Seeing Past a Bad College Tour

on August 24, 2017

A bad college tour can be disenchanting, especially if what you experience doesn't match what you expected. But don't despair: Just because a college visit gave you a negative impression doesn't mean you need to reconsider your choice.


Here are a few things to consider if you find yourself in this position:


Tour guides don't represent the entire student body. You don’t always connect with your tour guide. Maybe their personality rubs you the wrong way or you don't like the way they sold the college. Even though tour guides are selected to be the face of a college, they don't represent the entire student body. Just because you wouldn't be friends with them doesn't mean you won't find friends or like the atmosphere. Try going on a second tour — you can always leave halfway through if it's just as bad — or ask the admissions office if you can speak to an ambassador from your preferred major.


You won't see the entire campus in a single day. Equally important on a college tour is your impression of the campus, and a bad one can leave you with serious doubts about being happy at a college. Even though you might tour various dorms, academic departments and student centers, tours can't cover the entire campus. Ask your tour guide or an admissions counselor if what you’ve observed is normal. It's also worth exploring campus on your own. You also should ask current students about their experience.


It’s worth consulting other sources. Although college tours are important, they gloss over many details in an attempt to show prospective students the big picture. If you're concerned about something during your tour, ask another student, an admissions officer or an alumnus what they think. Additional sources will be able to provide you with perspectives that will further inform your decision. 


There are other options. Even if your college tour was unredeemable and you're completely convinced that a college isn't for you, think of it this way: You dodged a bullet. Identify what specifically failed to appeal to you and then use that information to look for colleges you like. Your college choice is college is extremely important to your future. After a bad college tour, reflect, regroup and move on with your journey. 

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