Southern Ontario is a hub for esteemed universities, with a variety of highly respected programs attracting students from around the world. If you’re a guidance counsellor, student organizer, or parent, you can help grads make the big post-secondary decision by planning a tour of universities in the Toronto area. Coordinate with other parents and students to organize a group tour that’s cost-effective, fun, and fuelled by school spirit. Charter a bus in Toronto to start planning your Southern Ontario university tour.
Steps to planning your campus tour
Before you pack the bus with a gaggle of grads, you’ll have to make a few decisions. Follow these steps to make the planning process simple and efficient.
Compile your passenger list and select the best Toronto charter bus
The first thing you’ll need to do is compile a list of all the students who will join you on your tour. Once you know how many passengers you’ll transport, it’s time to select the appropriate bus. A good rule of thumb: If you’re traveling with fewer than 20 people, rent a minibus or mini coach bus. If you’re traveling with more, select a coach bus or school bus. You’ll also want to consider the level of comfort you’d like to provide. The longer students are expected to sit on a bus, the more amenities they’ll want. Book a bus with wifi (great for exam cramming), air-conditioning, power outlets, and audio-visual equipment.
If you’re traveling in a small group, it may be worth your while to look into renting a passenger van. Bus.com offers sprinter van rentals for groups of up to 15 passengers. It’s even possible to drive the sprinter van yourself provided you have a standard driver’s license.
Organize your chaperones
When traveling with minors, you need to incorporate an extra step into your travel planning: chaperone organization. We recommend having at least two chaperones per bus-load of students. Obviously, teens don’t need the same level of supervision as kids, but they might get a little too excited to leave home. Chaperones should be a watchful eye, but should also give students their space and be a friend to approach if something goes wrong. For more chaperoning information, check out the Bus.com Student Travel Guide.
Decide when to go
You’ll first want to choose the time of year for your trip. But stay flexible until you select which universities you’d like to visit. Every school is different, and many will have predetermined times for tours.
Pro tip: Keep an eye out for open houses in September and March.
Plan your itinerary
Begin by surveying the interests of your students. If you’re planning a trip for a specialized group, like a sports team or model UN, this step will be easier. If your group has diverse interests, plan on an extended trip over a long weekend to visit as many schools as possible. Use the following list of Toronto universities to start planning your itinerary.
Universities in Toronto
Made up of two campuses — Keele and Glendon — York University is 40 minutes from Toronto’s downtown core, but it still feels like an urban campus. It boasts the largest Liberal Arts program and the only Space Engineering program in Canada. It’s also the proud home of Schulich School of Business and Osgoode Hall Law School. For group tours, contact the school by phone.
Ranked number two in the Canadian Universities ratings, Ryerson is a world-renowned leader in research. It’s known for its Biomedical Engineering, Nutrition and Food, and Creative Industries programs. Ryerson is right downtown and benefits from all the luxuries of being in a major metropolis. Tours take around two hours and do not include the residence. If you’d like to see the dorms, you’ll need to add a special residence tour to your schedule.
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a major player in the world’s higher education scene. It ranks in the top ten world-wide universities for Computer Science, Medicine, English Literature, Biology, History, Psychology, Philosophy, and Education. The main campus is downtown and features a mix of Gothic and Modern architecture. Depending on your group’s interests, you might want to add tours of U of T’s Mississauga and Scarborough campuses. University of Toronto also offers program-specific tours for groups touring with special interests.
Universities East of Toronto
Make a special trip just for Queen’s. It’s nearly three hours in the opposite direction of the other Southern Ontario schools, but its prestige is well worth the bus ride. Established in 1841, Queen’s is known for its law school, business program, and Indigenous studies department. Call in advance to coordinate a tour. Keep in mind that tours of the residences are not offered during exam time (December and April).
Universities West of Toronto
A classic green quad in the heart of Hamilton, a.k.a Steeltown, McMaster is a destination for innovative STEM-oriented students. Charter a Toronto bus to visit the campus Planetarium or tour the facilities dedicated to Commerce, Engineering, and Political Philosophy. Just an hour bus ride from downtown Toronto, a visit to McMaster pairs well with any of the universities west of the 6ix.
University of Western Ontario
Two and a half hours west of TO, University of Western Ontario is a great first stop on your tour. Book a bus in Toronto, drive along Lake Ontario to Western, then double back to hit up Guelph or Waterloo. Western is lauded for its Business Administration, Engineering and Medical Sciences, and Media and Public Interests programs. Campus tours book extremely fast, so reserve months in advance!
University of Guelph
Over the years Guelph has grown into a respected university town, attracting some major names in Canadian literature like Lawrence Hill and Jane Urquhart. But the University of Guelph isn’t just a campus for wandering writers. Its Food Science, Veterinary Medicine, and Biomedical Engineering programs make for a diverse student body. Guelph is just an hour and a half from Toronto, and easy to visit. Call two weeks in advance to hold your spot.
University of Waterloo
Located at the center of Canada’s technology hub (Kitchener/Waterloo), the University of Waterloo is famous for producing ground-breaking research. With renowned Engineering and Digital Arts programs, Waterloo is serious about STEM. Call to book a tour then charter a Toronto bus rental for two hour trip to Waterloo.
Picking the right university is an integral step in shaping your future. Be certain that you make the right decision by visiting all of these institutions to see what each has to offer! Renting a bus is the best way to hit all of these universities in an efficient way.