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A high schooler’s guide to the college tour

As a high school student, you quite often find yourself looking to your future. At a certain point in your high school career, you might start thinking about college. After a while, college starts to take over your thinking and you find yourself madly researching colleges as every person imaginable is giving you suggestions on where to apply. And then, you encounter the college tour.

The college tour, while it is the best way to really see and get a feel for a school, is quite an experience filled with its quirks. The first few that you attend can be really exciting, but then you realize something: Every information session and campus tour is virtually the same. You soon learn to appreciate the good and try to forget the bad, but still, touring colleges is basically listening to the same presentation many, many times.

And so I present my top 20 list of things you will encounter on college tours. This list, created with the help of some of my friends, will most certainly come in handy. Read them, check them off, make a bingo board with them because you, too will experience all of this when you set off on your college visits.

1. When trying to highlight the diverse nature of the campus clubs and activities, most colleges like to bring up their Quidditch teams – like the magical flying sport from “Harry Potter.”

2. So many tour guides tell you that the college they are showing you wasn’t their first choice that you wonder if anyone actually gets accepted where they actually want to go. But don’t worry, they are always glad that they ended up at that school.

3. Without a doubt, someone, in some capacity, will say the words “biomedical engineering.”

4. One of the tour guides will be majoring in physics and calculus and minoring in rocket science

5. Your tour guide will undoubtedly tell you something that they did with their professor to prove how accessible the faculty is. “I baby-sit my psychology professor’s kids!”

6. Every campus in America has a blue light system for safety purposes; however, your tour guide has never felt unsafe.

7. Your tour guide’s friends are always doing really cool things. Your tour guide? Not so much.

8. No one ever has questions, and you will sit there in awkward silence as your presenter will look around the room with the hope in their face slowly dwindling.

9. You will see someone madly scribbling notes in a notebook and feel massively inferior.

10. When someone finally asks a question, it will be a parent asking about something that your presenter just told you.

11. Unless the question is asked by a really overinvolved kid, in which case the tour guide won’t know the answer and will answer something vague that they have obviously been taught to say.

12. Your tour guide spends much of the tour walking backward, but prefaces this by saying they are “so clumsy” so you should tell them if they are about to walk into something because one time they fell in a puddle/knocked over the president of the university/accidentally got into an elevator.

13. Guess what? Every college has classes you must take to graduate. They think this is very special and call it the “core curriculum.”

14. When admitting students, colleges like to take a holistic approach/prefer well-rounded students/look for involved leaders.

15. Your presenter or tour guide will at some point make a joke to lighten the mood. The joke is never funny, but people laugh anyway. Awkwardly.

16. Your tour guide will mention the meal plan at a point on the tour when you are very, very hungry. Also, every meal plan seems wildly confusing.

17. No one is ever really in school because they are all busy completing internships at very famous places.

18. Or, if they are not interning, they are studying abroad and making lifelong friends.

19. If a school has Greek life, sorority and fraternity members are always friendly and inviting toward non-Greeks. All of your tour guide’s friends will be affiliated, but they themselves will never be.

20. Your tour guide will tell you that the roommate matching system at the school never fails. Yet, it seems like everyone you know personally has had a terrible freshman roommate.