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Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by Lexie1229, May 2, 2012.
What are some questions to ask? What to do? What to look for? etc?
It really depends on the school and who is giving the tour. I made sure to listen intently and only ask questions during lulls so as to not derail the conversation in critical areas (i.e. hospital) where time spent was limited. You can always ask questions at the end when the tour ends if they are general to the school or something you saw (and maybe didn't want to ask in front of everyone).
If it's a private tour with a staff member at the school (i.e. someone whose job is to sell to school, who gives presentations to pre-vet clubs at other schools, etc.), they are very used to all kinds of questions and know all of the ins and outs of the school, and about the students. My school's guy will give you a 3 hour tour (without being stranded on an island) if you are up for it. He loves to talk and will tell you all the stories he can, so questions are welcome at any point. Ask about interesting cases, typical caseloads at the hospital, what kinds of extracurricular activities there are, how involved students are in those activities, if there are any opportunities to get hands-on experience before clinics, if they welcome students to shadow clinicians in pre-clinical years, etc. I didn't ask many questions on the tour at my interview, but I did chat the students up about classes and the possibility of working while in school.
Hmmm, just curious. When I went on my mizzou tour, the tour guide said that you needed to pre-arrange hospital time with the clinicians rather than just being able to drop in whenever you have the time. Is this not the truth?
Speaking as someone who gives tours at UMN, I love it when people ask questions at any time. Sure, I can blather away the entire tour about whatever we happen to be passing, but I'd much rather talk about things I know you're actually curious about - far better to interrupt me so we can focus on what matters to you!
Not suggesting being rude, by any means, but tours are a lot more fun to give when you know you're providing info the person wants to know. I never judge whether the questions are 'good' or 'bad' - everyone's got a different knowledge level and background, so all questions are fair game.
But I would be sensitive to who is giving the tour and try to get a read from them whether they're married to their spiel or whether they welcome questions.
OP: Ask whatever you're curious about! I'd focus a bit less on the teaching hospital and a bit more on the classroom environment. Ask about the locker facilities. Ask what the classrooms are like and if you can see one. Ask about technology (100% wireless coverage?). Ask about study areas and nighttime access and parking. Ask about whether you get a desk somewhere, study carrel, whatever. Find out how far apart areas are you might need to go to (teaching barn is 5 miles away? say whaaat?). You're going to spend three years in that type of setting, but the tours tend to focus on the hospital because we know it's more "interesting". Ask if you can see their anatomy lab, their histology lab, etc. Check into student services - do they have a med clinic for students on campus? Food availability?
No, that's pretty accurate. I know of one clinician who said we could just drop by, and other than that it seems necessary to arrange it beforehand. I brought it up because here just waltzing in is probably not ideal, whereas the student at K State who gave a tour to Heylodeb and I really emphasized that they were welcome to go by (not sure if it's true, but it's something that stuck with me from that tour).
Edit: I think asking about study areas is a good question, as well as school safety (swipe card access to buildings?). I tend to focus on clinics because that is more what I'm interested in. Pretty much everyone is going to get the same pre-clinical background, but it's good to know if a school has virtually no exotic patients if that's what you're interested in. Not that it should make or break a decision, but it's good to know. I think I have a thing for clinics since I'm itching to get in there next fall and I know all the hands on stuff my SO's med school lets him do...