Tour Guides Reflect on the College Search Process

Pictured above, Back row (Left to Right): Johnathan Avila (PR, NYC), Mike Brosseau (Sports Com, MA), Billy Hild (Interactive Media, NY), Eric Vander Voort (Sports Com, NY) Front: Gina Sirico (Journalism, CT), Ignacio Borbolla (Advertising/Fashion Merch, FL).

Today we met with six of our tour guides at Marist to discuss their experience through the college search process. Now that they work with prospective students on a regular basis, we wanted to find out what advice they would have for high school students.

Marist: When do you recommend starting the “college search” process?  

EV: I think it is a good idea to start visiting colleges in junior year. The earlier you start, the better chance you have of visiting a college twice, which can really help with a decision.

GS: I recommend starting college visits to help you find out what you are looking for in a college. I visited many schools starting my junior year and eliminated some based on the feel of campus. You have to feel comfortable when you step foot on a campus, and see yourself going to class there.

IB: I started looking at colleges my junior year, but then began my visits during spring break. This let me visit a lot of schools out of state, since that was a key aspect of my college search.

MB: Junior year I met with my guidance counselor to discuss colleges and schools that might be a good fit for me. I know my counselor asked if I had any idea what major(s), activities, sports, etc. I was interested in, and we put together a list of schools based on a few different majors, activities, etc. that I expressed interest in.

Marist: What should you do prior to going on campus tours at colleges & universities?

EV: It is good to do a lot of research on the school before you get there. Go on the college’s website, check out the student newspaper’s website, etc. This will allow you to figure out what goes on around campus throughout the year, and will give you questions to ask on your tour.

JA: Definitely look up information about the school, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be academic information primarily. Look up student life, activities; every college has a College Activities office. See what they provide for students during the year.

MB: Don’t overdo your research about the college though. You want to go in with questions to ask, but then also ask questions based on what Admissions Counselors and tour guides talk about throughout the tour. They are your link to student experiences at the college, so let them give you information as well.

Marist: How can students get the most out of their time while visiting colleges/universities?

GS: Ask the tour guide for a recommendation of a place to eat; that way you can see where students go eat. Don’t ask for the nicest places, but where the students go. Walk around campus after the tour and talk to current students and see what they think, so that you can get multiple perspectives on student life.

MB: Let your tour guide know about certain parts of campus and academic programs you want to know about ahead of time. This will enable them to give you information that you are looking for on your visit to campus. If they do not address some of the questions you may have, ask to speak with an Admissions Counselor after your tour is over!

EV: Talking to students is key. Take advantage of going on a tour and use this as an opportunity to get to know the tour guide. Ask them specifically what they love about the school, why they chose the school, advice, etc.

BH: Don’t hesitate to ask questions! If you don’t ask questions, you don’t learn anything new!

Marist: What is the weirdest question or experience you have had on a tour?

GS: I was recently giving a tour to independent counselors, and I was asked, “What are some of Marist’s traditions?” which was something that I’ve never been asked before. It’s a unique way to find out small stuff about college life. For example, a tradition here at Marist is jumping into the Hudson River before you graduate. Another example is sledding on the hill in front of the library during the winters first snowstorm! Small stuff like that can make a difference in a college experience.

JA: “Will you date my daughter?”

MB: I was asked a question about curfew’s in the residence halls here at Marist. It was a unique question to ask because I did not even think that some colleges may have curfews. While Marist may not necessarily have a set curfew, I definitely recommend getting a full 8 hours of sleep each night. College is the best four years of your life, and I definitely can attest to needing sleep for all of it!

BH: “Does Marist make fried chicken for dinner on Thursdays?” It was an oddly specific question!

Marist: How many college visits did you go on?

JA: 9

GS: I went on 6 college tours, and drove through a few more campuses that were near schools I toured at.

IB: Overall, I went to 8 different tours at various colleges and I realized Marist was the right fit! It had everything that I was looking for in my college experience!

MB: When I was going through my personal college search process, I went on tours to 5 other schools, in addition to attending the Marist Summer Pre-College Institute going into my senior year of high school. When going on college tours, don’t go on so many tours that the process becomes stressful. Go to a mixture of schools so you can see something different each time and find out what is or isn’t for you! But in addition, try not to book more than one or two visits in a day because they start to blend together. Take notes after each one so that you can compare the schools and figure out what is the best fit for you!

Visit Marist. Summer tours every Monday – Friday from now until August 17th.

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