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College tours change student minds

THURS.| 2-2-23 | OPINION

     No two colleges are exactly the same. Colleges across the country differ in size, location and the atmosphere created by their students. Some unique qualities of colleges appeal to students because of their interests and what certain schools bring to the table. That’s why college tours are a golden opportunity for students to experience what their time on college campuses could be like. College tours are available all throughout the school year. These tours are a way for schools to show off what sets them apart and brag about the accomplishments of their departments and students. 

     The tours are often led by students who attend the school and do their best to display 

College Tours.jpg

Photo by Reagan Carson

their school pride. Whether or not these student leaders are efficient at their task, is always a toss-up. On some of my college tours, I have had wonderful guides who gave me a true sense of what their school is like. However, in some cases I have had guides who clearly had no interest in being there;it is as though they were there purely out of requirement. Whenever I find myself stuck with an unamused guide, it makes me dread the rest of the tour. I lost some of my interest in the school simply because of one unhappy student. That is why the key to a successful tour is a personable guide. In addition, tour guides are sometimes paid for their services and are only there for the paycheck. They are not actually there to share their joy for the school. 

     Some families commit to traveling across state lines for college tours. These tours can become an excuse for an impromptu family vacation in the middle of the year. By making these tours a vacation of sorts, it allows the potential student to have more time to digest their surroundings. They can get a real sense of the campus town and see if it fits their wants or needs. It gives them the chance to fully understand the experience of attending college in that location. They are presented with the opportunity to venture somewhere new and experience a greater sense of independence.

     Finally, college tours are the most valuable when it comes to seeing if a college is all the student ever dreamed it would be. Often, students tend to build up an expectation of what college they are interested in. We fantasize about what it would be like to go there based on pictures of the school, the programs they offer and how it is sold to us. That is why seeing and experiencing that college in person is so crucial, to make sure it is everything we dreamed of. 

     Last year, I had my heart set on going to William and Mary. It was my absolute dream school because of its historic location, beautiful campus and programs. I decided to take a tour of their campus and truly find out if it was right for me. That tour changed how I saw everything. Their style of conducting classes, their students and many other things did not fit with what I wanted in a college. It was the opposite of everything I wanted. That tour showed me that I would be unhappy in a school that I thought was my dream.

     On the other hand, I never had my heart set on attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It was a school that I simply thought wasn’t for me. My mother however managed to drag me onto a tour and I am very thankful that she did. On the tour, I had a brilliant guide. She talked about the interests that she was able to pursue at Chapel Hill, as well as several other opportunities. I was sold by the campus’ beauty and what it could offer me. Now, it is now my dream school simply because of one tour.

     College tours can sometimes seem like a hassle. It takes a lot of work to pack up and go somewhere. Then even on top of this, there is the chance of having to miss school or work to simply go. However, in the end it’s worth the journey. College tours open students’ eyes to what school is right for them. Students in their junior and senior years should take advantage of them, and go to as many as possible. In the end, the absences are mostly excused anyway.

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