College tours demystified


“We have the best alumni database all over the country.”

“Our students have such special relationships with their professors.”

       “We have every club you can imagine.”

Chances are, if you’ve ever followed overly-enthusiastic tour guides around their beloved college campuses, you’ve heard all of these glittering generalities. If you’re visiting colleges, this is the anthem that every tour guide will sing to you.

After a certain point, to say it gets redundant would be an understatement. If you’re anything like me, your feelings towards these cliché college promises will come in three stages.

Stage one is the first time you hear how unique their academic philosophy is or how nice the meal plans are. Considering that this information is all very new, it will be very exciting. What school could possibly compare to one where the library gets quieter as the floors go up?

As it turns out, a lot.

Stage two occurs with the next two or three schools you see. Now it’s the big reveal. That first school with the high tech library full of crazy looking computers and cozy dorm lounges is knocked off its pedestal by all of the schools with the exact same amenities.

Finally, stage three: chances are you’re now four or five tours into your search and the perpetual repetition of the “unique” characteristics are beginning to become frustrating. You’re trailing behind your guides as they struggle to walk backwards, and you’re pretty convinced you could give the same tour just as well.

This issue is virtually unavoidable, because every tour guide you will meet will have the same case of college fever.

That being said, my best advice is to do your best to focus less on the repetitive chichés and more on making sure you warn your guide when she is about to walk into a telephone pole.