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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
’Tis the season for many high school students: Time to take college campus tours. Some of us line up a cross country itinerary to see a gazillion schools in one fell swoop. Most of us don’t have that kind of travel budget, though, so we pick a few at a time. Some even wait until the acceptance letter is in hand. • However you plan to tackle this rite of autumn (or winter or spring or summer), here are some tips to help you make the most of your college visits, from Serge W. Desir Jr., associate director of the Office of Admissions and Outreach at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.
DYLAN DUSSEAULT, St. Petersburg Catholic
The most important thing to look for is “fit.”
If you don’t feel as though you can see yourself prospering in and graduating from a college or university in four years, you need to re-evaluate your interest. Sometimes, a student’s interest in a school is based upon things such as reputation, parental perspective and where friends are going. While these things are certainly valid in the consideration process, you need to make sure you feel as though you can find a place all your own at the school you might select. There are some tangible elements associated with fit, such as the major, housing and affordability; however, intangibles including campus culture and ecology (more traditional environment vs. nontraditional, for example) are the qualities that really make or break a student’s interest in a college. Asking current students or (very) recent graduates is often one of the best things to do during a college visit.
Only you can determine if a school fits you right.
Every student should come up with a list of features and qualities they believe are necessary to ensure college success and rate each school in which there’s an interest according to that list. Yes, there are some givens: cost, scholarship offers, quality of housing, to name a few. Yet, there are others that are not so obvious. What’s the weather like? How close to home will you be? Is the school located in an urban environment, or is the school in the center of the town? These are questions that cannot always be answered without an actual visit, so making the time to tour the final four or five schools in the fall and early spring is a necessity.
If you cannot get into a residence hall during a formal campus visit, try to talk with current students.
It’s probable that your campus visit will be conducted by a student tour guide or ambassador, and many of these students live on campus or did so in the past. Also check out the residence life/housing website for information on floor plans. Finally, even if it doesn’t offer actual residence hall tours, the housing office might have brochures available for visitors. It’s important to note that schools that do not offer housing tours are probably in that situation because their housing is popular, and they don’t have rooms available to set aside specifically for visitors. Finding out the particulars on the housing process — always an important step regardless of tour access — is especially critical in such situations.
Do not hesitate to ask any questions of your guide.
The tour guide, in addition to being an admissions counselor/recruiter, is a prospective student’s greatest campus visit resource because the guide has already experienced what it means to be a student at a given school. A tour guide is a student who is taking time out of a busy academic and social schedule to promote a school the guide loves, often with little to no financial compensation. In short, this is someone whose opinion on any number of matters should be valued. Make sure your questions are polite and specific; it’s important to show the tour guide that you’ve done some research because it will help make sure they can answer your questions in a manner most conducive to your interests. And, in a group setting, the quality of your questions will help other visitors have a better understanding of what a given school has to offer.
Some schools’ academic programs will have separate tours.
The best way to discover these opportunities is to visit the website of the major in question. Taking advantage of these opportunities is something every student who has an idea of what he wants to do should consider.