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When should I start going on college tours? I am a junior in highschool.


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John’s Answer

Zemira many students use their spring semester, particularly spring break, to do college visits. The spring semester, and spring break, in particular, is the perfect time to do college visits. By then, you’ve gotten into the groove of all of your classes, you’re starting to think about next year and your college future, and you have a long week in the middle of the semester with absolutely no school obligations to keep you from going.

TALK TO STUDENTS
It’s one thing to get the official, scripted admissions tour from a student who has been trained to say all the right things about the university. It’s a much more telling and valuable experience to get an unscripted, honest opinion from a student who is not required to sell the university to you. By talking to a regular student at the university, you’ll get the true student’s perspective about what is good about the experience at that university and even what is not so great about attending that college. The best strategy for talking to a student is not to just grab any student on campus and ask them a few questions. Try to find some people in your community that have family/friends at that university or perhaps even an alumnus of your high school who attends that college now. Get in touch with them before you go visit the college and set up a time and place to meet on campus while you’re there.

MEET WITH PROFESSORS
Many students take the basic admissions tour, and it is certainly beneficial to do so. However, don’t just stand in the back and listen to the tour while it is happening. Try and engage with the tour leader as much as you can and pick their brains about the campus, the university, and student life. If you can arrange it beforehand, try to get a meeting with a professor in the department that you are planning on applying for or even a department head if you can. They can give you an inside look at what the academic programs at the university are like and what will be expected of you if you attend that college. You could also try to arrange a department tour where you go around and see all the resources that will be at your fingertips in your department of interest in that university. This could consequently give you the chance to network with some key professors in the department.

KEEP DETAILED RECORDS
Regardless of what you end up doing on campus or who you end up talking to, make sure you’re either recording or taking notes while you’re doing it. You may remember a lot of the big points from the admissions presentation and campus tour, but you may easily forget some important details that you may need to know later on. Having something to reference will definitely help you out later when you’re trying to narrow down your college list and start your applications. You don’t have to take notes on a basic pad and pencil. You can have your phone record the presentations or meetings you have. You can also take photos while you’re exploring the campus to help you jog your memory later on. You can even type out notes on a convenient hand-held electronic device like a phone or mini tablet.

Zemira colleges and universities have created all kinds of visit programs for prospective families, from the standard campus tour and information session to overnight visits where high schoolers (usually seniors) can stay with a current student. Some ask that you register beforehand, others let you drop in whenever they have admission office hours scheduled. Always check with each institution to see what they expect you to do before stepping onto campus.

Hope this was Helpful Zemira

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Anthony’s Answer

Hello Zemira, I am happy to help answer your question. From my own experience several years ago, I started taking tours during my junior year. That way, when I went into my senior year and needed to prepare to take the SAT, I knew what scores I needed to aim for based on the schools I wanted to attend. Essentially, the earlier you start going the better because you will give yourself the most amount of time to make an educated decision for your future.

In today’s world though, I believe most of these tours are conducted online. This is definitely more convenient if you’re interested in schools further from home that would be harder to travel to for a visit, but doesn’t give you the best picture of what the on-campus atmosphere is like. I would definitely recommend trying to get to campus if you can.

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Brittany’s Answer

I would say your Junior year or after your Junior year is a great time to start touring colleges! It allows you to visit and narrow down what schools you're interested in. That way you can focus on prioritizing your top schools!

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Kylie’s Answer

Now is a great time to start touring schools! Some schools will even give you some scholarships if you have toured their campus. Looking at campus in person is a great way to find the right school for you, and looking at the town or city the school is in is also a great idea! You want to choose a college where you are comfortable, and in an area that has thing you enjoy doing!

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Bryce’s Answer

I definitely recommend visiting colleges of interests as early and as often as possible. So for you I would say start visiting now. When I was in high school I waited until my senior year to make visits to college of interests, and I ran out of time and was unable to visit some. I believe it is very important to get on campus as soon as possible and see what the school as to offer. I also believe that it is important to get on campus outside of a tour. This will allow you to truly see what campus life is like and if the culture is right for you.

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Jason’s Answer

It doesn't hurt to go early, I went as early as Freshman year. You get to experience the campus and see how you like it before you apply, so it's definitely beneficial to visit multiple colleges before your senior year. You definitely do not want to apply to a school that you've never visited in person, because even if everything looks good on paper, once you arrive you're stuck there unless you opt to transfer out. Be ready to ask a lot of questions, explore the campus and dorms, make a list of pros and cons, etc. See if you can get an impression from the students there or from friends/family that may know about it. Look up the programs, professors, etc. A campus may be pretty and people may seem sweet, but that's all surface level. Dig deep and you'll be able to see if its a good fit for you.

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Evonia’s Answer

I will add that in this time of Covid, many colleges are offering virtual tours so you can possibly cover more schools than you normally would have if you had to physically attend a tour. I would start reaching out to schools of interest now to find out their dates of events and their requirments.

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Cameren’s Answer

As a junior in high school, now is the perfect time to start your list of colleges you want to apply to and start touring. It is very beneficial to get a sense of the campus and how you think you will fit in there. I would also have a list of questions to ask your tour guide and suggest maybe going on a day where there are social events like a sports game, etc., to get a feel of what the student body is like. Also, if you already took a school visit somewhere and enjoyed it don't be afraid to go back on your own and open a day there, maybe do some studying in their library (if it is public), grab some food/coffee at a local spot and try to imagine what your life would b like if you attended this school. I hope this is helpful!

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