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Choosing a college is a big deal. Sure, some people know exactly where they want to go because their parents and their parents’ parents went there, but for most students, the amount of options they face can be a bit overwhelming. One way to narrow down your choices is to take campus tours.
While college websites can provide a lot of information about the schools themselves, nothing beats visiting a campus. Sometimes a college that was not in a student’s a top five becomes number one after the student takes a tour and sees everything that you don’t get from stuffy brochures and pristine web sites. Now is the time to start thinking about some colleges you could visit during your spring break and summer break.
I interviewed Laurel Reese, Revolution Prep Master Instructor and tutor, on what she thought about campus tours, as she used to work in college admissions. She had some good suggestions, including taking the official campus tour, rather than just walking around campus with a friend or family member, and knowing the difference between an admissions officer and a student admissions employee. Here is her campus tour experience:
HZ: What is one thing students learned by visiting your campus?
LR: I went to NYU, which is really the epitome of an urban campus. Prospective students may read that the NYU campus is “integrated into New York City,” but it’s impossible to fully grasp what that means until you set foot into Greenwich Village.
HZ: How many colleges did you visit before your freshman year?
LR: I think I visited around 10 campuses.
HZ: Do you wish you had visited more/fewer?
LR: I’m very happy with the college I chose, but I do wish I had visited more schools. I was looking at a broad spectrum of schools in a number of states. Visiting more of these schools would really have helped me differentiate between large, suburban public universities, urban research universities, and tiny liberal arts schools, in a way that you can’t from just looking at a brochure.
HZ: If you could visit any college right now, where would you go?
LR: I would love to fly to New Hampshire and visit Dartmouth. With its small student body and removed, woodsy campus, it’s very different from where I went to school. I love the outdoors, and would really enjoy experiencing that type of college environment. Plus, I hear it is beautiful!
Like Laurel, you should try to visit a lot of campuses, and don’t be afraid to visit campuses that might have very competitive admissions requirements, like a high SAT or ACT score or GPA requirements. That’s where we can help you meet those goals to get you where you want to go.