Every day on college campuses, several groups of 20-30 people walk through campus... they’re in the library, walking around the gym, eating in the dining hall. The groups are usually comprised of parents and children, ranging from middle school to high school, although there is the occasional elementary schooler. A college student leads them. When I see them, I like to listen to what the student will talk about at each place; what is it they love about this school? These are the college tours.
Visiting campus is one of the best ways to find out what a college is like. In fact, beyond learning about a specific school, visiting campuses helps students start to understand what people mean when they talk about college. On a college tour, you can see first hand how a college campus is different than a high school. You can check out the dorms (I don’t know many other places you can go to to learn what a dorm is). You can see all the different nooks and crannies of campus. On these tours, students can start to realize what they like and don’t like about certain schools. Did you feel welcomed? Did you like the food in the dining hall? Was there anything you didn’t like? And above all, could you see yourself as a student here?
For students with disabilities, campus tours can be even more important. Consider the following:
- What’s the campus health center like?
- Does the recreation center have an adaptive sports program?
- Did the dining hall have food that met your dietary restrictions?
- For wheelchair users, can you get around campus easily?
- Are there other barriers to accessibility?
In Colorado, we are fortunate to have options for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to attend college and receive inclusive services. Arapahoe Community College, University of Northern Colorado, and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs each offer a different atmosphere to students. To allow students the greatest choice in their post-secondary options, we need to increase students' knowledge of these campuses. One way to do so is via the campus tour.
For information on campus tours at UNC, visit: https://www.unco.edu/visit/tours/
For information on campus tours at UCCS, visit: https://www.uccs.edu/admissionsenrollment/touring-our-campus
For information on campus tours at ACC, visit: https://www.arapahoe.edu/about-acc/visit-acc
While on campus, I encourage you to set a time to visit with the inclusive higher education staff and/or a current student. Click a link below to find contact information.
UNC GOAL: https://www.unco.edu/unc-goal/
Elevate at ACC: https://www.arapahoe.edu/advising-support/student-access-services/elevate-acc
Office of Inclusive Services at UCCS: https://www.uccs.edu/inclusiveservices/
Can’t make it in person to tour a campus? Each school has an online option to learn about the campus:
Another option is to attend college fairs and speak with college recruiters. Click here to read our blog post about college fairs.
To conclude, maybe you still aren’t sure whether your child or student will go to college. That’s okay. It can still be meaningful to visit campus and get a sense of what options are out there for after high school.
I wish you all the best as you start looking at different schools,
IN! Education and Outreach Program Coordinator