Why “Track” College Tours?
While it seems like it will never happen while you’re on a college tour – trust us – it will; colleges will begin to run together in your mind. Were those sidewalks covered in colorful chalk at Cornell? Was the painted rock on Northwestern’s campus, or did you see that at the University of Michigan? Where did you have that delicious ice cream made on campus from campus cows? Though taking notes during a college visit can be relatively easy (if you have paper and pen handy, or are constantly vigilant about making entries in a “notes” app right away), organizing and retaining those notes… keeping track of what you want to specifically remember about each school… isn’t so easy, especially the more college tours you take.
Our Handy College Tours Tracker
That’s why we designed our College Tours Tracker. This “template” lets you enter important information and impressions in a simple, user-friendly format that will allow you to compare schools “apples to apples.” It is the perfect tool for taking notes not only in each sit-down college information session, but also on each college tour — albeit, it’s a little more difficult as you walk! When you take notes, be sure to identify unique college traditions and other detailed examples which will come in handy when you write your supplemental application essays such as Why Lafayette? or Why NYU? The specifics you cite will give the admissions officer the message that you did your research, and that you are not just choosing Lafayette or NYU or any other college out of the blue, but here is why you feel XYZ is a great school for you, and here is how you see yourself fitting in on campus.
Another great feature is that the College Tours Tracker allows you to “grade” each school you visit on its facilities, programs, resources, atmosphere, and so on. So while XYZ may get an A for school spirit, the freshman dorms may get a C.
Note-Taking Is a Family Affair
With respect to note taking, I would also suggest enlisting your parent(s) or other family members or friends, if they go along on college tours, to jot down their thoughts. Two separate groups of notes are better than one, especially when there is so much to see and hear and absorb.
Worried about losing the College Tours Tracker? You are going to be collecting a lot of papers and “swag” on your college tours. (Some schools provide tote bags, some don’t…so it’s a good idea to take one with you.) If you think you might misplace the College Tours Tracker before you even fill it out, take a picture of it now. Definitely take a picture of it after it is filled out at the completion of each college tour. Then, when you are ready to narrow your school list, you will have data at your fingertips on what you actually liked (and didn’t like) about each school. This information will help you ultimately make the decision about where you’ll want to apply, and “hand” you the detail you need to write persuasive, entry-worthy supplemental essays for each college you choose!
Photo credit: Toronto University