If there’s one thing about college that children struggle to grasp, it’s sleeping at school — with strangers. The students, many clad in Magnolia Elementary hoodies, jostled to get a glimpse of the room with the perfectly made beds. They wanted to know: Can you pick the person you live with? Can you stay up as late as you want? “Your mom is not there to wake you up so you got to wake up by yourself so you can go to your classes,” explained Belal Mobaidin, a cherubic 11-year-old who wants to be a brain surgeon.

The goal is to get students to picture themselves on campus. But not literally, warned Laura Browning, their teacher. “No posting! No selfies! No texting!” Ms. Browning sought order as they strolled by stately white-columned brick buildings. “Ladies and gentlemen, there are sidewalks. Please use them!”

For exuberant and chatty preteens (who did snap selfies), the tour hit what mattered: food, fun facts (the seventh floor of the library is so quiet that if you open chips everyone can hear) and the physically impressive. They gawked at the 54,000-seat football stadium and discovered that there is a Chick-fil-A in the basement of the student center. Enija Wright was surprised, but excited, to learn that candy is sold on campus.