Blog » 10 Essential College Scavenger Hunt Ideas For Students

24 Awesome Scavenger Hunt Ideas for College Students in 2024

Updated: February 01, 2024

Updated: February 16, 2023

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:

1. Use a Scavenger Hunt App

Trying to organize a scavenger hunt for a large number of students or across the entire campus could be challenging to coordinate in a pre-smartphone era.

Fortunately, there are now scavenger hunt apps that make deploying an interactive scavenger hunt for hundreds or thousands of students snap. Apps like Scavify allow you to completely customize and brand your scavenger hunt as well as use interactive elements like photos, videos, QR codes, Q&A, GPS check-ins and more.

  • 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!

2. 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.

3. Increase Student and Social 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

4. Connect to 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.

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5. Drive Involvement in 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).

6. Include Sports, Of Course

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!

7. 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.

8. 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

9. 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!

10. 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!

Want to build a campus scavenger hunt?

Bring your campus to life with our innovative scavenger hunt app.

Start Free or get a demo

20 Items to Include in Your Scavenger Hunt for College Students

Here is a list of things to consider using in your scavenger hunt for college students. You may want to create riddles based on these items or vary the ways to find the items (e.g. photo, video, QR codes, GPS, etc.)

  1. A campus map or directory
  2. A picture of the school mascot
  3. A specific type of plant in the campus garden or greenhouse
  4. A student newspaper
  5. A student club flyer or pamphlet
  6. A specific book from the library
  7. A signature from a professor or staff member
  8. A photo with a campus landmark or statue
  9. A specific item from the campus store or bookstore
  10. A photo of a specific mural or piece of artwork on campus
  11. A team photo or roster from a specific college sports team
  12. A video of a student giving a campus tour
  13. A photo of a specific building or classroom on campus
  14. A specific piece of equipment or tool from a campus lab or studio
  15. A picture of a specific historical or cultural artifact in the campus museum
  16. A photo of a specific event or performance at the campus theater or music venue
  17. A specific item from the campus food court or dining hall
  18. A photo with a campus police officer or security guard
  19. A specific item from the campus health center or gym
  20. A picture of a specific campus tradition or event

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!

Building a Scavenger Hunt?

Scavify is the world's most interactive and trusted scavenger hunt app. Contact us today for a demo, free trial, and pricing.


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