Touring a college campus is an integral part of the college selection process–it allows students and parents alike to get a feel for the layout, the atmosphere, and even the culture. But like many other elements of college, campus tours can be subject to myths, stereotypes, and misconceptions.
Hopefully, we can clear some of those up for you in this post. Here are 5 common myths about touring a college campus.
Myth #1: Campus tours aren’t worth my time and/or money
We highly recommend touring a campus before making a final decision. You’re potentially making a 4-year commitment, after all, you should really see and get a feel for where you or your student will be spending time. Sometimes what makes or breaks a decision between two different schools is a campus tour–one may just feel “right” or “wrong” to you. It’s important to find a great fit.
Myth #2: Campus tours will show me exactly what student life is like
If you’re touring a school, it means you’re interested in attending. The job of the campus tour guide is to not only inform you about the school but also sell it to you. They may gloss over inconveniences or only highlight the good things.
But there are ways to get a better picture of what student life is like on campus, all of which you should be able to do while on a tour. One: Talk to actual students. Not the tour guides, not the orientation people, but actual students. Most will be happy to tell the pros and cons of their own experiences. Two: Talk to a professor in the major you’re interested in. This will not only establish some early networking but also paint a clearer picture of what your studies could be like–after all, they’re the experts. Three: Sit in on a class. This is ideal to see what academics are really going to be like–try for both a lecture and a smaller class.
Myth #3: All dorm rooms are like the model dorm they show
Again, the tour is trying to paint the college in the best possible light. The model dorm will be in pristine condition with the best perks a room could have–but that’s not necessarily the room you will get as a freshman. The decor is almost always different, furniture or appliances tend to be older and more worn, some rooms don’t come with the same amenities as others (I was considered lucky because I had a sink in my room).
All in all, there won’t be too many dire differences between the model dorm and the reality, but there are some and it’s important to remember that.
Myth #4: I should only tour during the school year, not summer
Many think that a college campus becomes a ghost town in the summer, but that simply isn’t the case. Many students stay near campus year-round, some attend summer classes. One of the major benefits of visiting in the summer is that you don’t have to work around your own school schedule, summertime has more free time for scheduling things. There will still be classes to sit in on or students to talk with.
Myth #5: I should keep quiet and let the tour guide to all the talking
Yes and no. It’s important to hear what the tour guide has to say, of course, but you’re probably brimming with questions too. So ask! Just remember not to hog all of the tour guide’s attention, especially if there are other prospective students on the tour. If you want a more personalized tour, try booking a private guide!
We hope this clears up a few misconceptions or worries. So go out and tour those campuses! And if you need additional help narrowing down your selections, use College Raptor’s match tool to find the colleges right for you!