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When I took my first college tour, I was scared out of my mind, and I wandered around with the tour guide listening for important facts. But I didn’t know what the important parts were, and by the time the tour was finished, I was even more confused. Here are a few things to look for on your college tour.

1. The location and size of the campus

Seeing pictures of the campus is a bit different compared to actually walking it. When going on your tour, take notice of how long it takes to actually get around the entire campus. You may think you can handle taking three busses to get to your next class, until you’re running ten minutes behind and you have an exam that day. Do you like a bigger campus? Or would you rather be able to walk it in twenty minutes? Take into account the surroundings as well. Maybe you’re more of a city person, or maybe you want to be in a more rural area. Is the campus flat? Or are there hills that you have to climb up every day? Think of yourself living there at that moment and think about what type of campus is right for you.

2. The food options

Usually you can find this information on the website. However, reading about it and looking at the actual food are two different experiences. If your tour takes you through a dining hall, take into consideration how many options there are, how many dining halls there are, and if you have a special diet, make sure they can accommodate for you. Knowing these things ahead of time can save you some trouble down the line.

3. The atmosphere

Start thinking about how you envision your college experience to be, then try to identify where the school you’re visiting fits into that vision. What type of school are you visiting? Is it a “party school”? Or is everyone in the library? A combination of both? Being on the actual campus is a great way to see how students interact with one another. Seeing it first hand is a good way to figure out what works best for you and what you want your college experience to be like.

4. Clubs and activities

If you’re interested in a certain club or activity, make sure to check out if it’s offered there. It’s always good to check out some of the clubs that you maybe didn’t think about joining. If you meet someone that’s in a club you’re interested in, ask them about time commitments, what the meetings are like, and if they enjoy it. Talking to someone that’s in that club is a good way to get your foot in the door and learn about what it’s like to do your favorite activities at the school.

5. The dorm rooms

You may have everything planned out for your room and think that you can fit all of your clothing into a small closet, until you actually arrive. Ask your tour guide if you can see a dorm room. That way, you can get a better feel for what your options are (such as living in a single, double, triple or quad) and you can start planning out things like a rugs or chairs that you may want to add to your room. And of course, you’ll be able to be in a dorm. Seeing what dorms are actually like instead of just going off of what they movies tell you, can be very useful.

Going on a college tour can be stressful, as you’re getting a ton of information thrown at you at once. Remember that it’ll be overwhelming at first, but think about if you can really see yourself fitting in at this school. Using this list will help you figure out if the school you’re visiting is the right fit for you.

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