A Tour Can Help You Make Your College Decision
It’s the season for campus tours. Many of you have already visited a multitude of schools, but now that the verdicts are in, decisions have to be made. Therefore, this tour should look different as it should point out the pertinent things that will help your students make their final decision as to which school to attend. Of course, my daughter loves being a Bull, but your student may have specific things that will help them way out the pros and cons of each college.
Campus tours at the University of South Florida are run by both student guides and admissions professionals. Typically, the tour will start with a brief information session with the admissions professionals and then the student guides will show you around campus. The campus visit lasts about 2.5 hours, so wear comfortable shoes! With this in mind, go with a list of questions, but not the kind of questions that you can just google an answer to. Don’t be shy about asking your student guide, admissions professional, financial advisor, a specific department, or even students hanging out at Castor beach. They can be your greatest resources.
Some of the more common questions our interns found important to the prospective students are:
- What is the size of the overall campus?
- What is the size of the dorm rooms and how many people live in each room?
- What food options are available to a freshman? What does the meal plan cover and will it fit your diet?
- What are the locations of your major classes?
- What type of technology is used or available in the classrooms/libraries?
- How many printing locations are available? Is it free to print or does it cost money?
- How clean is the campus/restrooms?
- How many gyms are on campus and where are they located?
- How safe are the campus and surrounding neighborhoods?
- What is the transportation system like? Are there frequent bus stops? Available parking spaces?
- What safety precautions are on campus?
Moreover, perhaps Greek life is important to your students. I always recommend students try to get a tour of a sorority or fraternity house if they envision rushing when they get to college. In order to do so, they will have to find someone who knows someone that can get in. Perhaps you have a friend whose daughter or son is a member of a sorority or fraternity. Reach out to them before going. If you don’t know anyone in greek life since there aren’t tours, you can certainly take a quick drive through Greek Village. However, on a side note, do not let the condition of some of the frat houses scare you should you get into one. The boys tend to be much happier than their living conditions may reflect.
Another thing to keep in mind is if having specific health center capabilities nearby is of great importance to your student; go check it out. Call in advance to tour the facility. PS. There is a pharmacy on campus as well in the Marshall Student Center. Additionally, USF has specially designated dorms to accommodate students with special needs. Learn more about their Student Accessibility Services.
During your tour at USF, the guides will take you to the places they feel will impact your decision. These include academic facilities like the library, dining halls, Resident Halls, and overall places that are part of campus life like the Marshall Student Center (MSC). However, if your student has an interest in a specific field of study, we definitely recommend taking a tour of that college/program as well. If your tour guide has time, they could show you around. Otherwise, I know when my student toured we asked the guide where things were located so that we could do our own self-tour.
If you decide to go on the self-tour route there are some things to keep in mind. For starters, where do you plan on living? During the on-campus offered tours, they will typically take you to one option of dorms. However, if you’re planning on living somewhere else like the Village, go check that out on your own. More places you can check out on your own include the Marshall Student Center, Castor Beach, MLK plaza, and wherever your majors’ buildings are. For instance, if you’re a business major, you can go visit the Zimmerman building and the Muma building to get a feel for where you will spend the majority of your time.
Another thing to keep in mind is what will you be doing off-campus? A good way to better understand how your life as a bull would be is by visiting places around campus as well. However, if you can’t make it on campus don’t worry. Another way to see all of what USF offers is its virtual tour. Every student is different and there are many aspects of a school that could be important to different students. If you’re religious and that is important to your student, be sure to check out the student organizations around campus. We have information on the on and off-campus religious organizations.
Moreover, if your student is more worried about academics, another place you may want to visit during your tour is the registrar’s office to be sure that your credits would transfer from any AP, AICE, or dual enrollment classes too. Perhaps the Judy Genshaft honors college is more your student’s interest, definitely be sure to make this one of your stops at USF. The program is slightly more rigorous so be sure it will be a good fit.
The USF Athletics department is another big part of campus life. From football to basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, gymnastics, lacrosse, golf, tennis, track, volleyball, and more, USF has it all. And, if your student is interested in competing but at the club level, there are over 40 to compete in.
Overall, there really is no better way to get a sense of how you truly feel about a college until you step foot on campus. Finally, while I loved USF as did my daughter, it is important that you love USF. Make the most out of your campus tours by asking the necessary questions, visiting places you’re going to be, and getting a feel for your life as a future bull!
USF Mom Blogger and Lindsay Fine, USF Intern
Pass on these great tips, tell your friends and like us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Find out more about how to use HaveUHeard as a great resource. Sign up for other great tips at haveuheard.com.