A Tour of the Future

Juniors at Marriotts Ridge High School prepare for their future as college registrations come closer.

Choosing a college can be difficult, so students will often use campus visits to help narrow down their choices. College touring helps students determine if a college is the right place for them.
“[Touring colleges] gives you a sense of where the campus is and what it’s like there because pictures don’t really do colleges justice,” junior Emmeris Kim said.
Since students will spend their time studying, working, and hanging out in the place they decide, they will typically look for a college where they can feel included and safe. Choosing a college means choosing the path for the next stage of their life, and this fact can make students nervous.
“Find a major you’re interested in first, and then go look up schools you know what’s good for that major. Or, if you want to live in a specific area, you can look for a state. I would just focus on a major and area,” junior Samantha Rigg advised.
Knowing what major the student wants and the location they want to be in is essential, but when those requirements are met, other qualities such as safety, student life and appearance should be considered. Touring colleges allow students to have an in-person experience. Tours offer a look into the college’s social environment, the quality of their buildings, the ambiance and everything else that is important to potential applicants.
“A lot of stuff is online nowadays, but it’s really beneficial to see if you naturally like the feel there because it’s where you’ll be living for four years,” junior Ethan Peters said.
The next step of searching for colleges is to register for tours to experience the college in person.
“You can go traditional: register. But what I do normally is walk around the college because a lot of times you can just walk into college campuses and classes. No, there is [no security]. A lot of colleges are open campuses. It’s actually much better that way since, when you’re on tour, they tell you a lot of stuff you don’t care about or go to where you want to,” junior Jonah Woo said.
Registering can happen on any platform, paper or digital form. Peters explained how he applied to tour colleges and how beneficial the way he applied was.
“It’s super easy [to apply for a tour]; just go to the college website. I found mine through Naviance and College Mind. Then you just sign up for a tour, and most colleges have a tour once every one or two weeks, readily available,” Peters said. “I personally use this website called CollegeVine where you put all your preferences, what major you want to look into, and then it gives you those lists of colleges. It also makes sure you have a balanced blend of safety, reach and target schools.”
After securing time slots to see colleges, students use the experience to shape their decision on whether or not they would like to apply.
“For spring break, I toured NC State and Chapel Hill. And I can already tell they’re both in the same state, that NC State was much nicer based on the campus. You can tell NC state has a lot more money spent on their campus, whereas Chapel Hill is a little outdated,” Rigg shared.
Despite the many bonuses in touring colleges, there are only so many benefits it could provide. Woo explained how the benefits that affect students now are just as important.
“You get to see what the next chapter of your life is gonna look like. And feel inspired like, ‘Oh, this is what I’m working for’,” Woo said.
Attending college can be a pivotal moment in someone’s life and is recommended to be thought over carefully. Touring colleges allows students to know if a college is a good fit for them, providing them with reassurance in the fact that they know what their future will soon look like.