The stress surrounding choosing a college for some, is very real, and for others, is nonexistent. It seems everyone can be split into two camps: those who are attending an in state or predetermined college, or those who are not sure at all where they want to go. Both of these are valuable and important experiences. For the latter, though, research will sometimes suffice, but college tours are often necessary for those of us who can’t seem to make up our minds.
I, if you couldn’t already tell, am part of the group that has no clue where they want to go to college. This summer, I toured colleges, and learned about not only said schools, but also about myself and my preferences. Here’s what I took from the experience that I think could be useful to others going on college tours:
Location Matters: I had an idea that I wanted to be in a city, but it wasn’t until I began touring that I realized how often I’d have to actually interact with the environment of the college I choose. For example, I was so excited to tour Harvard, but the town around it totally turned me off. I found that, as big as college campuses are, you won’t be staying within the campus for your entire stay there, so location will have a big impact on your experience. All in all, the areas around the colleges I toured were surprisingly important, and affected my overall rating much more than I’d expected.
College is College is College: No matter what college I visited, while they all of course had differences, were very similar. Obviously being that they are all institutions of education, they are bound to have some obvious similarities, but I’m referring to a smaller scale. To put this in perspective, almost every college I visited had one, or many, peculiar traditions. A common one was having an object that clubs or groups of students painted, and then fought to keep it that color. The point of this is that any college you go to is going to have its own culture and personality, so if you’re worried about being bored, or having a college experience made up of only class and partying without any quirks, don’t sweat it. Every college does weird shit, to be real with you.
Actual Tours Are Worth Your Time: After a couple tours, I was honestly tired as hell. They are time-consuming and involve a lot of walking, and sometimes sitting and listening to long speeches, and so I decided that I’d just conduct my own tour for once. To make it brief, that was a mistake. Even though the scheduled tours are tiring, walking aimlessly around a campus is even worse. I didn’t cross any tours that weren’t free, and they’re often student-led, which provides better insight than a promotional video on the school’s website. If you can make it to a real tour, it’s worth it.
College tours, no matter how you do them or what they teach you, are an exciting window into your future. I know for me, it was the first time I’d traveled and thought about if I could actually live there rather than just a visit, which made the trip that much better. I wish you luck with all your college experiences; I hope you get accepted to your dream school, wherever that may be, and get a million dollars in scholarships, and have the best time you possibly can! Happy college hunting!