Opinions – College tours can do more than make a first impression


Ava Jordan

Walking a college campus and talking with a tour guide can do so much more than make a first impression for students thinking about where they might go after graduating high school.

Ava Jordan, Opinions Editor

 The hot August sun shined down on us as we walked in a tight knit group following a student tour guide. She walked, talked and pointed all at once.

Everywhere I turned, I saw something new and exciting. The campus overflowed with energy. Students were everywhere. Friends talked, laughed, laid out, read, painted and just generally enjoyed a day that to me was more than special.

Girls headed off to the beach. Guys played sand volleyball. I noticed those things. I don’t see that on every college campus.

I walked at the front of the tour group, as I always do, because talking to the tour guide helps me get a true perspective on the college. My sisters walked right behind me as I bonded with the tour guide. 

Coincidentally, the student tour guide was a criminal justice major, which is what I plan to declare as my major, as well. We clicked really well which made my perception of Salve Regina University even stronger. 

Although, I must admit, the college alone did that all by itself. The physical campus was breathtaking. 78 acres overlooking beautiful, Newport, Rhode Island.

I learned the buildings had been donated by the town of Newport. They’re older with Victorian architecture on the inside of some buildings. Seeing them, I was absolutely stunned.

My favorite building was the Casino Theatre. It was created in 1880, serving a purpose of ballroom dances and a theatre mainly for the summer visitors of Newport. In 2009, it was restored for Salve Regina. 

“This school just fits Ava,” I remember my sister, Olivia, said to me and my other sister, Lillian, as we walked.

Olivia was right, the school does fit me. Everything was perfect. I felt at home which is something I hadn’t expected. The college was welcoming and comforting. The campus’s architecture was old and different. The campus wasn’t copy and paste everywhere you turn.

The class size was perfect for me, too, no more than 35 classmates, which is nice since I’m used to smaller classes. 

The tour guide also told me about the student-teacher ratio being 13:1. She talked about how the teachers are very easy to get a hold of if you need help and they’re very understanding. 

Truth be told, I wasn’t even supposed to tour the college while I was in Newport. I was visiting for a family trip and decided spur of the moment I wanted to look at colleges in the area. I didn’t even know Salve Regina University existed until two days before our tour.

I am a junior now, and Salve Regina was my first official college tour last summer. I had been on some unofficial tours before but they were for my sisters. And since Salve, I’ve toured a lot more colleges.

Salve is still my favorite. 

For me, tour guides can change so much about a school. If a tour guide is not welcoming or if they can’t speak highly of the college those things go on my pro-con list. College selection is important to me, so I keep a detailed list.

But that’s not the same for everyone. 

“Not gonna lie, the App State tour wasn’t even that good, but I’ve always known I want to go to App,” Allison Gottlieb (‘24) said. “The tour guide herself was good but the tour wasn’t.”

Having a bad tour didn’t change much for Allison but it does for many high school juniors and seniors.

I agree with Allison, and so do others, the tours themselves need to be good, not just the tour guide.

Thomas Clarke (‘25) said, “Before touring colleges, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to attend college.” 

As we chatted, he continued to talk about how he realized he wanted to go to college by going on tours. Touring made him realize everything he needs to do to get there. 

As I have continued to tour schools, I realized another thing that is helpful when touring is seeing the inside of buildings, not just the outside. 

Here’s an example. I toured Wake Forest University for my sister in early 2021 when Covid was still happening. Tours weren’t allowed to go into buildings which made it difficult to get a feel of the college. I left with the impression of what it was like to see the school only from the outside.

Recently I toured Wake again with my school during a three day out of classroom learning program called Intersession. This time, when we went to visit and tour, we were able to go into the dining hall and eat which was a great experience,

“College tours need to always show you inside a dorm, the library and the dining halls,” Allison Gottlieb (24’) said. She has a very strong opinion on going into buildings. 

As I continue to tour colleges and begin the application process, I have to agree with her.

Tours have a much bigger impact on college application choices for high school juniors and seniors than most people think. A college tour can change your whole view on a college.


Walking college campuses and even seeing quiet seating areas can leave a big impression on a prospective student. (Ava Jordan)