On every single college visit, I had to visit the bookstore and normally came home having purchased something. Recently, I've had a few students shadow me on campus, and I took each of them to the bookstore to purchase some souvenirs.
Although at times I found it difficult to discern whether they were enjoying their visit or not, I found the easiest way to tell was by observing their purchases. Lots of merchandise definitely meant a lot of interest, but what do smaller purchases mean?
What you buy at a college bookstore says a lot about how you feel about the school as a whole. So, here's a break down of what each item means:
1. A t-shirt
College t-shirts are definitely a classic. Sometimes, this means, "I like the school, but I might not get in." T-shirts are a way to rep the school, without too much commitment.... or maybe you're just looking for another square for your college t-shirt quilt.
2. A sweatshirt
Once you get into sweatshirt territory, prices are starting to get a little higher. This tends to mean "I'm seriously considering going here" or "I really hope I get in." Worst comes to worst, this sweatshirt becomes pajamas in case you can't wear it on your future campus.
3. A lanyard
You're not trying to make a big monetary commitment, but you want people to know you visited. You like the school, but you're not 100% sold on it. It's easy enough to remove from your keys if you change your mind.
4. A winter hat
Your tour was just really cold and finding warmth in any way, shape, or form was the first thing on your mind.
5. A baseball hat
Your tour was really sunny and you got tired of squinting in order to see the tour guide.
6. A backpack
You bought too many things at the bookstore and needed something to carry them around in.
7. "(Insert school name here) Mom/Dad/Grandparent" merchandise
There's a 75% chance you're a teenage girl looking for a cute and funny shirt, but a 25% chance you're actually a parent hoping your child attends that university.
8. A blanket
You really loved the school and you're already planning how you're going to decorate your dorm room.
9. A laptop/water bottle sticker
It's cheap and easy enough to remove. Your commitment level is pretty low, but you came all the way here and need something to show for it.
10. An athletic t-shirt
The ultimate low-commitment item. If you don't get in, you can still be a sports fan, particularly if it's a good sports school. Or maybe you're looking forward to the sports far more than the academics.
11. A shot glass
Cause you're ~so~ college.
12. $100+ of merchandise
You're about to put down your deposit, so why not spend a little more?
13. An actual book
C'mon, who actually buys books at the bookstore?