Many future students take campus tours when university or college hunting. They’re a great way to learn about and get a feel for what could be your school. Academics, campus layout, the social environment, student resources, overall location, and school activities are factors that will affect where you apply and, ultimately, go to school.
Check out our tips for how to make the most of your campus tour and simplify the decision-making process when it comes to choosing your school.
Tour the Residences
Colleges and universities offer a few residence options either on or off campus. If you live on campus, your only option is to stay in a residence. Many college or university freshmen choose to live in residence first year, but they offer limited types of dwellings, space, and roommate options. Conversely, you could live off campus. Off-campus housing can include your own home, your own apartment, or unique, student-focused apartments like those offered at 1Eleven. To make an informed decision about where to live, make sure you tour as many housing options as possible. 1Eleven's Ottawa student housing, for instance, is affordable, amenity rich, and within walking distance to the University of Ottawa and a short bus ride to Carleton University. A tour of this type of off-campus housing will help you thoroughly explore all your options and choose the right type of housing.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Asking questions is the best way to learn as much as possible during a campus tour. Keep your questions on your phone and ready to fire at will. These questions can be directed at the tour guide, any faculty or school staff you interact with and other current students. You can ask the students questions about campus life, the social atmosphere, campus amenities and more. Additionally, ask questions that fit your academic interests and possible future major. Remember that this is an opportunity to learn inside information that could only be known to current students.
Here are some questions you might want to ask:
- What is orientation like?
- What off campus amenities are available? Are there any local restaurants, movie theatres, arcades, etc. nearby?
- Where are the hangout spots? Where do people hang out between classes?
- Where are the best study spots?
- What don’t you like about the school?
- Why did you choose this school?
- What’s your favourite thing about the school?
- If you could change one thing about the school, what would it be?
Go Off the Tour Path
University is all about independence and finding your own path. This journey and freedom could begin during your campus tours. Wandering away from the tour for a little while could reveal hidden gems. For example, you could discover hidden hangout spots, the quietest places to study, the shortest routes to campus amenities or certain classes, the most scenic areas to relax or take in nature, etc. A side trip could also offer chances to talk to other students, faculty and/or staff you encounter. You could ask them questions about the academics, resources, activities, clubs, social scene, and overall atmosphere at the school. It could also be an opportunity to test your independence and experience new social interactions. Not to mention, it could help you learn more about the school. Just be sure not to wander too far or too long, keep track of your tour group, and rejoin them when ready.
Research and Take Notes
Taking the time to do a little research into the school and area can equip you with the knowledge you need to make your campus tour as successful as possible. For example, it could help you formulate pertinent questions and determine important areas to visit. This research can be performed on the school’s website or social media profiles. To get the most out of the research and the tour experience, you should take notes. Taking notes during the tour also includes possibly taking pictures to help you recall information.
If you're planning to tour the University of Ottawa or Carleton University in the Nation's Capital, be sure to book a tour of 1Eleven, as well, and check out everything we have to offer.