Blog » 10 Essential College Scavenger Hunt Ideas For Students

10 Essential College Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Students

Published February 01, 2019
laptop notebook and bookbag on a table

A college campus can seem like a strange, intimidating place for a first-time student. There’s a lot of attention given to demystifying the college environment, and there’s one clear winner for both fun and function: a campus scavenger hunt!

There are a number of ways to leverage a scavenger hunt for your students, and you don’t need much to get started. Check out the list below for tips and tricks to make your campus scavenger hunt a must-do for your incoming student population:

Use an App

  • No longer do scavenger hunts require papers, pencils, and lots of advanced planning - everything can now be consolidated within the smartphone carried by every student.
  • Scavify is a great example of an app that can support a wide range of activities, from GPS check-in to QR code scanning, to more traditional photo/video upload and Q&A items.
  • The benefits of the app are varied, including automatic tracking and scoring (with realtime leaderboards), easy sharing via social media, and easy distribution (a one-touch download).
  • As far as planning goes, using an app not only cuts down on waste and resources, it also allows you to easily customize the hunt for your campus and student population size!

Identify and Incorporate Key Locations on Campus

  • The size of a college campus can be overwhelming, leading students to miss key resources (like the student health center, a campus computing lab, or student study resources). Identifying key campus locations as part of a fun and engaging scavenger hunt will ensure student familiarity with these spaces, and increase the likelihood they return to them in the future.

Increase Student Interaction

  • The team aspect of a scavenger hunt gives you a great opportunity to randomly assign students to a team for the challenge. This will make it easier for students to meet new people, and completing the hunt will facilitate effective collaboration (but they’ll be too busy having fun to notice).
lfour college students looking at a laptop

Incorporate Campus Culture

  • Is there a tradition for all incoming freshman, or a photo op by a specific landmark that has gained popularity among the student body? Incorporate those items into your hunt, and students will quickly learn what the cool kids on campus are doing.
  • An added bonus is that these photos are easily shared on social media - earning lots of likes and street cred for the students who participate.

Include Your Student Organizations

  • On-campus groups and clubs are another great way for students to embed themselves in campus life, and incorporating those elements into your scavenger hunt is a great, easy way to introduce the students to everything that exists.
  • If there’s an on-campus resource center or headquarters for student organizations, that’s a solid inclusion. However, if there’s a point-person for a student org who is great at fostering a friendly atmosphere, incorporate a more personal interaction with him or her as part of the hunt (e.g., a photo with that person, or a photo outside his or her office).

Don’t Forget About Sports

  • The college sporting environment is a prominent feature of university life, so be sure to include it as part of the scavenger hunt. Do you have a trophy room from past championships? Have them identify a specific trophy based on clues alone for a 1st place photo op! There’s a lot that can be done with your campus sports culture, even if it isn’t related to any sort of specific game or event!

Embrace Social Media

  • Social media and the modern scavenger hunt are a natural pairing - not only can students easily share photos and videos from their list, but you can incorporate tasks to get students to find and engage with campus social media accounts.

Expand Your Reach to the Broader Campus Area

  • Don’t restrict your hunt to the campus itself, as students love to learn about the broader community surrounding their school. Identify the most popular hangouts and regional activities, and find ways to incorporate those into the scavenger hunt list.
  • If students aren’t easily able to travel to some of these local places, you can easily make it a web search question, where they need to come up with the name and/or GPS coordinates of a place that meets specific criteria, for example.
group of college students jumping in air with sunsetting

Go Back In Time

  • Be sure to include items that are important from your school’s history, so students can identify and experience the long history of the traditions which are still important to campus life. Include tasks relating to the first building on campus, or the year in which the school first opened, or photos of past graduates - students will love seeing the faces of those who came before them!

Ask for Student Feedback

  • Not only does a scavenger hunt allow you to highlight special resources, traditions, and places, it’s also a mechanism for students to provide feedback on their touchpoints with the university (e.g., orientation, the application process, residential life, etc.). Use this as a low-stress way of getting students to provide input on their experience so far!

Once you start thinking about your campus and the culture you see, it’ll be easy to build out a scavenger hunt using the guidelines above. It’s not only a fun (and easy) activity, but it delivers a ton of benefits to your incoming students: increased engagement, increased awareness of resources and campus culture, and a greater sense of belonging and ownership for the college experience. It’s a win across the board!

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