As the Class of 2019 wraps up the college process and chooses their home for the next four years, the Class of 2020 is diving into the college process with these visits.
Besides March Break, some students began college visits over the summer or on long weekends throughout the year. Anne Marie Dooher ’20 said she “started touring colleges in September because [she] didn’t play a fall sport, and therefore had more time on the weekends.” Chloe Sokol ’20 began her own college tours over March break, yet was familiar with the college tour process: “I have two older siblings, so when they were juniors, and I was in sixth and ninth grade, I tagged along on their college tours. While it was nice tagging along with my brother and sister, I’m also glad to focus these college visits completely on myself.”
The College Counseling Department ofen advises students to visit enough colleges to get a clear idea of what one likes and dislikes about various colleges, but not too many so that it is overwhelming. Senior Kara Amar ’19 said she “only visited three schools because [she] got the gist of it.” On the other hand, Zach Blake ’19 toured a handful of “small liberal arts schools in the Northeast before touring big schools on the West Coast and realizing that they were the right fit for [him].”
Most tours are lead by a current student and feature the campus’ most distinguishable undergraduate buildings and spaces. Director of College Counseling Erika Chapin said, “A good college tour is one that provides clarity to the prospective student. In this sense, clarity can also mean that the student is not interested in that college as a result of the visit.”
Ethan Glazer ’20 believes a good college tour consists of “visiting as many academic or school afliated buildings as possible to get a sense of the college’s environment,” while Deniz Tek ’20 enjoys seeing “a specifc aspect of the community or campus stand out to [him]” on the tour.
Hopkins students also attend information sessions, and presentations organized by the college admissions department. “I think information sessions are helpful
because they bring a bunch of statistics and details from a college into one place. However, all schools say basically the same thing, so it’s also important to see the school through your own perspective, such as with your own research or a tour,” said Lady-Karen Asamoah ’19. Blake agreed: “You will fnd that most information sessions end up giving you the same stats and factual stuf that makes every college great.” While a tour and information session are ofen crucial to understanding a college, making the most out of a college visit goes beyond school sanctioned events. College Counselor and English Teacher Dan Drummond said, “Pay attention to students who aren’t the tour guide, both the undergraduates on campus and the other high schoolers in your info session/tour group. How’s the energy level? Do these people seem reasonable as potential classmates? How are people interacting in dining halls, in dorms, in the hallways?”
Sana Patel ’19 echoed Drummond and encouraged underclassmen on tours to “people watch and notice how other students are interacting around campus.” Blake also noted the importance of looking beyond the campus tour, saying: “When you’re on your visits, make sure to explore the surrounding area - the town, the people, and how they fit into the college. Even inspiring views and buildings can go a long way to convincing you that a college is the right one for you.” Tim Sullivan ’19 agreed and urged students to “try and imagine yourself as a student there to see if a school makes you excited to be part of the community when you visit.”
Chapin’s advice is to “connect with people at the campus who are not involved in the ‘offcial’ part of the college tour and information session... And, if possible, try to connect with a Hopkins alumnus/a while visiting!”
Blake urged students to “keep an open mind when picking colleges to visit, especially with location.” Amar enjoyed touring “with someone who is not well versed in all things college related. Tat way, you can see the school from your own perspective and truly form your own opinion.” Asamoah echoed the overarching message of the seniors: “Go with your gut. If you don’t like a school, that’s completely fne because there are plenty of good schools to choose from with great opportunities!”