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Tips for Touring Colleges and Universities

Your high school years are one of the most exciting times in your life. You’re exploring new interests, making new friends and starting to make plans for your young adult years. One of the most exciting parts of this is touring colleges and universities that you are interested in. 

Deciding which university you want to attend is a huge decision, and touring that university ahead of time can help you make sure you’re satisfied with your choice. It’s important for both students and their parents to visit and understand what to expect from the college experience. Here are some of our top college tour tips, as well as some important things to consider when choosing a college. 

How To Prepare For a College Tour

To make the most of your college tour, you’ll want to do some research ahead of time and get everything organized. Here’s how to prepare for a college tour

  • Create a schedule so you can see as much as possible in the limited time you have on campus.
  • Research the university’s history and culture.
  • Make a list of questions to ask your tour guide or faculty. See examples in the next section.
  • Make meeting appointments if you have a specific program you’re interested in. 

How To Dress for a College Tour

In general, you can dress casually, but avoid wearing anything ripped or dirty, or anything that could potentially be offensive. You’ll be doing a lot of walking on your tour, so be sure to wear comfortable and supportive shoes. You’ll also likely be spending some time outside, so be sure to check the weather beforehand and bring a jacket if necessary. 

Questions to Ask on a College Tour

Asking questions is one of the best ways to learn more about what to expect from your college experience. Here are some examples of questions to ask on a college tour. Be sure to tailor these questions to suit your interests and the college you’re visiting. 

Academic Questions

  • Which majors/departments is the university known for?
  • What is the average class size?
  • Are classes taught by professors, TAs, or both?
  • How are classes structured? (ie. discussions, lectures, hands-on activities)
  • Are tutoring services available?

Campus Life Questions

  • What do you students do for fun outside of class? 
  • What food options are available on campus? 
  • How diverse is the student body? 
  • How prevalent are fraternities and sororities on campus? 

Safety Questions

  • What measures are in place to keep students safe on campus? 
  • Is the surrounding community safe for students? 

Financial Questions

  • How many students receive financial aid?
  • What is the cost of living like on campus? 
  • When will prospective students learn about the financial aid options available to them? 

Career Preparation Questions

  • Is it easy to find summer or part-time jobs on campus? 
  • Are there internship programs available?
  • How does the university help students navigate the transition to the workforce?

Things to Consider When Choosing a College

Choosing a college is a big decision and there are a variety of factors to keep in mind when narrowing down your options. Of course, you’ll want to look at the academic programs and make sure that they fit your needs. Consider what majors are available and the reputation of the university’s faculty. 

However, there’s much more to your college experience than just academics. You’ll need to consider your desired lifestyle. For example, some people may thrive at a big state university, while others prefer a smaller, more specialized program. While it’s important to consider all the pros and cons, you’ll ultimately need to weigh these factors based on your individual preferences and goals. 

Finally, you’ll need to consider the cost of the university and whether it fits into your budget. Consider tuition costs, housing, parking, food and textbooks as well as your financial aid options. This will help you determine how much you’ll need to pay out of pocket per term. 

Take a Tour Off Campus

When selecting a college to attend, it’s not only important to assess the school itself, but also the city or town surrounding it. As a college student, you’ll be a part of this community, so you’ll want to make sure that you feel welcome and comfortable exploring the area. It’s also important that the community offers things to do that you enjoy.

There are many ways to get a feel for the surrounding area while visiting for a college tour. Be sure to walk around the commercial and residential areas near campus. Check out local restaurants, parks, museums and other attractions to get an idea of what the area has to offer. You can even talk to locals when possible to get different perspectives on living in the town. 

College Touring Tips for Parents

As a parent, it’s important to be involved in your child’s college tour. Here are some college tour tips for parents to help you support your child through this experience. 

  • Take your own notes. Your child may be more focused on campus life than academics.
  • Avoid speaking for your child and encourage them to make their own decisions.
  • Let your child explore alone so that they can visit student organizations and make friends.

Stay at The Hotel at UMD for Your College Tour

If you’re planning a tour at the University of Maryland College Park, be sure to book your stay with the Hotel at UMD. With a convenient location right on campus and plenty of amazing amenities to check out, staying with us will make your visit even more exciting. Be sure to check out our accommodations and special offers before you book!


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