By Megan Shuffleton
The college decision process isn’t over yet, pre-collegiettes! As the application period ends and the acceptances start rolling in, it’s time to make the final decision: which school will you attend?
One good way to help narrow down your list of potential colleges is to visit each school. College tours can help you gather a general idea of life at a university, including what the students are like, where the buildings are located and more.
While a leisurely stroll around campus seems simple, there are still a few rules for college tours. We talked to some student tour guides to learn what they expect from students on tours. Here are a few things you should NOT do when touring a college campus!
1. Let your parents take charge
It’s easy to trail behind the group and let your parents pester your tour guide with their questions, but do your best to take full advantage of your tour time. You’re there to experience the campus, and this may be your only chance to do so before you make your big decision. The tour guide is there to answer any of your questions, so take advantage of his or her help!
Nicole Knoebel, a junior and student tour guide at Marist College, says that one of her biggest pet peeves is when pre-collegiettes let their parents do all the talking. “On a college tour, you're preparing to make one of the biggest decisions of your life,” she says. “Take control and make sure you get the info that you need to make the right decision for you, not your parents.”
If you’re shy and a little too intimidated to ask questions in front of the whole group, approach your tour guide while you’re walking from one building to another. This way, you can have a quick one-on-one chat without interrupting the tour or putting yourself on the spot.
2. Interrupt the tour guide
On the other hand, you may be bursting with questions, but make sure you’re not overstepping your boundaries. Tour guides are there to help you, but they also have set schedules they need to stick to. Stephanie Tate, a senior and student tour guide at Arizona State University, recommends holding your questions until the end of the tour. “[Tour guides] will definitely ask for [them],” she says. “If you’re patient, they may answer your question [during the tour] without you having to ask.”
3. Dress inappropriately
You may want to impress your potential fellow students with your keen fashion sense, but trust us: you’ll want to trade in those heels for a comfy pair of sneakers. “You'll be walking outside, up stairs, over potentially muddy sidewalks and usually in weather less than tropical, so save the miniskirts and pumps for another time,” says Corinne Weaver, a sophomore and student tour guide at West Virginia Wesleyan College. “Dressing up or dressing scandalously can give those you meet on campus (like professors!) and other potential students a bad first impression.”
It’s not a crime to look cute, but make sure you’re comfortable (and professional!) so you can fully enjoy your tour and put your best foot forward.
4. Get distracted
Put your smartphone away when you’re on a tour! “One thing that rubs me… the wrong way is when people have their phones out on tour,” says Megan Galema, a junior and student ambassador at William Paterson University.
Looking at your phone or talking to your friend implies that you’re uninterested in the tour and probably the school itself. Tour guides have taken the time out of their days to share their advice and experiences with you, so give them your full attention out of respect. Plus, being attentive to the tour will help you make a more informed decision when you have to!
Our advice? Turn your phone on silent and catch up with your friends on the ride home instead.