It feels like the ultimate trick.
A prospective college student visits campus and is delighted with the dining hall offerings. This isn’t so bad. Why does everyone complain about college food?
Then, the student enrolls at the college and is confronted with the same unappealing cafeteria options, over and over again, like some sort of bad dream.
The old “Check out our amazing campus food” trick is something many colleges do when it comes to campus visit weekends, pulling out the more exotic and appealing offerings in an effort to win over prospective students. But even though this meal may be delicious, it doesn’t tell prospective students what they need to know about a school’s cafeteria food. Here is the best way to judge a college’s campus food.
Talk to Students
Don’t rely on your campus tour guide to tell you exactly what the food is like because part of their job is to only portray the good things about a school. If good cafeteria food is important to you in your college search, you need to go to a different source: upperclassmen or random students. Ask them what they think of the cafeteria food and whether it’s edible beyond the initial campus visit.
Check out Reviews
Niche Colleges has an entire section dedicated to what campus food is like. Read reviews from students and even find out where a prospective school falls in the Best Campus Food ranking.
During your campus visit, students may partake in savory Philly cheesesteaks, but what’s on the menu after they leave? If you can, grab a dining hall menu and find out what’s to eat when you’re not around.
Keep In Mind: You’re Being Courted
Don’t hate on a school too much if its food is especially good during campus visits. After all, the college is trying to impress you, and wouldn’t you rather have them pull out all the stops rather than bring out grilled cheese? Make sure you consider the big picture when it comes to your college search.
The Bottom Line
When eating a meal at the dining hall during a campus visit, just be realistic and know that not every college meal will be so fulfilling. For every taco night, there may be a questionable-meat night. It doesn’t mean a school is bad. More often than not, it just means it’s normal.