The best way to zero in on your favorite school or schools is to schedule a campus tour. With the pandemic easing, some schools are returning to guided, in-person tours, but others remain locked down. Find out if in-person tours for prospective students are possible (some are only for those already admitted). Don’t be discouraged. Between virtual tours, self-guided visits and a combination of both, most schools have created opportunities to introduce themselves to prospective students.
Here are some common alternatives to guided, in-person tours:
- Virtual tours. An easy, free way to get a first look at a school.
- Self-guided, outdoor-only tours. Walk the campus with a downloadable audio or visual guide.
- Drive-thru visits. Tour the campus from the safety of your car with a downloadable guide.
Other tips for a successful visit:
- Plan ahead. Spring of your junior year or the summer or early fall before your senior year are great times to visit.
- Speak to an admissions officer—either in-person, online or on the phone.
- Gather financial aid information.
- Speak to students. They’re often the ones who lead in-person tours.
- If possible, sit in on a class and visit a dining hall or student union.
- Ask about campus safety.
- Listen to the campus radio station and look at the school newspaper and other publications online to learn about what’s happening at a school.
Lindsay Mergy, 23
Hometown: Columbia City, Indiana
After high school: I picked Eleven Fifty Academy, a coding bootcamp, because I didn’t have enough experience to know for certain that I wanted to commit to coding as a career. I took the intro course to get started down that path.
Best Advice: The worst thing you can do in life is never try and never know ‘what if’ everything had turned out alright. The sooner you can try things and learn a lesson—even if the lesson is ‘wow I really don’t want to do that thing for a career’—the better!
Bonus: If there are any alternative options that get you where you want to go, even if they don’t come with a fancy title or piece of paper, that’s OK! What matters most is working hard until you decide you want to try something else. Then, work as hard as you can in that direction!
Andre Hicks, 20
Hometown: Evansville, Indiana
College choice: I go to the University of Southern Indiana. I chose it because it was the most affordable and practical option. Staying at home for “Free .99” vs paying thousands on thousands to live in a dorm in the same city I live in? It was a no-brainer.
Major: Business Administration with a concentration in Small Business & Entrepreneurship.
Extras: When not in school, I work part time at Stifel-Ruder Investment Group as Client Services Associate and am the goalkeeper coach for Evansville Bosse High School’s Men’s Varsity Soccer Team. I’m pretty busy, but I know it will be worth it in the long run.
Best Advice: DO NOT wait until the last minute to change your major. Not all classes will transfer to another major, so do not stick with something you do not like until the last minute because it will be a lengthy process (along with tons of money) to catch up and graduate on time.
Survival tips: DO NOT procrastinate; working ahead is your best bet, especially in college. Also, find a hobby, it helps you take a break from school. My hobbies are cutting grass, working out, playing FIFA, and traveling. Make time for yourself—everyone needs it.