College tours are one of the most fun aspects of the college application process.

I’m often shocked when students decide to attend a college without touring the campus. I’m therefore not surprised when students drop out because, no matter how hard they tried to adjust, the campus was a poor fit for their academic, emotional, or social needs.

A well-thought-out college tour is the best way to determine if it is a good fit for you.

Here are 20 college tour tips to set yourself up for success:

  1. The optimal time to complete college tours is before colleges begin accepting applications.

  2. We recommend that you research colleges and create a final list of ten colleges by the spring of your junior year.

  3. Begin touring the colleges on your list in the spring of your junior year. Complete tours by the summer before senior year.

  4. Colleges are constantly shocked at how many students and parents show up for tours that know absolutely nothing about the college. Research the college using all social media outlets before scheduling a tour.

  5. Register for the college tour well in advance. Group tours fill up fast.

  6. Establish a college tour budget.

  7. To save money, plan road trips to tour nearby colleges.

  8. Before touring faraway colleges, take a self-guided or interactive tour online to determine if you’re still interested.

  9. If possible, plan to tour colleges near each other during the same trip.

  10. Plan your college tours when the college is in session to get a realistic feeling of the classes and student body.

  11. Before you begin touring colleges, make a list of questions to ask the tour guide, staff and students.

  12. Tour the local town to see what the community has to offer.

  13. Before signing up for the college tour, contact the admissions office to see if you can explore the academic departments you are interested in and plan to talk to current students and faculty.

  14. Enquire about scholarship opportunities and campus work programs.

  15. Plan on touring the library, dorms, and dining hall, especially if they are not part of the tour.

  16. Ask about the campus safety ratings and acquire an incident report.

  17. Take lots of pictures. Download our college comparison sheet to document your tour.

  18. Email the admissions office to get permission to sit in a class before or after your scheduled tour.

  19. Collect contact information and send a brief, friendly email thanking them for taking the time to talk to you.

  20. Pay attention to how you feel. You may be unable to articulate why something feels right or wrong – it’s okay.

Need help navigating college preparation? Contact us to see the many ways we can help save you time, money, and avoid frustration!