Walking around campus in recent weeks I’ve noticed so many tour groups! It’s so exciting because I remember being in their shoes; everything is so new and overwhelming with information flying at you 100 miles per hour. I remember being so stressed out on college tours, but because of that, I’ve definitely learned a thing or two in hindsight that I want to share with you to try and alleviate that stress or uneasiness during this time of change!
First, go in with an open mind! I never would’ve guessed I would wind up in Iowa for college, but it singlehandedly is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Driving onto campus the night before my tour, my mom said to me, “it would be so funny if I went here because who would’ve ever thought.” Going into a college tour without that mindset helps with absorbing information and processing your emotions. Try to put yourself in the current student’s shoes, and really imagine yourself being on campus. Can you picture it? If so, great! This might be the place for you!
If you’re taking a formal tour, don’t be afraid to ask questions (and don’t be embarrassed if your parents ask questions)! You never know how helpful that information could be. Your tour guide is giving you a peek into life here, so take advantage of that! I know with the pandemic many families have opted to do their own tours, just wandering around campus and such. However, I strongly encourage a formal tour. The tour guides are some of the most enthusiastic people I know, and they’re especially passionate about Iowa. Their love for the school may become your love for the school!
On your tour, the University will give you a wavier to eat in the dining hall. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with the food and the atmosphere. However, I also 100% recommend going to a local restaurant to get a feel for the town and food in the area. I had such a nice time with my parents going out to eat that I went back to those restaurants with friends once I got to school!
The most important thing that I learned is to not worry if you leave a college tour feeling unsure. I remember vividly hearing over and over again on college tours that “the moment I stepped on campus I knew this is where I wanted to be.” I grew more and more concerned that I didn’t get that “ah-ha” moment on any college campus, not even this one. However, my mom told me “oftentimes students who feel that way are thinking in retrospect after all the great memories they’ve made,” which I thought was a great point. I’m the type of person who doesn’t process my emotions very quickly and can get overwhelmed. I am a firm believer in sleeping on things, just to really let everything sink in. This isn’t to say those stories aren’t true, however. If you are a person who knew immediately which school was the right one for them, congratulations! (and I’m jealous!!)
This time in your life is a time of great change, and all you can do is your best! Don’t be too hard on yourself, and everything works out for the best. You’ll end up in the right place for you!
If you are interested in visiting the University of Iowa, check out all the visit opportunities!
As always, go hawks!