1. Do not wear another college's outerwear - You probably don't think about it when you throw on that Penn State sweatshirt or wear a Michigan State hat, but it can put a bad taste in an Admissions Officer's mouth if they see you with another university's gear on. You may think nothing of it, but from an Admissions perspective, we see that you are not really invested in the campus tour because you are already supporting another college (possibly a rival).
2. Do not compare colleges while on campus - Again, you are probably not trying to offend, you're just trying to make judgements for yourself, but constantly saying College A did this, College B did that ... etc., can rub people the wrong way. As an Admissions employee, I know firsthand what other colleges in the area and what other 'like' universities have to offer that we don't, but being reminded of that constantly throughout the day does not make me want to work hard to please you and make your visit everything great. **When I was searching at colleges, I always made sure to be back in the car with my parents before I started giving my judgements on a university. Its okay to take mental or written note about the aspects of campus that do not fit your qualifications, but save them until after the tour.
3. Do not wait until the end of your tour to ask to see something - Always be up front with your tour guide about something you would like to see on campus; tell them right at the beginning of the tour so that they know. At my alma mater, the weight room/gym was not included on the tour because it was out of the way, but if visitors asked ahead of time, the tour guide could fit it into the schedule. So, if your tour guide knows beforehand, they are able to include it in the tour or take you at the end of the tour when the other families with you are done.
4. Do not be late - So, this is kind of an obvious one, but do your absolute best to not be late to Admissions events or to campus tours. These things normally run on a schedule and if there are other families ready to go out on a tour on time, they won't wait for you. Also, if you show up late to an Open House, there is a good chance you've already missed half of the presentations. In admissions, we do understand that things happen: traffic is bad, you missed a turn, your little sister got sick ... etc., but plan ahead so that you can arrive to campus with some time to spare!
5. Do not act uninterested - Obviously we don't expect you to jump up and down for joy when you come to campus, but don't have a frown on your face the whole time. Try to at least act interested and ask some questions. Usually you have a student tour guide, so use their experience as a student to learn more about the college. Ask them what their favorite part about living on campus is or how they stay connected to home while living somewhat far away. Tour guides and Admissions representatives put a lot of effort into their tours and feel disheartened when they feel like you don't care, so do your best to at least seem interested.
6. Do not spend time on your cell phone - When my sister and I were visiting colleges, cell phones were not as big of a deal as they are now, but still be respectful and keep your phone away throughout the day. If you're taking pictures of the campus and the things you see (NOT SELFIES), then that is fine, but don't be snapchatting and texting the whole time. This goes with #5, show your respect to those that have put the time in to make your visit extra special. Plus, if you are paying attention to your phone the whole time, you won't be able to learn about the campus and see if it actually fits all your needs!
This is NOT meant to deter you from visiting college campuses, it is more to just get you thinking about your college visits and what you should be projecting of yourself. You really want to make a great impression because Admissions counselors and tour guides really do remember you! If ya'll have any questions about other visiting faux pas or just general questions about visiting college campuses, feel free to comment or tweet me, I'd love to help!
enjoy the chase,