My brother, a sophomore at a university in Albany, just texted me saying “I just saw a tour group walk by on campus… I don’t think they had any fun facts like yours do.” My friends and family poke fun at my tour guiding skills because as far as they know I just tell stories about Ritchie the tiger and shenanigans on the quarter mile (in reality I discuss real information about the colleges and classes on campus)… But that text got me thinking about the importance of taking a campus tour. You cannot truly know if you are going to enjoy a school unless you step foot on the campus and experience the atmosphere, meet real students, and imagine yourself walking around.
In addition, the tour guide can make or break a school for some students. Of all the tours I went on, if the tour guide was not excited about the campus, I because less interested in pursuing that school. If a tour guide is engaging and talkative you are more likely to remember the tour and ask questions while on it. It is from his theory that I tell stories and jokes to engage my listeners and help them get a taste of life at RIT.
The other revelation I had was the fact that going to school close to home is not as bad as it sounds. I cannot talk from experience, as Rochester is about 4 hours from Albany, but my brother stayed in Albany for his college degree. The two of us toured his campus as a way to pass time during a day off from high school. We walked in the back of the tour group and made fun of the tour guide for praising the near by shopping centers and night life (both topics we were SO familiar with we wanted to laugh about it). Neither of us wanted to stay so close to home or imagined we would. By growing up so close to the surrounding schools we became to comfortable with them and joked about what they had to offer… never actually researching the school…. However after taking the tour I was blown away with what the college had to offer – a top business program, engineering classes… the tour made us do a double take. Justin ended up falling in love and enrolling. He is only 20 minutes from a home cooked meal and keys to the car…
So for the locals, don’t rule out RIT solely because it is down the street… come take a tour, you may be surprised with what ACTUALLY happens/what is offered on campus. When you move into your dorm (even if its 20 minutes from your parents) life changes and a college campus is a WHOLE different world from the suburbs that surround it.