Ten Things Not to Do On College Campus Visits


Campus tours

It is right about time for those wonderful college tours for the children going into their senior year of high school. This list has inspiration in a foggy memory of such visits nine years ago. I hope you enjoy it.

10 If you are visiting a college, do not stop in the bookstore first. If you do, at best you will be overwhelmed by the assortment. At worst, you will buy a bunch of stuff only to learn that your child “hates this place.” (Well it figures doesn’t it? Waldo.)

9 If you are visiting a college, do not wear clothing from another school. If you do, at best the personnel with think you haven’t a clue. At worst, your shirt will distract the student guide and they will forget half of what you wanted to know. (You could have picked a non-rival right?)

8 If you are visiting a college, do not feed the mascot. If you do, at best the guard will ask you to leave. At worst, that cookie you just tossed the bear is the only thing on the planet for which it has an allergy. (Nothing like CPR on a sweating, hairy, monster with bad breath, huh, Pilgrim?)

7 If you are visiting a college, do not interrupt the tour guide. If you do, at best they will forget where they were and will have to start from the beginning. At worst, your tour guide is a fragile human being who was encouraged to lead tours as a method of building self-confidence and is now in a pool of tears trying to survive a complete meltdown. (Well, you could have waited until the recording was over)

6 If you are visiting a college, do not make fun of tradition. If you do at best, you will see some serious frowns. At worst, the massive varsity football player who just got drafted by the Oakland Raiders will want to talk to you in private. (So what does it hurt not to snicker when everyone says, “Howdy” to you.)

5 If you are visiting a college, do not go to one where your child has zero chance of being accepted. If you do, at best they will suddenly see what they will be missing. At worst, they will decide that this is the college for them and none other will do. (Now this is a fine kettle of fish we’ve gotten ourselves into Laurel)

4 If you are visiting a college, do not just visit the ones with big time sports teams. If you do, at best some good schools can be overlooked. At worst, maybe your child has no interest in sports, and you’ll realize too late that you are here because you want to be here. (You already went to school. Give it up, Bucky)

3 If you are visiting a college, do not engage your tour guide in a discussion about tuition. If you do, at best they will direct you to the provost’s office. At worst, you will be bringing new information to a student tour guide who will become increasingly concerned about the cost enough to get a job and flunk out.( Never saw that one coming did ya? Bud.)

2 If you are visiting a college, do not think acceptance will be automatic. If you do, at best you will start to make plans that won’t materialize. At worst, you might just give the impression to everyone you meet that you think the entrance is a slam dunk, and there are more than enough who will want to thwart that view. (What a surprise on rejection letter day.)

1 If you are visiting a college, do not talk about your college experiences. If you do, at best the students will think you have never grown up. At worst, your child will want to find a deep hole and a dump truck and guess who is the cargo. (None of those kids are interested in ancient history pops unless it is a required course and maybe not even then)


  1. I think I got college tours all wrong. I waited for acceptance before I gave the school a look. Though I do remember there was always that one person on the tour who ignored rule #7. Usually for something that you could research on your own or had no relation to what we were doing. Do we really need to know if the tour guide met any of the famous alumni?

    1. The crowd moans should have kept them under control. I think your system makes a whole lot of sense. πŸ™‚

      1. It’s amazing how people ignore that communal groan of ‘not again’.

      2. I know right? They think it is applause.

      3. “These people love me. That’s why they’re hoisting me over their shoulders.” Said while getting chucked into dumpster.

  2. “Hey, there used to be pay phones over there…” So glad these are behind me, Great list John.

    1. Ha ha ha. Thanks, Dan

  3. I’ve printed this and attached it to my daughter’s bedroom door, and her TV – so you know she’ll see it.

    1. Wait! You forgot the phone. πŸ™‚

  4. I attended a university practically in our backyard, so I missed out on the college tour thing. Thanks for letting me know what I missed out on, John. Great lits!

    1. Not sure you missed much. Thanks, Jill. πŸ™‚

  5. Yes. The wearing of the different clothes. That’s key, I’d think.

    1. Like wearing a Pats jersey to a Steelers game.

      1. Which might be fun.

      2. I’d probably be killed.

      3. Naw. Drawn and quartered.

      4. You’d have to jump in and do something.

      5. I’m not sure you would be saved.

    2. You mean you’d be part of the group that’s killing me. I see how this is.

      1. No. It is just the crowd would be too fast. Leave the Pats jersey at home.

  6. Who says research ain’t fun!!! Love this list, John!

    1. Ha ha ha. Super comment. Thanks. πŸ˜€

  7. Ah, John, this list takes me back to when Domer was doing college tours. One place, he refused to get out of the car; another, he refused to take the tour after filling out mounds of paperwork. Rather than arguing with him, I let his intuition lead the way — and he made the BEST choice all around! (Love #1, too!!)

  8. We just did a round of visits over spring break. My youngest son has no interest whatsoever in sports and our tour guide kept mentioning the name of the school mascot and my son asked him what he was talking about. Talk about good impressions.

    1. Ha ha ha. I love that one. Thanks, Teri πŸ™‚

  9. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ These are all terrific. I feel a lot of eye-rolling and silent back-stabbing behind parents’ backs. o-O

    1. You think? πŸ˜€

  10. Great list but #1 is good in other situations too! Cheers for the week!

    1. Thank you Jo. We need a good week.

  11. 11) Do NOT allow your psychotic prospective mother in law to railroad you into blowing up the students union. (Honestly John, I’d have thought you’d have included this, the most common of collegiate pitfalls; rookie mistake)

    1. Oh, Dale. You caused projectile coffee nose. This was the best laugh I’ve had in two weeks. Thanks. πŸ˜€

      1. Not sure if that counts as giving yourself a back handed compliment, since it was your story to begin with, but I’ll happily take the credit. ;~}

      2. You put #11 and a story reference which was very funny. Might have been the psychotic mother in law comment that did it.

  12. LOL I would never dare to wear one school shirt or cap while visiting another university.

    1. You would be surprised to see it happen.

      1. Shaking my head. That is like a Yankees fan going to Boston. I won’t make that mistake.

      2. Smart! πŸ˜€

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