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How to Get the Most Out of Your HBCU Campus Tours

We previously highlighted the importance of evaluating HBCU campus life as part of the overall college experience. One of the ways to do that is by taking a campus tour. In the post-pandemic world today, tours are offered both in-person and online. Virtual tours may not provide the same sense or understanding of what it’s like to be there in person, but there is a lot to gain from touring HBCUs regardless of the format of your tours.

Virtual Tours
Even pre-pandemic, virtual tours offered access to campuses that may be costly or difficult to travel to for in-person tours. Many schools were granted additional resources for improving their virtual tours throughout the pandemic. This new and improved format lets you efficiently tour multiple campuses when you start to explore different colleges, making it a great method to narrow your search.

In-Person Campus Tours
Current students often lead these official campus tours and are available throughout the year, typically offered as walking tours for small groups. Stops along the way include dorms, commonly used student facilities like the library, co-rec or gymnasium, and dining halls. Because these tours are student-led, it is usually easy to get a feel for whether they are enjoying their time there or not. This tour can also give you a sense of the political climate on campus and some insight into everyday aspects of campus life.

Academic College or Athletic Department Tours
This type of tour may offer a deeper look at the buildings your field of study will have you frequenting during your time in the classroom or on the field. See if you are inspired by the features, the faculty, and the facilities. Get a feel for where you will spend most of your time – how far these buildings may be from your dorm, off-campus housing, dining options, or your job may impact your class schedule.

Self-Guided Tours
Scheduling a tour during the school year will help you get a sense of what it’s like to be there as a student. Meet as many people as possible, take notes, and then take some of your own time exploring. Wander around campus and walk through any buildings that were missed on the official tour. Take photos and explore areas around the campus of personal interest.

Take a few different tours on a few different campuses, and you’re sure to get an idea of which one is a fit for you. Get a group of friends together or plan a family road trip to visit multiple campuses at once. Trust your gut, whether it feels right or wrong, and you will find yourself ready to decorate your dorm in no time.