College tours are usually led by student representatives that are currently attending the school. This gives you and other prospective students the opportunity to get information about campus life from an actual student’s perspective. Even if you do a bunch of research or ask admissions counselors, you won’t get the same information. That’s why student-led tours are the perfect time to ask questions such as these listed below.
1. What’s the Best Way to Choose a Dorm?
Current students are the best sources to learn about dorms because they are in the exact shoes you’ll soon fill. They’ve already had the experiences you’re curious about or know somebody who does. Do you want to know which dorm has the best room sizes or the most convenient laundry system? Is one dorm known as the worst?
If you don’t ask these questions on college tours, you may not get another chance until you learn yourself. Your guide can help find which dorm best fits your lifestyle so, when you apply, you won’t be choosing blindly.
- What Kind of Food is Available?
Going to college for the first time, you may hear good things about the dining halls from admissions representatives. But if you want a less-biased opinion, you should ask your student guide. They’ll be more straightforward. A student can tell you the best dining halls, which ones to avoid, and where to get food elsewhere.
They can also give you insight into how easy it is to get that outside food. Maybe, for example, certain delivery services are commonly available or there are good places nearby. It’s great to get information from those who navigate the food choices every day.
- What is Greek Life Like?
Schools and Greek life have a complicated relationship. Unsafe practices that lead fraternities and sororities to be banned are frequently broadcast in the news. But there are communities that act responsibly and schools that condone Greek life. It’s just hard to know what’s reality without being there. On a tour, you have the opportunity to inquire about different types of sororities and fraternities and their reputations.
These organizations have multiple purposes. While there are some that mainly focus on social events, some are based on majors, like a biology sorority. Some academic co-ed fraternities act as honor societies, and only students with the highest GPAs and involvement are allowed. Other organizations are service-based, focusing on philanthropy. The alphabet of Greek life can be confusing, but your guide can likely help you get involved.
- Where are the Best Places to Study?
Schools will always provide some form of study spaces for their students, but different students have different needs. Maybe the study lounges are too loud, or the library is too quiet to keep you focused. You won’t know these things until you go and experience the issues for yourself.
If you ask your tour guide, they can tell you the truth about each space. Plus they can help you find the real hidden gem areas, like local coffee shops or empty classrooms. Some colleges even have study bubbles around campus you can reserve. Finding a study spot while on tour is great because you’ll be ahead when you get your first assignment.
- What Academic Resources are Available?
Starting your first year at college is so overwhelming, and there will definitely be information that slips your mind. However, your main objective at university is gaining an education. That’s why you should try to ask about academic resources like tutoring, accessibility services, and office hour policies in advance.
These resources are there to help students. If you’re familiar with them early, you can take advantage of them as soon as you have trouble with your studies. Instead of having your grades stumbling as you adjust to your new life, you can keep them where they need to be. This is even more important if you’re awarded a scholarship that requires a certain grade point average.
- How Do You Get Around?
Depending on campus factors like size and location, it may be harder to get around than you think. Some campuses are small enough that you can walk to each building in a matter of minutes. But others utilize complex bus or metro systems. Regardless, you won’t want to stay on campus all the time, and knowing your options will make exploration more convenient.
Talk to your tour guide about transportation in the area and what kinds of opportunities there are for off-campus fun. They can clue you into local events, fun venues, and public transport schedules you may need to know. They can also tell you where to find a bus or train or give you route tips if you drive. If you’re bringing a car to campus, you’ll also want to ask about parking.
- What Kinds of Interesting Classes are There?
Any student you meet can answer questions about the classes you can take. But tour guides, alongside generally being students themselves, are trained to know the fun stuff that others may not. Don’t be afraid to ask yours about their favorite classes — what they’ve enjoyed, what surprising options there are, etc.
Some schools, for instance, have classes centered on Marvel movies or really specific topics like the psychology of narcissism. You can learn about them well in advance and can be ready to apply before they fill up.
- Are There Any Fun Campus Traditions?
This is one of the most exciting parts of joining your new college community — getting involved in student traditions. Ask your tour guide if there’s anything to know in this regard and they’ll surely be happy to tell you. The school may have a statue to touch for luck before finals or an annual ritual before the semester begins.
Traditions are really nice in that they help you get assimilated to the school’s culture along with other freshmen. Knowing them beforehand can not only help you prepare, but it can help you make friends by sharing the knowledge.
Before you arrive on any campus, you won’t get an up-close look without a tour. It’s the best way to see everything and learn everything you’ll want to know. You can get excited, too, because soon you’ll be enjoying college life yourself!