Preparing for college life is an exciting part of a prospective student’s life. For this reason, it is vital that students and parents visit college campuses and attend tours to get a sense of what the college is all about. Unfortunately, not all college tours are conducted with the student’s best interests at heart. Below you will find five red flags to look out for when taking a college tour.
Tours conducted while the college is empty
The best way to get a feel for what the college is like is to attend a tour while school is in session. I found that being able to observe and talk to students was a great way to find out about the school’s program and whether the campus’ culture would be a good fit for me. Colleges that do not offer tours while classes are in session can be disconcerting, since there may be a number of reasons why they are not doing so.
Tour guides that offer vague answers and explanations to questions
Nothing is more frustrating than being on a tour with a guide that is unprepared and does not know answers to the most basic questions. During a college tour, it is the students’ opportunity to ask questions about various programs and majors they want to know more about. Students’ that are not able to do so will be left wondering whether this is the college for them.
Tours conducted in large groups
I found that the smaller the size of the group, the better the experience. Being able to ask questions is a vital part of discovering whether a college is potentially a good fit for the student. College tours conducted in groups that are large in size can make it hard for students to ask questions, hear what the guide is saying, and generally leave students feeling lost in the crowd.
Tours that are rushed
Did the guide forget he or she was giving a tour today? That is the question I found myself asking on one of many college tours I attended. A tour that is rushed doesn’t allow the student to take in the experience and atmosphere of the campus. For many students, the experience is enough to sway them from even considering applying to the school.
Tours that skip visits to various locations on campus
While on a college tour, students expect to see dorm rooms, dining halls, or any other part of the school they feel is important. A guide that skips buildings may be hiding a weak area of the school. Bottom line, it is important that students take a thorough tour to have a better understanding of what the school has to offer and whether it would be a good fit.
Getting a feel for what the college environment is like should be considered an important part of the application process. In addition to taking a college tour, doing some research is vital. I have found that talking to students, sitting in on a class, and talking to a professor is a great way to get a better picture of what the college environment is like. The last thing a student wants is to enroll at a college and find that the campus is nothing like they imagined it to be.