Skip the College Tour?

Photo courtesy of UW Colleges

Last week, the New York Times published an article called “Skipping the College Tour” that is counter intuitive to what our office has been advocating. However, I must admit that it is an interesting concept and it has staff in our office talking.

The article indicates that while we believe we are good at making decisions, we actually are not–especially when we are making a decision that we haven’t made before, like where to go to college.  When we are making decisions we haven’t made, the article reports that we rely on our imagination instead of our experience. It emphasizes that our imaginations are biased and flawed. 

They went on to say that other people who have recently undergone the experience are better at making decisions for us than we are. These people are called “experience surrogates.” The experience surrogate would be able to see through the best of what the campus offers, like the new buildings and great food, and give the campus a more real review. 

Ultimately, the article suggests that the prospective student should skip the college tour and rely on an experience surrogate to make the college decision.  

I understand the part about our imaginations being biased. For example, one of my colleagues went on a college tour with his daughter, and the tour guide did not relate well to the group. As a result, his daughter didn’t want to attend that campus because she imagined students at that campus being the same way.  

But really, skipping a college tour? Letting other people make decisions for us? If they decide where I go to college, they could also decide what I major in, and where I live, and… where does it stop? Making our own decisions is a good learning experience.  Especially if we make bad decisions. Am I right, fellow adults?   

Look here for the article https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/26/well/family/skipping-the-college-tour.html?contentCollection=smarter-living&hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=1.

And keep on advocating for those college tours! Here’s a list to tour information for our UW System campuses uwhelp.wisconsin.edu/preparing/campustours.aspx.