What to Bring on a College Tour
Are you headed out for college tours? Between our two oldest sons, I have walked through a lot of college campuses. I have listened to counselor presentations, sampled the food, and bought the t-shirts for more colleges that I can remember. These tours give rise to both dreams and head-shaking. They can also try your patience and your feet. Read on for a survival list of What to Bring on a College Tour.
What to Bring on a College Tour
Don’t leave home without:
Sensible, non-brand-new shoes and/or BAND-AIDS:
You will see a variety of clothing and footwear options on college tours. Do not follow the example of most of these people. In every group, there will be at least one prospective female student dressed in an adorable outfit and heels. She is usually with her mother, who is also well dressed, but in slightly more sensible footwear. Others seemed dressed in what is appropriate for their home state. I once saw a mother from New York was wearing corduroy pants and boots on a 78-degree day in California. I started sweating looking at her.
Leave fashion aside and wear comfortable, walking shoes.
Your camera or smartphone camera
Most campuses have at least one location that makes it truly unique and photo-worthy.
Views of the Pacific Ocean from the Pepperdine campus in Malibu make great backdrops for Christmas card-worthy family photos and the University of Southern California is the only place you will be able to get a picture of your kids touching OJ Simpson’s Heisman Trophy. Baylor University has real live bears.
In addition to sight-seeing pictures, a few pictures of the campus and the sample dorm room will help you remember the specifics of each tour after all the campuses start running together in your head.
A working writing utensil and a List of Questions to Ask
Those counselor lectures fly by and contain a huge amount of detail. Jotting a few notes can save hours searching through the website later for the information. Check out College Visit Checklist: 30 Must Ask College Visit Questions.
Your Planning for College Planner
After going through not only the college tour process, but also the entire journey from the freshman year of high school to the freshman year of college, I created a Planning for College planner to help high school students and their parents navigate college admissions. The planner contains pages to take notes and evaluate each visit while you can still remember what the tour guide said.
I also now have a College Preparation Template with an app, so you can fill out the answers to the 30 Must Ask College Visit Questions while touring!!
A sense of humor and adventure
The search for the “perfect” school for each kiddo can be stressful. On our Southern California tour, my husband and I successfully navigated through Los Angeles without completely losing our minds, but getting to USC required about 6 trips around the block to get into the correct turn-lane for the college entrance and my husband and son had to jump as I briefly slowed the car in a construction zone on the UCLA campus to be on time for that tour. Even if it is your alma mater, the streets and parking will not be exactly like they were 25 years ago when you attended school there.
Yes, it’s really happening. Your child is going to attend one of the schools you traipse through following a college student walking backwards. You may as well get on board, have fun along the way, and don’t forget What to Bring on a College Tour.