50 THE QUEENS COURIER • HIGHER EDUCATION • MAY 22, 2014 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT www.queenscourier.com MAKING THE MOST OF COLLEGE TOURS BY MEAGHAN MCGOLDRICK PAY ATTENTION higher education This may sound like common knowledge, but you’d be surprised. Look up from your phone – in fact, put it away for the afternoon – and listen to your tour guide. (Be serious. Are you really listening?) Most importantly, don’t check out just because you’re tired, hungry or not feeling the school yet. Interact with the school. HAVE AN OPEN MIND You’re not going to like everything about one school – and there’s no perfect school. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean that school doesn’t have anything to offer you. “No matter how perfect a place seems, you’re going to have really hard days and really great days,” said J.P. Catalanotto, a college junior. “Don’t look for the place with the best campus or the best programs – look for the place that’s going to foster the possibility of you becoming the person you’re doing your best to be some day.” ASK QUESTIONS Don’t limit your conversation to your tour guide. Wander off a bit and ask some students (who aren’t getting paid or being forced to lead you around) what they think about the school – honestly. Ask whatever comes to mind – and don’t censor yourself. (What made you decide this was the right school for you? Do you still like it? How is the nightlife? How good is the food?) Don’t be afraid to approach the staff, either. “Sit down with a school counselor afterwards if you can,” said Hastings. “Get business cards, too, so you can keep in touch.” TAKE NOTES Odds are, this isn’t the only college you’ll be seeing this summer – or this year. Take notes – and pictures -- so you remember what traits each college had (good or bad). This will help you grasp those details not listed on the school site. “You can look up all the facts and buildings on campus but the tour guides are the difference,” said Hastings. “They can relate to the student and convey that intangible feeling that a campus provides when it’s the right fi t for a student.” Compile notes at the end of your college adventure, and compare and contrast. Weigh your options. The stakes are too high to think that’s the campus with the free meal plan you liked. TRUST YOUR GUT Leave expectations at home when you check out schools this summer. Don’t visit a bigger school with your heart set on a small one. Give each and every tour you take a fi ghting chance, and trust your gut on this one – it’s often right. ‘Tis the season for that college visit. Whether it’s close to home or across the country, make the most of each college tour this summer, no matter what number it is on your tops list.
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