Tour Tutorial: Learning the "Dos and Don'ts" of Campus Visits
Spring and Summer are a busy time for Barnard Student Admissions Representatives (BSARs), the students who give tours of Barnard’s campus. As a BSAR, I have given more campus tours than I can count and have made incredible memories doing so. But I also remember being on the other side of these tours not all that long ago — driving (or flying!) for hours to see college campuses, checking into numerous visitors centers, picking up glossy pamphlets, and compiling notebooks worth of facts from the information sessions. As someone who has gone on her fair share of tours, and now gets to tell prospective students about her own college, I have learned the “dos and don’ts” of campus visits time and time again. If you plan are planning an upcoming trip to see Barnard, here are some tips to make the most of your time here:
Do … introduce yourself to the BSARs before the tour begins, and tell them about your individual interests. That way, they might be able to cater the information on the tour to your personal interests.
Do … feel encouraged to approach current students and ask them some questions about Barnard after the tour. I think you'll find Barnard students to be incredibly friendly and warm!
Do … a bit of research about the school before arriving on campus, so if you want to ask about specific programs, you can do so. However, don’t feel obligated to know everything about Barnard by the time you first set foot on campus — that’s why we offer tours!
Do … ask for your Regional Admissions Officer’s business card at the end of the information session.
Do … try some of the yummy cafes in Barnard’s neighborhood, Morningside Heights! Some of my personal favorites include Community Food and Juice, Mama’s Too, and The Hungarian Pastry Shop.
Do … ask your tour guide about her personal experiences, such as why she chose Barnard, what her transition to college was like, etc. The BSARs are often more than happy to talk about their own experiences as Barnard students.
Do … enjoy the tour! This might be your first time seeing your future college — how exciting!
Don’t … share your standardized test (SAT, ACT, AP, IB, you name it!) scores with your tour group or tour guide. This information is not relevant in this setting.
Don’t … stress out about how many questions you should ask during the tour. We don’t keep count! Instead, just listen, and feel free to ask questions (within reason) along the way. The probability that the question on the top of your head will be addressed at a later part in the tour is very high.
Don’t … throw the informational pamphlets away right after the tour. There are a lot of great resources in there, that may come in handy when you apply to Barnard.
Don’t … arrive late for your tour. Check in at the Visitor’s Center 15 minutes before the tour begins so you can take a seat and grab some pamphlets.
Don’t … feel like you have to spend all day on Barnard’s campus. You are welcome to do so, but it’s not necessary. However, I encourage you to spend an hour or two exploring the campus after the tour and information session ends, just to get a better feel of the campus community!
Don’t … compulsively take notes throughout the entire tour and information session. Taking notes can be really helpful, but you should also enjoy your surroundings! All of the important statistics your guide tells you can be found online.
Don’t … be afraid to ask for your BSAR’s contact information after the tour. It never hurts to have an extra resource or connection if you find yourself having more questions after your campus visit. (It’s also really nice to send your BSAR a thank you note … hint-hint!)