College touring is another way to help determine which schools should end up on your college list, and where you will ultimately go. College touring, while valuable, is not for everyone. If you want to visit only schools where you’ve been accepted, there are plenty of other ways to research up front and to demonstrate your interest in a particular school. Part of your research should include understanding if a school cares about Demonstrated Interest. The landscape is changing. Schools like Carnegie Mellon no longer incorporate Demonstrated Interest when evaluating applicants. This shift reminds everyone that college visits are for prospective applicants to learn specifically about what a college has to offer. Sign up for the official tour and information session. Build in the time to ask your tour guide or admissions representative questions that will help you assess if their school will support your aspirations. In addition to hosting information sessions for visiting prospective students, colleges often offer students an option to interview on campus or with Alumni. Finding out whether Interviews are a significant part of your applicant profile or purely informational will help you know whether you need to sign up in advance of your visit or schedule an interview in your hometown.
Regardless of when you tour, defining the nuances between curriculums, study abroad programs, housing, and other key criteria important to you will support better decision making for choosing schools, whether at the beginning or the end of your college search. Not all liberal arts colleges, public universities or highly selective schools have uniform institutional missions and campus environments. Walking on a college campus, meeting students, professors, coaches and taking an official tour will solidify the college search fact-finding and provide a sense of place and scale and the hands-on, realistic experience that most students need to determine their fit.
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