When visiting a college, should I take their tour?

So I’ve gotten a few acceptance letters, and plan on visiting schools soon. Should I schedule to go on one of their tours, and what should I do while I’m there? A couple years ago, I visited Pratt on their portfolio days, and kind of went on one of their tours, but not really… I didn’t know what was going on, I got some of their catalogs and left.

What should I make sure that I do at the colleges? I guess I want to talk to students but not sure how I would approach that. What do you think guys.

Definately go on the tour (usually campus wide, not department specific). Once you’re done with the tour visit the design department and walk around, see if theres any students or faculty free to give you a more in depth tour of the facilities and projects.

Eat the food in the cafeteria (if there is one), check out the neighboring areas, local restaurants (if you’re too young to get into any bars), etc.

And don’t be afraid to approach the students, esp if you’re walking around the studios. You’re bound to find someone just sitting at their desk who can spare a few minutes to talk. It might be intimidating - but chances are you’ll never see them again anyways and if you do it’s just one more person you already know. College kids in general are pretty friendly.

Definitely take the tour! I just went around the US to visit schools myself. I think it is necessary to sit in on classes and have a meeting with someone from admissions or your department of interest. I imagine you have a lot of questions regarding the curriculum, environment, alumni network, etc. A meeting is a great opportunity to get some answers, but you’ll also want to talk to students and faculty you might see around campus. Sitting in on classes also helps get a good feel for how classes actually work. I was surprised to see how different the schools I visited were (RISD, UC, Pratt and Art Center).

kepano makes a good point. During a tour, the school tries very hard to represent itself as awesome as possible, but a class environment is actually for real.

As always, timing and respect are most important. Wait outside the class room and talk to the teacher first during a break, explain your situation and I am sure he will let you sit in on the class and even introduce you to some of the students.

When I checked out schools, I approached the department chair, he was impressed with my interest and I was able to establish contacts at my school even before I was a student there.

Don’t be intimidated or frightened, if people are annoyed or mean, you probably don’t want to go to that school anyway.


best question i ever asked on a tour:

what don’t you like about this school?

if they say nothing, that the school is perfect, they’re lying. but any answer can give you advice about how you can compare the other schools’ programs.