Is your son going on college tours? What does a college campus look like through the lens of his criteria?
Spring break is the traditional time to take the next step on the college journey with trips to college campuses. We already know that teens are not looking at schools the same way their parents are, but are young men viewing colleges through completely different eyes? The consensus of a brief survey suggests that the three most important things boys are looking at when they walk around a campus are:
I know what you’re thinking, oh, big shock! But let me explain what the boys are really saying. Firstly, boys are sizing up the guys, and the girls, on a campus. The simple truth is most teens “look for guys who look and act like me,” admits one Cornell freshman. Everyone is looking for his comfort zone, so if you feel comfortable around the students you see, there’s a good chance that campus will leave you with a better impression.
“I got a lot more out of people watching in the cafeteria or library, or just hanging out on the quad, than from any tour,” he continues. “I just sat and listened to what kids were talking about and I paid attention to their demeanor. Did people look stressed? hunkered over books? Or were they laughing and having fun? Were there big groups of kids sitting together or more pairs?”
“…looking for chemistry.”
Others confirmed the importance of how friendly and welcoming students were to visiting families. “I was looking for chemistry,” recalls a current senior. “When I hear from a tour guide that professors have coffee with students on a regular basis,” he highlights, “that tells me a lot about the place. Those personal connections mean a lot because they’re important to personal growth.”
Also important to personal growth is social life so the amount of green space where students can throw a frisbee or simply hang out definitely registers with young men. So will athletic fields and recreation centers. “I know I won’t be on a varsity team, but if I have a chance to play club sports, or just recreationally, on the same fields that my college teams are playing on, that’s an awesome feeling,” says the above senior.
“On campus events define the college experience”
On campus events are a huge part of what defines the college experience, he adds, so things like tailgating for the football game, concerts, speakers, are all very important. “To me 60-70% of social life should be on campus, and roughly 30% off campus.”
In terms of indoor spaces, dorms are also important to guys. They tune into the level of socializing they see and what type: sitting together playing Halo, wrestling in the hallways, lots of sports equipment scattered all over the place.
Food, glorious food
Last, but not least, food! Of course, young men are paying particular attention to the assortment and amount of cafeteria selections, but many expressed that what really makes an impression is how accommodating the menu is. Are there enough gluten-free, and vegan/vegetarian options? How much of the food in the cafeteria is from local markets? This suggests just how much a school really cares about its students.
All students view college campuses through the lens of their own criteria and that’s perfectly fine. It is also important to gain as much information about a school as this can affect applications later on. For more information on college tours, and the admissions process overall, please visit www.readysetcollege.nyc and sign up for updated blogposts.