Admissions interviews present a wonderful opportunity for you to showcase intangible attributes that cannot be demonstrated via a grade or test score. Most liberal arts colleges offer admissions interviews, as well as other small-to-midsize schools that have the time and resources to meet individually with prospective students. It’s important to keep in mind that admissions interviews are evaluative and will be considered in the review of your application. If offered an admissions interview, request to meet with the admission representative who covers your particular high school and/or region, as he/she will most likely be the one evaluating your application. Due to the large size of their applicant pool, many universities are not able to offer individual admissions interviews. Instead, these schools offer information sessions, in which a school representative speaks to an individual or group of prospective students about the admissions policies and offerings of his/her respective school. Unlike the admissions interview, information sessions are not evaluative; but still show up. Attending these sessions communicates your interest in a particular school and may score you points in the admissions process. 3. Come Prepared. Before your visit, make sure to obtain a copy of your transcript, your student activities resume, and a copy of your standardized test scores (if applicable). This information will enable your admissions representative to realistically assess your chances for admission, as well as offer any advice that he or she may have on how to improve your application. During the admissions interview, be prepared to discuss your courses, your extracurricular experiences, and your reasons for applying to the college (be specific). In addition, come with several questions that will enable you to learn more about the college and simultaneously demonstrate to an admissions rep that you have done your college research. As a general rule, save questions about meal plans, housing, and social life for the campus tour. It is also important that you dress appropriately, shake hands, and maintain eye contact throughout your admissions interview; presentation is always key to a successful meeting. Most importantly, RELAX! Remember, admissions officers are ordinary people, no different and no more special than the rest of us. 4. Tour the campus. In addition to an interview or information session, most colleges offer campus tours. Campus tours are usually led by current students and provide you an opportunity to visit college facilities (i.e. classrooms, libraries, dorm rooms, cafeteria, etc.) and to ask questions about life at the college, including questions about student clubs, activities, social events, residence life, and the like. Make sure to dress comfortably and be prepared to walk, as campus tours usually cover a lot of ground and time. 5. Say thanks. Always send a thank you note to those with whom you have met during your campus visit (i.e. admissions rep, tour guide, students, faculty, etc.). A simple paragraph, which expresses your gratitude and reiterates your interest in the college, will suffice. Finding the right college is no easy task. However, if you commit to visiting your prospective schools while adhering to the above guidelines, you are more likely to discover and attend a college that suits who you are, who you want to become, and what you want out of your undergraduate experience.

Andrew BelascoCEOCollege Transitions LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Schedule early. Campus-based tours and appointments tend to fill up quickly, especially during the height of admissions season, so schedule a visit with an admissions office at least several weeks prior to arriving on campus. Upon scheduling your visit, inquire about opportunities to speak with admissions reps, sit in on classes, meet with faculty, talk with current students, and if possible, partake in an overnight experience. It’s important that you take advantage of as many opportunities as possible during your campus visit, so that you’re able to determine if the college is truly right for you. If you are granted an admissions interview during your visit, come prepared. Before your visit, make sure to obtain a copy of your transcript, your student activities resume, and a copy of your standardized test scores (if applicable). This information will enable your admissions representative to realistically assess your chances for admission, as well as offer any advice that he or she may have on how to improve your application. Also be prepared to discuss your courses, your extracurricular experiences, and your reasons for applying to the college (be specific). Finally, come with several questions that will enable you to learn more about the college and simultaneously demonstrate to an admissions rep that you have done your college research. As a general rule, save questions about meal plans, housing, and social life for the campus tour. 5. Say thanks. Always send a thank you note to those with whom you have met during your campus visit (i.e. admissions rep, tour guide, students, faculty, etc.). A simple paragraph, which expresses your gratitude and reiterates your interest in the college, will suffice. Finding the right college is no easy task. However, if you commit to visiting your prospective schools while adhering to the above guidelines, you are more likely to discover and attend a college that suits who you are, who you want to become, and what you want out of your undergraduate experience.

Andrew BelascoCEOCollege Transitions LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Schedule early. Campus-based tours and appointments tend to fill up quickly, especially during the height of admissions season, so schedule a visit with an admissions office at least several weeks prior to arriving on campus. Upon scheduling your visit, inquire about opportunities to speak with admissions reps, sit in on classes, meet with faculty, talk with current students, and if possible, partake in an overnight experience. It’s important that you take advantage of as many opportunities as possible during your campus visit, so that you’re able to determine if the college is truly right for you. If you are granted an admissions interview during your visit, come prepared. Before your visit, make sure to obtain a copy of your transcript, your student activities resume, and a copy of your standardized test scores (if applicable). This information will enable your admissions representative to realistically assess your chances for admission, as well as offer advice on how to improve your application. Also be prepared to discuss your courses, your extracurricular experiences, and your reasons for applying to the college (be specific). Finally, come with several questions that will enable you to learn more about the college and simultaneously demonstrate to an admissions rep that you have done your college research. As a general rule, save questions about meal plans, housing, and social life for the campus tour. Finding the right college is no easy task. However, if you commit to visiting your prospective schools while adhering to the above guidelines, you are more likely to discover and attend a college that suits who you are, who you want to become, and what you want out of your undergraduate experience.

Jamie HoversenEducational AdviserEducationUSA, Hungary

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Make sure you’ve really done your research about a school before going on the campus tour so you can ask specific questions about particular programs or aspects of the school you are interested in. Not everything can be talked about during a campus tour, so knowing what aspects you are most interested in and being able to ask about those to a current student or admissions counselor is important (and a lot more personal than asking by email).

Jamie HoversenEducational AdviserEducationUSA, Hungary

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Make sure you’ve really done your research about a school before going on the campus tour so you can ask specific questions about particular programs or aspects of the school you are interested in. Not everything can be talked about during a campus tour, so knowing what aspects you are most interested in and being able to ask about those to a current student or admissions counselor is important (and a lot more personal than asking by email).

Laura M.S.

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

I think a student will get the most out of a college visit by coming up with some questions beforehand. Doing some research online to get an overview of the school is very helpful so that the student knows the “basics” and can devise a list of questions. Making sure to visit campus centers and cafeterias allows students to get to know the student body better, since every college has its own “culture.” This allows a student to see if it’s truly a good fit for them.

Natalie Sanchez CamposOwnerNext Step LLC

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

There are many tips. Here are a few: Ensure classes are session when visiting. Ask any questions you have, take pictures, eat in locations you will be dining regularly on-campus, and visit a living situation. Ask about the process and timeline for applying for work-study jobs. Call the department(s) you interested in and/or arrange to sit in on a class. See about staying in the dorm/on campus overnight.

Ian

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Talk to everyone!!! Ask any and everything that comes across your brain, because more than likely everyone has had that thought. Think about what you enjoy and think about how this college will or will not allow you to enjoy yourself in that college .

Joyce Vining MorganFounder and college counselorEducational Transitions

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Go prepared. Know what the college has already published in print and on their website, and create your own questions based on what they haven’t told you yet. Bring your questions and areas of interest written out (I create a printed form, with space for recording answers to each area of interest, but that may feel too geeky for you!). As you tour, read bulletin boards, the chalk scribbles on pathways, look for information not presented by admissions marketing. Talk to people – professors in your possible majors, students anywhere you find them (know that they once were in your shoes, touring this campus). And feel the vibes through your pores: what would it feel like to spend four years on this campus? The student should always be at the center of college visits, so the student should make the appointments, ask the questions, write the thank-you notes (emails!) to the admissions officers and professors met during the visit.

Mitch ClarkExecutive DirectorCollege Sherpa

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Be prepared prior to attending campus tours and information sessions. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with the school before you go, the whole experience may be difficult to discern among your other college visits. Research the school’s website and take notes about admission requirements, majors you are interested in and campus life. Compare your findings with the information they provide while you’re on campus. Ask for clarification on discrepancies and specifics on areas in which you feel you need more detail in order to make an opinion about the school and how it fits your needs.

Nina BerlerFounderunCommon Apps

Tours and Info Sessions

These are such wonderful ways to get information about a college! Just as a student will do with interviews, he or she should come equipped with a question of two about the college. Depending on the size of the group, he may even be remembered later on for asking his or her question in the information session! I always recommend that someone along for the trip (often the parent) take notes. The information divulged in the information session or on the tour may be very useful in addressing questions on the applications or in actual interviews. If a student has a choice of tour guide, he or she may select a guide who has a similar academic interest. (Sometimes colleges introduce the tour guides beforehand.) I find the attitude and interests of the tour guides stick with the guests long after the tour has concluded. If possible, see a dorm room on the tour!

Dr. Christine Hand – GonzalesAuthor of Interactive Resource eBook College Bound: Proven Ways to Plan and Prepare for Getting Into the College of Your Dreams (over 1200 live links), companion workbook – My College Bound Plan, College Planning Blog – http://www.college-path.com: and College Planning ConsultantCollege Path LLC

Getting the Most Out of Campus Tours and Information Session

Planning to visit a college? Get started by collecting important information. Use the internet to “get to know” the college you are planning to visit. Review the admissions requirements, majors, and other areas of interest including financial aid and scholarship options, internship and study abroad opportunities. Learn about “what is happening” on campus. What activities do they have that interest you? Do they have honors programs? What about special dorms for certain majors? Once you have gathered your data, you will want to call the college to see when tours and information sessions are available. Be sure to sign in when you get there. Arrive on time and dress in casual but neat attire. Shake hands, introduce yourself, and remember to turn off your cell phone. You may want to forgo gum chewing as well. Come prepared with questions and be ready to jot down some notes. Take the tour and use this time to talk to your tour guide about their personal experience on campus. Stop in a dorm, the cafeteria, the library, and pick up a school newspaper. If you are interested in a particular major, see if you can attend a class (plan this ahead of time too!). Before you leave campus, be sure to pick up a business card of your representative. After your tour, take some time to think about what you liked and what you did not like about the institution. Write some notes to yourself and then follow up with a “thank you” to the college admissions representative for taking the time to share information.

Alexandra YoungGuidance CounselorBrookline High School

Do Your Research Before You Visit

The worst thing you can do when visiting a campus, is to go in clueless. Once you’ve found a college you’d like to learn more about, research the school using tools like Naviance or any of the college guidebooks. Once you know the basics (i.e. size, location, admission statistics, etc…) visit their website. The college website can provide you with a multitude of information including majors offered, graduation requirements, tutoring services, internship and research opportunities, extracurricular activities, and finally employment opportunities post graduation. The campus visit is a great time to ask clarifying questions about what you’ve learned from your prior research. In addition, the campus visit can help you figure out if the college is the right fit. Meaning, can you see yourself on that campus for the next four years? Is there enough to do? Is the area safe? Are there enough businesses in the area to provide internships in your major? Is the campus too far away from home? Etc… I always recommend that students take an hour, or more if you have the time, and “get lost” on campus. Go to the student center, get a coffee and the student paper, and just hang out to see if that environment suits you. You can do the same in a dining hall or even walking around the campus. Always ask yourself, “Can I see myself here for four years?”

Suzanne ShafferOwnerParents Countdown to College Coach

Talk to current students

Take advantage of your campus visit by talking to current students. The tour guide and the info sessions will give you the basic information. Students can help you get a feel for the campus and the student body itself. Ask them about what campus is like on the weekends, is it easy to find an internships, and are the professors truly accessible to the students.

Jeannie BorinFounder & PresidentCollege Connections

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Here are some things to look out for while you tour different colleges. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the many buildings, programs and informational tours. A preplanned checklist of what you want to see is a good idea. Here are some bullet points of different things I look for in touring the many colleges I see each year: – Admission Criteria Requirements and What to Include with Application When to Apply GPA & Test Scores (if required) Scholarships Offered Student Support/Counseling Center – Academics Professor Availability Popular Programs Average Size of Class (ratio to student) Possible Internships Study Abroad Opportunities Available Technology Library Facilities – Campus Life Greek – Fraternities/Sororities Weekend Activities Special Campus Events How Many Students Live on Campus? Commute? Sport Events Dining Facilities Party Scene – Campus Setting Where is College Located? Too Remote? Too Urban? Near a City? What is Surrounding Community Like? Campus Town? – Look of the College Dorms and Nearby Housing Lecture Halls & Classrooms Clean, Easy Access, Transportation Libraries Security & Safety, Campus Police Availability Current Building Projects How Well Are Current Facilities Maintained? Recreation Center While you visit, here are some additional suggestions: Take a campus informational tour Set up an interview with an admission officer Audit a course Speak with a professor or representative at the department in your field of interest If you are pursuing athletics, talk to a coach in your sport If possible, stay overnight in a dorm with a friend or relative Pick up the campus newspaper Spend time in the Student Union and eat in the cafeteria Speak to students and ask questions Find the center of campus and have a seat for 30 minutes Take a look at the college bookstore Ask a student what he/she loves and hates about the college Tour the community surrounding the campus Ask a student if you can see their dorm room Ask yourself if you could feel at home at this college Take lots of notes and pictures Enjoy yourself!

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

seeking out the details

it is always better to ask questions when you are prepared and have done some homeworks. feel free to ask some personal questions about his or her experiences in college throughout the tour. as to the info sessions, they are good for you to find out some satistical information such as majors and clus, etc.

Charlotte KlaarDirectorKlaar College Consulting LLC

Maximizing your campus visit

The only way to get the most out of a campus visit is to participate in all that the college is offering. That means that you attend the information session, go on the campus tour and, if possible, attend a class. When all this is done, stop into the student union or dining hall and just watch what is going on. Do the students look happy? Stressed? Engaged with each other? You might also stop students on campus and ask about whether they have enjoyed their experience at the college, what year they are in, and other student life questions. As you go through the tour, look at the bulletin boards in the halls. What is happening on campus and what are the issues being talked about? How comfortable do you, the student, feel among the others on campus? Remember that you spend only 15 hours a week in class and the rest of the time you have to live there. Parents should try to keep their opinions to themselves until the student has had a chance to think about the visit and decide if this is a place that would make him happy.

Juliet Giglio

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Hang out in the dining halls at meal time. Listen to the conversations around you. Try and imagine if you’d fit in at this college.

CRAIG HELLERPresidentwww.CollegeEssaySolutions.com

To Get the Most Out of Campus Tours and Info Sessions… Prepare!

To maximize the benefits of campus tours and info sessions, it’s always a good idea to “know what you want to know.” You can easily do this by jotting down a list of questions you want answered by the tour or session. Be specific and thorough. If getting a degree in Engineering is your issue, prepare questions about those courses. If dorm life is important to you, research the most attractive dorm so that when you see it, your questions can be more practical. It’s also important to spend some time on campus, after the tour is over. Again, preparation can be a key. Get a feel for the layout, note buildings, facilities or recreational areas that sound attractive and check them out in person. Students will often get a vibe from a school and it is different for everyone. A little casual “hang time” can help determine whether this is the place you want to spend the next four years.

Suzan ReznickIndependent Educational ConsultantThe College Connection

Be alert, Ask Questions, Take notes!

Information (info) sessions begin to all sound alike. Each campus will tout its outstanding faculty, great facilities, and wonderful opportunities etc. How can you see past this “sameness”? First you need to understand that the purpose of the Info session is to sell as many students as possible on applying to that school. So, you need to be awake and aware of what makes each visit different. Try not to judge the school on its’ food court alone or its new gym. Can you “see” yourself as a student on that campus? Also and this is tough- do not judge the school based on the personality of the tour guides alone, because the odds are that if you attend that school you will NEVER see that annoying Jock/nerd/diva again.

Leah BeasleyPresident/FounderBeasley College Consulting, LLC

10 Tips on Making the Most of Your College Visit

School is out and students are celebrating–but now is not the time to waste away the summer tanning at the pool! Summer is a great time to get a head start on researching colleges. What’s the best way to research colleges?…VISITING! Here are ten ways to make sure that you’re getting the most out of these all important visits: 1. Sit down with your parents and craft a list of colleges of interest. If you’re not sure where to go, plan local visits and try to find a mix of different types of colleges (large, small, urban, rural, research, liberal arts, etc.). 2. Call or check online for tour times or to reserve a spot on the tour and information session (it’s a good idea to reserve this at least two weeks in advance). 3. Call ahead to see if the college offers on-campus interviews and arrange one. I recommend interviewing during the summer since it is often difficult to return to campuses during the fall. 4. Attend a class and schedule to meet with a professor in your area of interest. 5. Don’t be shy! Stop and ask students what their favorite and least favorite thing is about their college. 6. Explore the areas of campus (and the surrounding area) where you think you will spend the most time. Visit the dining hall, library and student center. Listen to students talk. Do they look happy/sad/excited? 7. Take notes and pictures during your visit — some colleges can begin to look and sound alike after several days of visiting, not to mention weeks later when you are constructing your final college list or writing essays about each college. 8. Write down the names and contact information of admissions officers, professors, and students that you’ve met. After your visit write them a thank you for talking to you. When application reading season comes–admissions officers are more likely to remember you because of this gesture. 9. Take time to explore alone without your parents. Have your parents explore and take notes as well. They may note something important that you didn’t see. Compare your notes. 10. At the end of your visit, stop and take stock of the day and ask yourself one simple question: DO I FEEL COMFORTABLE HERE? If the answer is YES, it might just be a great fit for you!

Scott WhiteDirector of GuidanceMontclair High School

Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

Get off the beaten path. Go to the dorms, the student center, the gyms, the dining hall. Sit in on a class, stay overnight, visit a student party. Look on what students post on their doors or the graffiti in the bathroom. Keep an eye out for deferred maintenance, often a sign of financial issues.

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