Exploring Education the guide to college visit


Will Goodwin, Columnist


Deciding where you may want to go to college is a big decision that determines where you’ll be for the next four or more years of your life.  There are many things that go along with college like filling out applications, applying for financial aid, gathering your transcripts, and other factors as well.  One of the last and most exciting steps students need to go through is actually visiting the colleges themselves along with family or friends.  Going on tours and seeing what a college has to offer is important, and there are many common things to expect from each place, regardless of where you go.  Whether it be a visit before you apply, or for an accepted students day, an extra chance to see a school you’re interested in is a great opportunity for you to find out more about it.  To students who have either already started their search for colleges or are beginning the process, I hope to help give an outline of what to be prepared for, and help make the process in finding a better fit easier.  

Wherever you go to tour, it usually starts with gathering into different sized groups, then a person leading the tour will give a basic outline of different activities also going on at campus that day, and you will start.  Most of the tour is walking and listening to what the guide has to say about what is inside or offered at each facility and building on campus.  Walking around between buildings and looking around can be a good way to see what type of students you will be with, where the common hangout places are, as well as just seeing if it is a nice, pretty place you would like to live.  Tour guides are usually the very outgoing type of students that are happy to respond to any questions or lead you to someone that can answer them.  Asking questions is important, even though none of us want to be the one in the group to speak up first.  Either you or whichever parent/guardian is with you should definitely ask any questions you have, as even the smallest things each place has to offer can affect your decision.  At many schools I was shown different services or resources that are extra added on to your schedule, but offer great career benefits in the future.  These types of things are also valuable places to ask questions  because if they aren’t too demanding of your time, they can be extremely valuable to take advantage of.  Speaking up and asking is never a bad idea on tours, and you could help someone else with the same question.

Once the tour is done and they’ve shown you all there is, the groups will usually meet back up for a luncheon type of event and enjoy some food either in the cafe itself or in a separate spot made up for the visitors.  The nice send off events are there to show they care about their students and how they treat people, and really want the students that visit to come back and attend that school.  Every school I have visited seems to genuinely care about their students and visitors, and aren’t just making up mottos they don’t follow.  Participating in the later events are often optional and not a part of the tour unless you choose to do it.  Some other later events would be like for honors programs, or seeing specific classrooms depending on your major, and other specifics like that.  

All in all, visiting schools should be a fun way of helping your decision and making sure you go where you feel you fit the best.  Make sure to see everything you want to see, as you most likely can by asking to see things, and leave with a good idea of what the college has to offer, and compare them to your other options.  Making a decision before going to visit can also be jumping the gun too fast, because even if the pictures look good, everything is different in person.  Visiting should be one of the final steps, and perhaps visiting will just be a confirmation of where you already knew you wanted to go.