Written by: Drew Fox
You've carved out the time, spent hours planning, and traveled from near and far to visit the college campuses on your child's list. Now, your family is finally on campus with an opportunity to talk face-to-face with a current student. And not just any student, but a well-informed representative of that college-- your tour guide. We asked Student Admissions Director Drew Fox, Indiana Class of 2020 how to get the most out of the official college tour and his ten questions are incredibly insightful. Don't head out without them.
As I look out at my tour group, I remember being in their shoes just a few years ago. Now I get the opportunity to stand on the other side of the process and help prospective students find the perfect school for them. Choosing a college or university is a difficult undertaking as there are so many options out there. Taking a campus tour is an important step in determining which school is right for you. Although a university might appear to be the perfect fit on paper, you have to make sure you can see yourself walking around that campus with a backpack, talking to friends on your way to class or your club meetings.
Your tour guide comes prepared with much information, but to make the process as personal as it can be, asking questions is vital. Yes, stats and facts are all-important, but the individual stories and experiences that your tour guide has are what make the tour the most relatable. Here is a list of 10 key questions you can ask your campus tour guide:
1. Why did you choose your college or university?
Every student decides on his or her school for a different reason. Asking your tour guide why they chose that university might bring up a topic or reasoning you haven’t thought of before.
2. What is one thing you would tell your high school self about the college application and selection process?
All your tour guides have been through the same process that you are going through now. Everyone feels the same pressures. To me, the most important thing is, to be honest, and true to yourself to ensure you end up at the right place.
3. What did you find to be the hardest adjustment when transitioning from high school to college?
Tour guides all come from different backgrounds and life experiences. Finding out what was hardest for them freshmen year may give you something to think about.
4. How do you make a big school like this feel small?
Tour guides at large schools will explain how their university works to help students find their niche. Examples include affiliations with your degree program, living communities, campus organizations, etc.
5. What did you do to find your place on campus?
Universities have so many ways to get new students involved. Asking about organizations they are involved in can give you an idea of the different opportunities available to you.
6. What is your favorite campus tradition?
Every college or university has their traditions; find out what makes that particular campus unique and why it helps connect students.
7. How do I determine the best freshman housing for me?
Some schools will include a brief overview of their information session or on the traditional tour, but asking specific questions is very important.
8. Can I bring my car to campus?
Tour guides will be able to explain how parking on campus works. University parking can be a difficult thing to navigate, so if you’re planning on bringing your car with you, you need to know how the parking process works. This question might not apply to everyone, but this is a very common question and differs from school to school.
9. How easy and vital is it to get to know your professors outside of the classroom?
Most professors will hold office hours where students can go get help. Talking with your professors is an excellent opportunity for networking. These individuals have worked or researched in their fields, and you never know what internship or job opportunities they can help you find.
10. How well does this university prepare you for the next steps?
Most universities have many resources for students that help them prepare for what is to come after graduation. Whether you are planning on going to grad school or entering the workforce, your school has resources to help you find that next step.
As a tour guide, I feel my tours are the most successful when I get asked lots of questions by the students. The information learned during a visit is crucial when determining the ultimate right place for you. Remember, you are the one who is going to be attending that university and the fit needs to work for you. Although your parents might have questions, yours are the most important.