College Tour of Ivy League Schools Designed for High School Juniors and Seniors

For some of the most brilliant high school students and their families, the achievement of an Ivy League education is a dream worth reaching for and one that is within grasp. The Ivy League’s highly competitive admissions standards and large tuition costs are daunting for many high school students in the process of applying to colleges.

Yet attending an Ivy League school is desirable for many students. Those students who are academically prepared for the Ivy League may want to take a campus tour of some of the top Ivy League schools before deciding upon where to make application.

Trip leaders will want to schedule Ivy League college tours in students’ junior or senior years. Students will receive a walking tour of the college campus and an overview of the history (and in some cases the admissions process). Visiting student groups may dine at the university or participate in other activities with the campus community, as time and scheduling allows.

This sample college tour is designed for the school group interested in touring the campus of half of the eight Ivy League Schools. Included on this particular tour are: Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Harvard University

Harvard Square is the heartbeat of Boston, and it is the home of Harvard University. The university provides two different college tours: a tour on the history of Harvard and an undergraduate admissions tour. Groups can decide which is appropriate or may elect to take both. The university was established in 1636 and has a rich history that dates to English Settlement. With over 20,000 students and 2,000 faculty, Harvard serves a wide constituency. Some famous Harvard faculty include Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Stephen Greenblatt. Costs for undergraduate tuition are nearly $40,000 in 2010-11 academic year. Financial aid is available to students. Like other Ivy League Schools, Harvard provides a higher education for students of all means.

Princeton University

Established in 1746, Princeton University is located on 500 acres of land in central New Jersey. Princeton’s curriculum focuses on the study of humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering. With 7,500 students and approximately 1,100 faculty members, Princeton offers a 6:1 student to faculty ratio and a distinguished private education. Princeton’s famous faculty includes writer and Nobel Prize winner Tony Morrison. Alumni Eugene O’Neill was also a Princeton graduate and Nobel Prize winner. Former president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, was a student, professor, and one time president of Princeton University. Some highlights of the campus tour are Nassau Hall. Built in 1756 of local sandstone, Nassau Hall houses a faculty room that resembles the British House of Commons. Firestone Library, University Chapel, and Alexander Hall, were musical performances are held, are all architectural masterpieces students will visit on campus tour.

Yale University

Located in New Haven, Connecticut, Yale’s campus is in the heart of an urban area. Yale has been established since the early 1700s. On a campus tour, students will see some excellent architecture from the Victorian Gothic to New England Colonial to contemporary designs. Known for its school of law, medicine, arts and sciences and elite graduate and professional programs, Yale University is an excellent choice for outstanding students. The school serves 11,000 students and employs 3,200 faculty members. Campus tours are scheduled ahead of time for groups of 10 or more, and include an orientation video, and an overview of Yale’s history and architecture.

University of Pennsylvania

The sprawling University of Pennsylvania campus has been located in West Philadelphia since the 18th Century, when Ben Franklin helped to found it. In 1791, The College of Philadelphia became the University of Pennsylvania. Today, Penn has over 25,000 students and 4,000 faculty. The University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League School known for its emphasis on the liberal arts and its curriculum for the business student. Many Penn graduates seek careers in public service or the arts. The Annenberg School for Communication and the Wharton School of Business are known around the world. Penn’s culture is one that celebrates the international student. It is a campus known for its diverse atmosphere of learning. Located on Walnut Street, the campus district is also known as University City. A tour will showcase the historical architecture on campus, give students a feeling for campus life, facilities, classrooms and administration, and provide an overview of West Philadelphia.

High school students destined for college can benefit a great deal from college tours. Students travel to college campuses with their peers, learn about college life, and are given insight into the city or area where the university is located. Taking campus tours may motivate students to get started on the college application process.

Teachers, administrators and school group leaders need to plan college tours six months to one year ahead of time. Since college applications are due in February and March of the senior year, it is highly recommended that college tours be scheduled for the junior year of high school, or fall of the senior year. For more information on scheduling college tours visit

High School Groups Take College Tours of Campuses in Washington D.C. Area

Guidance counselors, parents and teachers have the opportunity to encourage students to take college campus tours when they are juniors or seniors in high school. Taking an organized tour of selected campuses will inspire students to set goals for higher education while completing high school.

College tours go deeper than just a glance at facilities these days. Student groups have the chance to meet administration, faculty, other students, ask questions and even participate in campus activities. College tours are a wonderful educational travel experience appropriate for high school students on the college track.

College tours can be created for any region in the United States. Some may be arranged with a theme such as black college tours, state college tours, or Ivy League tours.

I have put together a sample itinerary of college tours in the Washington D.C. and Baltimore area. Many of the nation's finest and oldest universities are located here and are prestigious and offer a first rate education. I have selected: Howard, George Mason, Georgetown, American, and Morgan State Universities as college campuses on this particular tour. Group leaders involved in planning should allow three to four days for this tour so students can spend time at each college.

Howard University

Located in the heart of Washington D.C., this age old institution, Howard University is known for turning out MBA' s, graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences (established in 1867), and medical doctors and specialists. Howard University also attracts a large African American population. Many famous African American students are alumni of Howard, including Alaine Locke, David Blackwell, and Arthur P. Davis.

George Mason University

With the main branch in Fairfax, Virginia, George Mason University offers close proximity to Washington D.C. on a contemporary, suburban campus with multiple locations. Known for the school of Law, Department of Economics and distinction in Writing Across the Curriculum, George Mason University is dedicated to serving Northern Virginia. Alumni of George Mason include Nobel laureates in Economic Science, James Buchanan (1986) and Vernon Smith (2002). In the 1930s, the city of Fairfax granted the University 150 acres of land and George Mason serves over 30,000 students today.

Georgetown University

Georgetown University was established in 1789. It is one of America's oldest higher educational institutions. Georgetown is an inner city university with many historic buildings just off Canal Road NW in Washington D.C. Healy Hall is the centerpiece of campus and resembles a neo gothic structure. It houses the administrative offices as well as the Riggs Library and Gaston Hall, a 700-seat convocation center where domestic and foreign dignitaries have spoken. Touring Georgetown University students learn about the distinguished history of Washington D.C. Some of the more famous graduates of Georgetown include MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell, actor Carl Reiner, and Washington Nationals executive Michael Shapiro.

American University

American University has a great deal to offer students wanting to make an impact in politics, public service, the arts and global affairs. This university is also situated right in Washington D.C. American University only permits student group visits in January, February, May, June, July August and September. Tours must be scheduled in these months. American University is an internationally renowned school known for its diverse curriculum and student body. It is a must see destination on campus tours of the Washington D.C. area.

Morgan State University

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Morgan State is designated as Maryland's Pubic Urban University. It caters to a diverse student body and has always historically served the black college population. Carnegie Hall, the central academic building, was funded by a grant from Andrew Carnegie in 1915, and is one of many historic buildings on campus. Morgan State is located close to center city Baltimore, near the Inner Harbor and many ethnic neighborhoods. High school students on college tours may enjoy lunch or dinner in Baltimore and/or a trip to the Baltimore Symphony or another cultural venue while visiting Morgan State.

This short list of universities in and near Washington D.C. is by no means comprehensive. I've designed this college tour to offer students insight into some of the historic institutions in the area. These universities have helped shape the individuals who influenced our nation's history, politics and culture.

High school seniors and juniors will benefit from a college tour. Learn more about pricing and booking for college tours by visiting