College quest

Touring a college campus is an essential part of the college search process.

Riley Davies, Copy Editor

Most parents only allow their children to tour college campuses after they are accepted. However, my family knew that waiting to visit until I got accepted to colleges was not the right way to go about it.

For me, it was not as easy as driving up to Los Angeles and touring USC, I had plans to fly from coast to coast. This caused my parents to spend extra money, but they knew it would be worth it.

We felt this was important because, why would I apply to a school that I had no intention of going to while simultaneously wasting $40-70 on the application fee?

Our agenda was to tour Pennsylvania State University, University of Maryland, Indiana University and the University of Missouri. I went into this trip with the impression that I was going to love Penn State and Mizzou and be neutral in my opinion of IU and UMD. However, my intuition could not have been more off.

I first stepped foot on Penn State’s enormous and beautiful campus and got the sense that I was a part of something much bigger than myself. I fell more in love with Penn State than I previously thought. This was the only university that aligned with my preconceptions.

The University of Maryland was a pleasant surprise as well. I had gone into the visit knowing little except for the fact that it has a fantastic program in my major. By going to their admissions talk and tour, I learned so much that I could not find online. The campus is red brick and white columns as far as the eye could see and I instantly felt that this is a sight that I would like to see for four years.

My next visit was Indiana University. This school came close to not making it into our plans because of how low it was on my interest list. Initially, I did not like the school. However, as we toured the school, sat in the informational meeting and spent some time in the surrounding city, my dad and I both admired this university. It’s so quirky and has a lot of tradition which gives the school a lot of charm. My original gut-feeling was wrong.

To end the trip, we drove through Indiana and Illinois into Missouri and kept driving to the University of Missouri. I was interested in Mizzou because of its fantastic journalism school. Prior to visiting this school, I had developed a sense of what I did and did not like. I came to the conclusion that I could not picture myself even living there for a year.

In the end, I found these experiences to be some of the most valuable research I have done during my college search. I got to experience what each university was about and all that it has to offer. I believe that this will make my choice of where to attend university much easier. Now I just have to wait for the acceptance letters.