Demand for campus tours up by 30 per cent

It is trite but true: Seeing is believing, especially for a prospective student who takes a campus tour in order to choose a university. Jean Mullan is the director of undergraduate recruitment for Carleton University, and she points out that tours provide people with a feel for the campus and for what faculty, other students and staff are like.

“A student who can see himself or herself fitting in on campus will be more likely to accept our offer of admission,” she says. “A campus tour often ‘seals the deal’ for students who are considering coming to Carleton.”

The good news for Carleton is that prospective students are more interested than ever in taking a tour. In fact, the undergraduate recruitment team has had to create fl exible schedules for out-of-town students, including extra tour times and private tours, to keep up with the demand. In 2005-06, the number of campus tour visitors increased by 27 per cent compared with the previous year, from 2,446 to 3,111. This year, there have been 2,564 visitors for the fall and winter sessions which is a 30 per cent increase over the same period last year.

In addition, Undergraduate Recruitment has introduced specialty tours for particular programs, allowing students to meet professors and ask questions about courses before taking a general campus tour. These new tours, which began in the fall of 2006, have attracted students both nationally and internationally. They are led by upper-year students and begin with a discussion or workshop with a faculty member and a visit to program-specific facilities. Following lunch with the tour guide, there is a two-hour general campus tour.

According to Adrienne Silnicki, the campus tour coordinator, students who visit the campus are generally very serious about attending Carleton. But “they are making a large financial investment in their education and want to ensure they are picking the right university.”

An example of a program that offers a specialty tour is the Bachelor of Architectural Studies. “We were getting roughly five calls per week from students wanting more information about the program, so we created a special tour to allow these students to spend time with the professors, ask about portfolios and tour the campus,” explains Silnicki.

Professor Yvan Cazabon is the associate director of the School of Architecture and a member of its admissions committee. “We find that once applicants see the building, its ‘studio culture’ and its excellent facilities, the overwhelming majority leave convinced that we are the right place for them,” says Cazabon. As he points out, the tours also help faculty to gauge an applicant’s skills, creativity and interest in the program and, in some circumstances, to assess a candidate’s suitability to receive an admissions offer.

“We get 1,100 applicants for 70 placements\this level of interest puts extra importance on the direct contact that tours provide.”

The School of Computer Science also developed a specialty tour this semester as a result of overwhelming interest in new areas of study such as gaming, robotics and 3-D scanning. John Perrozzino attended one of the school’s tours on March 23 with his son Shaughn, a Grade 12 student in Ottawa. Perrozzino recognizes that students experience a lot of pressure from the time they apply to the time of acceptance. “What Shaughn sees today\where he might be going and what he will be doing\will help him make his final decision.”


Specialty tours are offered in the following bachelor’s programs: Information Technology, Journalism, Commerce and International Business, Architectural Studies, Science, Computer Science and Engineering. More information is available at

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