College tours, preparation season has already come for some

March 23, 2017 — by Lina Kim and Alex Yang

Seniors tour colleges. 

When senior Shannon Chen stepped onto Princeton University’s campus during February break, she was amazed at its breath-taking architecture, gorgeous scenery and quaint college town that surrounded the university. Impressed by the magnificent campus, Chen couldn’t help but imagine what her life would be like at Princeton for the next four years.

Chen, who was accepted early into Princeton in December, visited the school in February for its freshmen orientation for early applicants. During her stay, she had the chance to sit in on classes, have lunch in the dining hall with current students and tour various facilities on campus, including several libraries.

“College tours, from my experience, are really helpful for choosing where to go,” Chen said. “There's nothing quite like physically visiting a college because you can get a really accurate feel for day-to-day life there.”

During both February break and spring break, dozens of seniors will travel near and far to figure which university of all the ones where they’ve been accepted is right for them. These visits play a huge role in where students will decide to go.

Senior Rachel Won, who visited USC after receiving an invitation from the university to attend its Explore USC event, found that experiencing campus life was helpful in getting a feel for the school.

At Explore USC, Won toured on-campus facilities related to her biomedical engineering major and spoke with admissions officers, current students and the dean of the engineering department. The university invited all candidates to also have interviews with professors from their major of interest.

While Won admits that the interview was “nerve-wracking,” she found that talking with a professor who had done research in the exact concentration of biomedical engineering she was interested in was enjoyable, as she got to ask about various engineering projects the professor had worked on. She also got to stay overnight and immerse herself in the school’s dorm culture.

“It was cool because people would just pop in and out of my host student's room to hang out or work on homework, and it was nice to be in an environment of collaborative and entertaining students who were also hardworking,” Won said.

Senior Alice Bian had a similar experience when she visited UC Berkeley on March 17 and 18 for the Regents’ Overnight Host Program. During her stay, Bian got the opportunity to listen to a panel of current Berkeley students, explore local restaurants and take a nighttime tour of the campus.

Toward the end of the night, the group hiked a famous trail where they overlooked the San Francisco Bay. During their evening tour, Bian observed a group of students line dancing in the quad until midnight.

“It was exciting because before coming to Berkeley, I had preconceived notions about the school,” Bian said. “I expected there to be no social life, but after touring the campus, I realized that it was extremely lively.”


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