COLUMN: College tours give more experience


Rob Le Cates

Katja Benz is a senior English major and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

Katja Benz, Columnist

So, a couple of weeks ago I talked about how much social media sucks. Unfortunately, social media is how many people stay in contact. Especially colleges with prospective students.

Presently, many colleges, including Eastern, have a plethora of social media accounts, from the school account (@eiu on Instagram), homecoming (@eiu_homecoming), and so many more. Social media certainly helps students connect to, watch short informational videos about and see pictures of all of the colleges they are applying to.

That connectedness is there for many students through group chats, Facebook groups, and more. The experiences and connections these students get with other new students make a great impression for the next year and allow students to make new connections with other new students.

I think that’s great– having all of those resources available to students to see what it’s like to be a student at EIU. However, it feeds into the toxicity of ‘the perfect college experience’.

I’m sure we all know what that looks like: going on all of these college tours, talking to a wide variety of students and professors, absolutely falling in love with the campus the minute you set foot on it, all of that kind of stuff.

That is the kind of experience we watched in YouTube videos during our senior year of high school. That is the kind of experience that we expected to have as soon as we started looking at colleges. These videos also fail to mention that something is being rubbed in someone else’s face: not everybody is able to attend the college or university of their dreams.

While I have gained a lot from my time at Eastern (both in and out of the classroom), and enjoyed going here, that doesn’t mean that everyone I know will.

When I give tours, I always love seeing the excitement on the prospective student’s faces when they pass the building that has their major, or when they see the union food court’s chick fil a for the first time or when they hear that we have late night pizza until one a.m. That doesn’t include when dad’s faces light up after I say that Jimmy G. went here when I take my group to Lantz.

Also during tours, I love mentioning why I chose to go to Eastern: the close knit community and the resources I need on a smaller level in comparison to a bigger four year university. Even though I know that’s not for everyone, having a variety of connections here on campus really helps me succeed beyond what I thought I could do.

So as others are applying to colleges, please know this: nobody will ever be mad at you if you don’t choose to go to a school. While there are so many amazing resources at every school, you have to do what’s best for you.

If you don’t know what that is yet, that’s okay. I know you’ll figure it out. You got this.

Katja Benz is a senior English major. She can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.