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?

Scott White
Director of Guidance Montclair 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.

Jeannie Borin
Founder & President College 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!

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon 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!

Suzan Reznick
Independent Educational Consultant The 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 Beasley
President/Founder Beasley 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!

Charlotte Klaar
Director Klaar 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.

Suzanne Shaffer
Owner Parents 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.

Dr. Christine Hand - Gonzales
Author 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 - and College Planning Consultant College 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.

Juliet Giglio
Montgomery Educational Consulting

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.

Melanie Rome
College Admissions Counselor Melanie Rome, College Admissions Counselor

Booklet To Take With You on Campus Visits 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.