It’s very important to tour a college. Every college looks good in their brochures. The earlier you tour a college the better. To get a tour, you can sign up online or just drop by the campus.
There is a standard flow to tours given by all universities. Students will give the tour. You will go on a path around the campus. They will point out the major places on campus like the library and the place where all the students gather. You will get a tour of one dorm room. [Warning: the dorm room you will tour will probably be the most spacious and expensive dorm.] Then the tour will end. Here are some additional things you should do while you’re there.
- Talk to someone in the department/college of your major. There are advisors, professors, and staff members who job is to talk to prospective students. You can usually set up an appointment to talk to them ahead of time or ask the tour guide.
- Eat at the cafeteria. If you are thinking about having a meal plan or you can’t cook, eat at the cafeteria. You need to know if you like the food they serve. “Not bad” is fine for one meal, but three meals a day every day “not bad” becomes “disgusting”. Also ask students do they enjoy eating there.
- Visit financial aid and admission office. This is your time to ask all the questions you want. You may also learn something you couldn’t learn online.
- Visit program offices for scholarship programs and athlete departments. Again, this is the time to ask questions you’ve wanted to ask. You can set up a meeting beforehand.
In addition, the best time to tour a college is on a “senior day” or “junior day”. It’s usually on a Saturday morning. All the departments/colleges, scholarship programs, financial aid office, admissions, residence life (on campus living), etc. will be there with tables. You can get all the information you want with less running around.