By Bridgette Lang (CAS’23)
After two years of virtual programming, many colleges are starting to offer in-person tours and events again. With so many colleges to visit and so little time, it’s important to make sure you get the most out of your visits. Here are five tips that will help you while visiting BU or any other school:
1. Make a pros/cons list
I probably looked a bit silly on my college tours, but after seeing another student do this, I decided to keep a notebook of the pros and cons of every school I visited. Start writing your list of pros and cons during the admissions presentation and then, immediately follow up after you’ve seen the campus. What did you think of the majors offered, housing, and extracurriculars? If you start making a list during your tour, you can easily reference what you wrote while writing your college application essays. It’s a lot easier to name what stood out about a school when you have a premade list! I also used this list when deciding where to enroll.
2. Sign up for a tour
You may be saying, “Duh! Of course,” because this tip seems like a no-brainer, but from speaking to my friends and family going through the college admissions process, not everyone takes a tour! You might be in a rush or only think you need to walk around campus, but taking a real tour can show you things you would have missed by yourself. Tour guides will show you parts of campus that you may just stroll by and not see.
3. Get your tour guide or another current student’s email address
You’re bound to have questions later, and if you can’t find the answers, emailing your guide is a great option. It may seem a bit scary to go get their contact information, but you won’t regret it. You’ve already established contact with them, and generally speaking, it’s their job to help you. Whether you’re filling out an application or deciding what school to enroll in, your tour guide can give you a personal perspective of their experiences.
4. Pay a special visit to your departmental building
If you have any idea of what you’re majoring in, check out the building or office that your classes will be taking place in. For example, if you’re studying business, you can swing by the Questrom School of Business, or if you’re studying political science, there will be a separate office just outside of the College of Arts and Sciences for that. You will likely be taking the majority of your classes in one building, so make sure you like it! Also, see if there are any bulletin boards or flyers. What are students in your major doing in their free time, and what kinds of events are offered? You might want to include that in your pros and cons list!
5. Visit the surrounding areas
After you’re done walking around campus, try to visit the surrounding areas in order to ensure you feel comfortable. One of the main things I paid attention to during my off-campus visits were if there were shops within walking distance. Would you feel okay traveling to this spot to get groceries, meeting your friends for coffee, or spending some time shopping? For some people, convenience and access really make a difference.
Photo by Jackie Ricciardi for Boston University Photography.