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Making the Most of Your Campus Tour

Of all parts of the college application process, I always found campus tours to be the most fun. Rather than just writing essays, studying for standardized tests, and comparing programs, tours are your first real chance to imagine yourself as a college student and really see yourself attending a particular school. It’s when the idea of going off to college pretty soon starts to feel real. 

Once you visit more than a few schools, all the tours and information sessions can start to blend together. So, here are some tips on how to make the most of your time while you are visiting the University of Rochester (or any school!).

Ask the questions you really want to hear the answers to:

Your campus tour is not an interview. Remember, the people who lead the tours are not administrators, they are current students. This is your chance to ask questions about living and personal experiences that you are actually interested in. There’s no shame in asking anything! 

Information about things like degree requirements and acceptance rates can be found on the University of Rochester website. Tour guides sign up to give personal experiences and will be honest, so don’t be afraid to ask unconventional questions.

Consider sitting in on a class:

If you have a little extra time to spare, consider choosing a class to sit in on and listen. This can help you get a feel for the school and the types of classes offered here. When I went on my campus tour, I went on the University of Rochester Course Descriptions/Course Schedule (CDCS) website and looked up classes related to my interests at the time. Once I found courses that sounded interesting, I emailed two professors and asked if I could join one of their lectures, and both said yes! 

Check out Rochester’s CDCS

This by no means has to determine what you plan on studying in college. It is just a good tool to help determine if you can really see yourself as a student here. This is the email I sent, which can be used as a template: 

Dear Professor (NAME),

My name is Rachel Markowitz and I am a high school senior from Westfield, New Jersey. I am applying to University of Rochester, most likely early decision, and am considering studying psychology. I am visiting for an admissions interview on September 30 to October 1 and am interested in sitting in on a psychology class while I am here. I was wondering if it would be possible for me to sit in on the 2:00 Introduction to Psychology class on September 30th. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely, Rachel Markowitz

It is not a guarantee that professors will have space in their classrooms, but it never hurts to ask. Remember to be polite and professional when reaching out — these can end up being your professors in the future. 

Know any current students? Reach out!

This tip is not applicable to everyone, but if you happen to know anyone who is a current student, they can be an amazing resource for getting to know the school. A guest swipe into the dining hall, a quick trip to the campus Starbucks, or a peek inside of a dorm room can help you figure out if you can really see yourself attending a school. On my visit to the University of Rochester, I got lunch at the Pit and then spent a few minutes in one of the lounges in a first-year dorm hall. This helped me gain a better understanding of the social scene and vibe of the student body.

Crossing the pedestrian bridge onto campus

If you don’t have any connections to current students, I still encourage you to explore a little bit on and off campus. Really get a feel for the area and see if it is a place you could imagine yourself. 

Campus tours are your chance to learn the things about campus life that cannot be found on a university website or brochure. Take this opportunity to be present and really imagine yourself at the schools you visit. This will help you decide what school is the best fit for you, and make a knowledgeable decision of where you want to spend the next four years. 

Explore campus visit opportunities

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