beginning of content:

Visiting a college campus is a great way to get more information about a school and help you decide if it’s a good fit for you. A campus tour helps you get a sense of what a college—and life at that college—is like.

 

Things to Do Before a Campus Tour

  •  Before you visit a college campus, call the admissions office to make a reservation for an information session and/or a guided campus tour
    • Ask if the school has recommendations on what to wear for your visit
  •  If the school you’re interested in touring is far away, you can ask about hotels in the area and parking passes
  •  Think about the best time to visit a campus—late summer and early September before senior year, and/or summer and spring breaks

 

Things to Do on a Campus Tour

Gather Important Information

  •  Pick up brochures, financial aid forms, and the campus map.
  •  Try to sit at the back of a classroom that interests you. If classes aren’t in session, you can still stop in a classroom or lecture hall to get a sense of the environment.
  •  Meet a professor who teaches a course you’re interested in.
  •  Talk to students about their experience.
  •  Take part in a group information session at the admissions office, or if possible, schedule a one-on-one meeting with an admissions officer.
  •  Talk to admissions officers, tour guides, professors, or current students.
    • Ask them to share their contact information so you can send follow-up questions.
  •  Take lots of notes and track your visits with this campus visit scorecard:

Get a Feel for Student Life on Campus

  •  Visit the dorms, dining hall, fitness center, library, career center, bookstore, and other campus facilities
  •  Talk to current students about their transition from high school to college, college courses, and life outside the classroom
  •  If you’re planning to play sports in college, try to meet with coaches for the sports you’re interested in
  •  Walk or drive around the community surrounding the campus
    • Check if there’s on-campus or off-campus transportation available to students
    • Ask current students how they travel home for breaks
  •  Learn about campus services for students, which may include:
    • Residential services
    • Counseling
    • Health centers
    • Religious centers
    • Financial aid office
    • Information technology support
    • Career centers
    • Commuter services
    • If you’re an Indigenous student, you can download the College Board Indigenous College Planning Guidebook to find out about:
      1. Indigenous clubs/organizations
      2. Native centers
      3. Tribal liaison office
  •  Hear what’s happening on campus and what’s on students’ minds via campus media outlets
    • The college’s social media accounts
    • Student-run newspaper, other publications, and blogs
    • College radio station

 

Questions to Ask on a Campus Tour

  •  What are the best reasons to go to this college?
  •  What’s it like to go from high school to college?
  •  What do you do in your free time? On the weekends?
  •  What do you love about this college?
  •  Why did you choose this college?
  •  What is it like to live here?
  •  What does the college do to promote student involvement in campus groups, extracurricular activities, or volunteering?
  •  Are there special interest student organizations?
  •  What are the housing options?
    • Are first-year students required to live on campus?
  •  Do professors, graduate students, or juniors and seniors mentor students?
  •  Are there research opportunities for students to work with professors?  
  •  What’s the graduation rate?
  •  For the majors I’m interested in, how many years do students usually take to get their degree?
  •  Are there work-study programs and part-time jobs available?

 

You can read more on why students should consider visiting colleges, and use this campus visit checklist to help you find a college that’s a good fit.

If you can’t visit a college campus in person, there are many ways to learn about schools online:

Remember, you don’t need to check off everything on this list to decide if a school is a good fit—focus on what’s most important to you to find a college that fits you academically, financially, and socially.

Visit bigfuture.org for more free, comprehensive college planning resources.