One of the most exciting parts of the college decision-making process is visiting colleges. The first time I went on a college tour, it was a beautiful spring day, and the college was buzzing with energy. It was an exciting experience to envision myself possibly attending that school.

To ensure your visits go smoothly, you will want to first start with a potential college list. A lot of schools do have virtual options; however, it is best to visit a school in person to see how you feel on campus. Since you may be visiting a lot of schools, you will want to ensure you make the most out of the visit.

Here are some things to keep in mind to get the most out of your campus tour:

🔹 Do research.

Don’t waste your time touring a school that doesn’t fit your needs and criteria. Be sure to create a college list before starting your tours so that you only see schools that fit your needs.

Not sure how to start? Download College Fit Inventory here!

🔹 Be sure to visit when there are students on campus.

Visiting over the summer is great for the convenience of being able to get around, but you will want to see how the college runs with students there. Make note of the parking situation, where the dining options are in relation to the dorms, whether students are walking, biking, driving to class, etc. All of these are questions you will want to be answered to understand how your life will be at that school!

🔹 Questions to ask on a campus tour.

When you are on your campus tour, be sure to ask questions, even the hard ones! Ask the student who is giving the tour what they like best about the school, but also ask them what they would change about it. This will give you a real insight into what college life is like at that particular school.

🔹 Wander on your own.

After the campus tour, walk around on your own. See how you like walking from a dorm to one of the academic centers. Is the walk too long? Put yourself in a student’s shoes and see if you feel like that college’s atmosphere is right for you.

🔹 Eat the food.

Some dining halls allow guests to purchase a guest pass for the day. Try the food in the dining hall and see if it’s something you’d be able to enjoy for a whole year. However, keep an open mind; colleges will not have five-star dining experiences! 

🔹 Above all, enjoy the experience.

College visits are a time for you to picture yourself as a student at that school. This should be an exciting and enjoyable experience for you. Don’t go tour schools just because your counselor or friend is urging you to. Go see schools that make you excited to visit and potentially attend. The process should be fun, so try to keep an open mind and a positive attitude.