I know searching for your perfect college can take some time and a lot of research, but I definitely suggest visiting as many colleges as you can to help aid in that search. Some colleges seem great on paper or in pictures, but really don’t tell you the whole story about what the real vibe of the campus is as a whole.
I asked myself a lot of things that had to do with the vibe and feeling when I was touring colleges. Did people seem like they were enjoying their time on campus as current students? Do the facilities look up to date and have everything to help me meet my goals? Do I like the design and layout of the campus I’m going to be spending my whole college experience at? All the important questions that might be hard to answer unless you actually pick yourself up and get yourself on some of those tours. A lot of the time, tour guides have other information you might not normally see on the website that they will be able to provide. Plus, you are getting some really cool first-hand interactions with people who go to a college you might end up attending.
I always say the best time you can go on a tour is on a weekday. You can actually see the college in its typical active state. That way, you can really get a feel for what the buzz and activity level is on campus and see if it really clicks with you. I feel like everyone has this “Aha!” moment when they know they’ve found the right college. They usually don’t get that moment until they’ve visited and really seal the deal on a location (if they can visit).
When I first went on a tour for RIT, I took a Tuesday off of school and my five friends and I all took a road trip over from our small town in Massachusetts. I had looked at pictures of campus on the website, but they just didn't do the campus justice at all. I got a much better and more in-depth look at all the facilities and received important information I needed to help me determine what school I wanted to make my first choice.
The good thing about tours is you get so much useful information in a condensed amount of time. You are literally immersed in the college campus, while the tour guide is explaining all this beneficial information to help you make your decision as accurately as you can. Sometimes it could take hours sifting through all that information online or through pictures, whereas a tour would provide so much more in a fraction of that time. Tours give you everything at once and allow you to ask your own questions to a tour guide - you wouldn’t be able to ask a computer questions such as a tour guide's personal experiences on campus.
In the end, visiting college campuses is honestly the biggest thing that helped me determine my college choices. If you can’t get out there to a far away location, don’t sweat it. But, if it’s a manageable drive and a college you are seriously considering, then get in gear and make that college tour happen. College is more than just a location, it’s a stepping stone for your career - so you have to put in the effort.