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Dean of Admission shares advice on what to ask – and what not to ask – on the campus tour
In a new piece published today on the popular New York Times education blog, The Choice, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Martha Merrill ’84 shares her tips for what to ask – and what not to ask – on the campus tour.
“Campus tours are a great way for prospective students to get a better feel for a particular college,” Merrill writes. “Checking out the physical space is important, but the real value of the tour comes from the tour guide — a real, live college student who can give you an authentic look at life at that college.”
Merrill’s tips include asking your guide about an interesting conversation with friends – “It is good to find out what issues students are discussing,” she says – and about a typical weekday.
Students and parents should avoid asking guides for their SAT scores and high school GPAs, or to predict how much financial aid they might be awarded.
“Your guide should be able to answer general questions about financial aid, like whether the college meets full need, if merit scholarships are offered and what percentage of students receive aid. But determining the amount of aid you might receive is not something your tour guide can or should do,” Merrill writes.
Merrill adds that it is important to remember that the tour guide is presenting just one student’s perspective.
“To learn more, I always encourage prospective students to sit in on a class, eat in a dining hall, speak with a professor and visit the library or student center to engage with other enrolled students,” Merrill writes.
Today's post is Merrill's sixth in the blog's "Tip Sheet" series, which features short posts by admission officers, guidance counselors and others who can help applicants and their families better understand aspects of the admission process. Her previous posts have provided advice for seniors about avoiding “senioritis,” tips about applying for financial aid, tips for securing strong teacher recommendations, advice for parents about navigating the later stages of the admission process and suggestions for how to write the perfect college essay.
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