1. Eat in the cafeteria: You will usually be living off of this food when you go to the school, so you want to know what you are getting into. Don’t rely on other people’s opinion of it, try some yourself. And see if you can eat it on a regular day; the food is always at its best on visitation days.
2. Get information from more than one source: I work in my school’s student center, so I witness a lot of tours. One day I witnessed a girl telling outright lies to a group of potential new students, and she was hired to give tours! Don’t make a decision based on what may be false information. Also, the students giving tours are usually paid to make the school look good, so they may be leaving out important information in an effort to make the school look perfect.
3. Ask about the negatives: No school is perfect but the tour guides want to make it seem like their school is the exception. So find out what students would prefer was different or what they wished they knew about the school before they choose it.
4. Find out about the activities you are interested in: If having service opportunities is must, find out before hand how available they are. However, if you want a school that has a Philosophy club but this school doesn’t have one, find out how difficult it is to form new organizations.
5. Attend at least one class: Are the teachers willing to help you learn? Do you have similar goals to the current student body? The best way to find out is to witness a class firsthand, ideally a lower level class and an upper level class in your field of interest. Which brings us to point seven:
6. Find out about your desired program: If you haven’t decided on your major, don’t worry. But if you have a program that is a must, or a definite possibility, find out about it at your potential school. Meet with the teachers, and ask lot’s of questions. If at all possible, you don’t want to start at a school and get attached to it only to find out you will have to transfer in order to pursue the career of your dreams.
7. Once you get back home, Visit the Facebook or Myspace page: This info is unedited, and it will give you a feel for how students feel about their school, positive, or negative.