7 Ways to Make College Visits More Fun

We know you have college visits lined up left and right from now until May. While touring each campus and checking out the available dorm rooms are extremely important, it can be difficult to stay interested when you’ve seen one too many PowerPoint presentations and all the tour guides are always convinced that their particular college’s dining hall has the best food around. So how do you absorb all of the information you need while still having a good time? Here are a few tricks to keep you entertained when learning about potential schools.

1. Count the number of times your tour guide says “diversity.”


A popular selling point for most colleges, the word “diversity” is bound to come up during the information session at least once, if not more. Since you probably just finished writing the admissions essay on diversity, we’re sure you’re well versed in the topic and tired of hearing about it! By now, you know you’re not really going to see how diverse the college is from a two-second glance at various buildings, so keep busy by counting the number of times your tour guide stresses the point. Make an estimate before the information session starts and see how close you come to your guess. Also, which different synonyms does the tour guide use to describe the diversity of the campus? Unique? Distinct? One of a kind? You might even be surprised at how often the topic comes up!

2. Go on a scavenger hunt.

Make a list of stereotypical things you’ve seen on past college tours and see how many you find at the next school you go to. It can be as long or as short as you’d like, but be sure to add a football player, a person going to class in sweatpants, a dry erase board on the door of a suite (bonus points if there’s a quote on the board), a fraternity house blasting loud music during the day and a sorority girl selling baked goods to the list. What says “college” better than snacks and sweatpants?

3. See how much free stuff you can collect.


Who doesn’t love a free T-shirt? Although you may be waiting on these colleges to accept you, remember that during the campus visit, the college wants you to accept it. Try to grab as much free school memorabilia as you can, like pens, water bottles or fridge magnets from the local bookstores, libraries and maybe even some enthusiastic tour guides. To make it a bit more challenging, try having a competition between you and your parents to see who can snag the most swag!

4. Take a picture with every statue you pass by.


Many colleges pride themselves on the beauty of their campuses, and sure enough, you’ll most likely pass by a few pieces of art during the tour. Take a photo with each statue and recreate its pose. Ever wonder what those statues are thinking? For even more fun, try to duplicate the facial expression of the statues as well. Say cheese—or, if you visit the University of California, Davis (above), say, “egghead!”

5. Visit a filming location from your favorite college movies.


Did you know that some of Hollywood’s greatest movies about college were actually filmed on real college campuses? If you’re headed to the University of Southern California, stop at the Bovard Administration Building to see where Reese Witherspoon’s character pretends to have dated David, the nerd in Legally Blonde, and channel your inner Elle. At Louisiana State University, check out the empty pool where Beca attends her first riff-off with the Bellas in Pitch Perfect at the Huey P. Long Natatorium. You can also see where Jesse Eisenberg’s character in The Social Network runs across the Keyser and Wyman quads on the Homewood campus at Johns Hopkins University.

6. Ask each student about his or her favorite class.

Most college tour guides will fill you in on all the positives, but where can you really get the 411 on your new school? The best part about talking to current collegiettes is the fact that they’ll give you brutally honest answers. Ask every current student you meet on the tour what he or she thinks is the best class he or she has taken and why. You’ll receive a different answer each time, and you’ll get an idea of what the courses are like from a collegiette’s perspective. This way you can hear about some great personal experiences and maybe even meet a campus cutie while also learning what kinds of courses are offered.

7. Attend an event afterwards.


When colleges offer tours, they usually stick to the same routine—dining hall, library, dorm rooms… yeah, we get it! Stick around after the tour is over and go to an on-campus event. This can be as rowdy as a basketball game or as simple as a sorority fundraiser. You’ll get to talk to a lot of students and get a feel for the campus outside of class. After all, class is only part of your college experience!

 

On your next college visit, try out some of these tips to keep from zoning out. Chances are you’ll find interesting places or things you normally wouldn’t have, which could either make or break your top college choices!