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

Toga! Toga! Toga!

"They kicked us out of school? That makes sense." -Tim Matheson as 'Otter' in Animal House

No parties to go to this weekend? Fear not friends! Put on your Snuggie and fire up Netflix with Young Money Finance's list of the top college comedies.

1. Animal House

2. Old School

Do you have your war paint and pom-poms ready?!

Huge crowds, small towns, tailgating, cheerleaders, marching bands and student sections are just a few of the reasons college football is part of the overall college experience. Campuses nationwide come to life at the end of every week as the teams battle it out on the field. Fans come dressed in their fighting colors and voices are lost in the roar of the stands.

 Don't get stuck in centuries past - write your paper with the help of these new apps!

No matter what kind of coursework you study throughout your collegiate career, at one point or another, you are going to be asked to write something.

To make the load a little lighter, USA Today has put together a list of sites and apps to get yourself out of the panic zone when it comes to the little things. 

Apparently, there's a student club for just about everybody. 

In October when the days grow shorter, the nights get colder, and the calendar moves closer to Halloween, it’s hard not to occasionally let your thoughts wander off to the bizarre.

Get your groove on - brought to you by your own classmates!

Music lover? Secret air guitar jammer? Have a need for some sweet harmonies and a bouncing bass? Pandora and iHeartRadio aren't the only places to find music that you actually enjoy. Pigeons & Planes has compiled a list of the top college radio stations that could be right on your campus.

Get in and get out if you head to one of these top colleges.

A high graduation rate is an important figure to note in your college search.

"Why?" you ask. Because it tells you that the school has the resources and support you need to graduate in four years. Graduating in four years not only allows you to keep your education on schedule, but it also saves you a ton of money on tuition and helps you get into the workforce sooner.

So you want to be a lawyer? *Dun, Dun*

Put down the gavel and stop memorizing statutes. Being a lawyer requires much more than the skill of persuasion or the ability to argue. There's a lot to learn and way before you even start to think about applying to law school or registering to take the LSAT exam, the first step is your undergrad major.

Be a part of something bigger than yourself.

These institutions brag the courses and connections to make any engineer’s dreams programed for success. 

Engineering is not a field for the faint hearted when it comes to academics, but it is a path that can lead to big names and a great career path right out of college.

Apple, Google, IBM, and Microsoft are just a handful of the many companies that are looking at these colleges to give them the best engineers out there.

So you want to be a doctor?

It seems like every little kid wants to be a policeman, a fireman, a lawyer, or (of course) a doctor.

Now you're a senior in high school and that's still what you want to do in life. Great! But it might not be exactly what you'd expect. Often times, the idea of becoming a doctor is romanticized and underestimated. If you're serious about adding that M.D. designation to the end of your name, here's a few things that you should learn sooner rather than later:

Find the college majors that pay off -- BIG!

On average, college graduates will earn more on average over a lifetime than non-graduates. Payout even after years of schooling, can vary. It is important to consider, especially when knowing more than you'd like to even comprehend will be going toward paying back the education you just recieved. 

Classes AND Work?! It’s worth it. We promise.

While college can be the most fun of your life, it’s critical to remember one of the most important reasons why you're even there—giving yourself the opportunity to get your dream job. Between studying, classes, clubs and socializing, you already have a lot on your plate, why would you want to add a job in the mix?

Here's why as told by University Primetime:

Most people don't immediately think "pop culture" when they see or hear a marching band. But those people have got it all wrong. 

These select universities were highlighted by Rolling Stone as having the most killer covers of songs that are currently topping the charts. You probably need to rethink your stance on marching bands and you most definitely need to check out these awesome covers.

Down, Set, Hike! Does your school have the best football fans?

Whether every generation of your family attended the same university or if you're just a fan of the sport, college football can be a big deal. School parking lots filled with tailgaters, bars packed with fans and stadiums full of cheering alumni and students--everyone has their unique way of supporting the team.

You should choose a college that believes clean energy is as important to the Earth as it is to you.

Clean energy and green technology lingo have become a standard of our generation.

We are very well acquainted with dangers of our carbon footprint and climate change. We also know that everybody and their mom should be all about renewable energy sources and recycled products.

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