What to look for on your college campus tour

College campus tours are a bit like a safari. It’s your first time in the wild, you’re mystified by the range of species and how they’re interacting with each other, you’re told to observe, but not to engage.

The thing is, unless you’re a zoologist, or a baboon, it’s tough to know what to be looking for.  

Visiting a campus and being able to picture your life there can be a deciding factor when making the big decision, so to ensure that you get the most out of it, consider these 5 things that a creature of the wild would have you look out for:

1. Student Lounges: As you start to take more of the same type of classes you’ll end up in the same academic building for the better part of a day. Whether you’re floating adrift between a class that ended at 2:00 and one that starts at 3:30, or are scampering up two flights of stairs to a class that starts in 15 minutes, your student lounge will ultimately become your hub. Take a look around the lounge, if there is one, and make sure that it’s not overly cramped, it has tables big enough to seat a study group, and that the food options are varietal and moderately priced. If you’ve decided on a major, pay extra attention to the particular student lounges in those buildings.

2. Greek and University Clothing: Even more important than the amount of guys or girls wearing Pink Floyd shirts to a noon class is the amount of guys or girls wearing Greek Letters or university shirts. This speaks not just to the amount of fraternities, sororities or sports teams, but to the level of pride for each one. A lot of Greek shirts mean that the sororities and fraternities are actually effectual, through parties, campus involvement or philanthropy. A lot of university shirts tell you that a significant amount of students attend the sports games or are proud to represent the school. This is very important because there are many schools that are big in size, but have very little attendance at sports games or pride.

3. Congregation: The simple truth is that while college is going to be full of people your age looking to make friends and have fun, the campus doesn’t always cater to this desire. The perpetually autumn fields where romance, philosophy and spontaneous two-hand touch football games are born does not always exist. Tradition, architecture and off-campus living are the things that determine how vivaciously social the student body will be. Make sure to look for typical congregation areas and try to spot how many people are hanging out or just passing through.

4. Construction: It is very common for campuses to be undergoing construction. Unless you’re on a Harvard type campus where the buildings are magically historic, the university should be making some sort of improvements. Pay attention to where these developments are and make sure to ask how long they’ll take to finish. A new student area, dormitory or a glorious field could be just final perk you’re looking for.  

5. Campus Newspaper: While your tour guide will be sure to mention only the positive things, there are still ways to find out some dirt on your potential university. The simplest way: pick up a campus newspaper. Journalism students love to be critical. They are the voice of the student body—living testimony to the intelligence and passion of our country’s students—yet they are also 20-year-olds upset and overwhelmed by student loans, the lack of vegan meal options, the latest fraternity scandal, etc. By reading through the campus paper you will find out what on- and off-campus situations students are happy or unhappy with.

College Visit Getting into College What to Expect

Should I Join a Theatre Group in College?

Take it from a former college theatre geek, your school stage will most likely be the best and last stage you'll ever be on. 

After graduation, it’s all community theater and church ensembles, and who has the time for that? Nobody, that's who. 

Going to the farmers market is one of those things that just feels good.

They're quaint and novel, full of happy people buying hand-grown food, and sometimes, they even have a guy playing an accordian over by the pickle stand. It doesn't get better than that, my friends. 

On-Campus Farmers Markets

The lost art of growing vegitables and selling them directly to the community isn't lost yet at these awesome college, where students and professors alike are able to walk less than the length of the campus to a fresh and fantastic farmers markets.

Disc Golf is Everwhere on a College Campus

What do a statue of a university founder, a liberal arts building and an on-campus coffee shop have in common? They can all be disc golf targets.

That’s right, practically every college campus can and should be used as a disc golf course. It’s done at St. Mary’s University, where students get to throw over streams and historic graveyards. And it’s done at the University of Oregon, where students shoot through skinny, sprawling oak trees.

Why Chess is Such a Great Game

Chess may be one of the most important games in humanity.

It has taken geniuses and robots to master, has lasted through centuries of sporting, permeated across the globe and found its way onto almost every college campus in the country. Yet despite its prodigious back story, it is still one of the most democratic games, funneling down to just two individuals and their wits. 

Who is Wes Anderson?

Wes Anderson is half-average guy half-magician. His fashion, visual style, films and characters are all relatable, genuine, cool and absurdly different. He’s been making amazing cult films since the late 80’s, attracting fans of all ages and backgrounds. But at one point he was nothing more than a dude sitting in the back of a college play-write class, looking to make friends and talk movies. 

Having something you wrote with your name attached to it on a website that you didn’t create is resume gold. I'm not talking about your personal blog (which can still be very impressive), I'm talking about guest blogging. 

Guest blogging shows initiative, skill, and business cunning. And although it seems like everyone’s doing it, trust me, it’ll still make you stand out.

The best thing about SpoonUniversity is that its writers understand students. 

College students go to class. College students study in libraries. College students go on $3 hot dog runs at 2 a.m. What they don’t do—is cook. At least not as much as they could.

SpoonUniversity is fixing that.

Having trouble making friends in college?

Worry not - you're not alone! Making friends at any stage of life is a challenge, especially if you're somewhat shy, introverted, or -- we're just going to come out and say it -- "picky". 

Some think it should be easy to make friends in college since there are so many people around, but that's not true. If anything, the amount of options and directions students are pulled in can make it harder to find someone you can really get along with. 

Alright, if our calculations are correct then between move-in day and graduation day you could meet a Prince, a future American President, a surfer musician, a quarterback, or a genius.

You could also meet some other non-famous cutie hanging out around campus, but that wouldn't be as exciting. 

Competitive people can’t help being competitive just like lazy people can’t help being lazy. It’s simply in the blood. But for obvious (and unfortunate) culturally American reasons, teachers, parents and honest friends will berate you for being lazy, but wont for being overly competitive. That’s because competitive people tend to excel: top percentile grades, multiple extracurricular activities and popularized class rank are among some of the achievements of those who win at school.

Should You Listen to Your Parents College Advice?

For the most part, yes. When it comes to picking a degree or figuring out the finances then your parents can be a huge help.

But there are other things about they don't know a whole lot about, and that's because college has changed so much since they went. 

The basics are the same—find a subject you like and excel at it, enjoy your social life but don’t get carried away, try to get a degree in four years—but some of what they tell you will only get your hopes up or stress you out. Here's what's changed. 

College is Full of Surprises

There are a lot of cliches about college. Even friends, family, and former students can give you false information.

Every school (and people's perceptions of them) are different. And sometimes people just flat out embellish (you know those people). 

They say that Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but they're wrong, it’s called Google.

Everything you need to know to be able to write a good research paper, bring relatable current news to your classroom, back up your arguments and lead a rewarding life you can be found through Google.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of bad information out there that will clutter your search results and force you to miss the good stuff. We don't want you to miss the good stuff. 

The End of Winter Break...

The start of the second semester is a strange time to be a student. For the past several weeks, your lifestyle has been the complete antithesis to educational development—you’ve probably finished a shameful number of Netflix shows, spent some quality time with hometown friends, and haven’t been waking up before 10 or reading from a textbook.

Now, you'll soon be going back to campus where you'll be asked to do the total opposite.

If you don’t start a club in college, chances are you never will. That’s just the truth. I mean it’s the perfect place. It’s full of active, fun-seeking, mostly adventurous students—enough to flock around most obscure/unique/weird interests you may have.

If you’re down with all this and want to continue or start an epic tradition, then listen up, because there are still some things that can go way wrong.

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