The purpose of the college visit is to discover more information about the school that you don’t already know and to verify what you have read and heard about the school. If you’ve read anything about maximizing your college visits, then you know you need to ask lots of questions to all of the different people you meet on campus: students, admission officers, financial aid officers, faculty members, and coaches! You know who you should be talking to (everyone!), but do you know what you should be asking them?
Here is a list of different questions you can ask different groups of people on campus to get you started. Remember to ask follow up questions to keep the dialogue moving. Also, try to keep the questions open-ended so that you get more than a simple “yes” or “no” answer.
For the students:
- Why did you select this college to attend? In what ways did it meet your expectations? In what ways have you been disappointed?
- What are the college’s biggest weaknesses? What do you dislike most about this college?
- What type of student thrives here? What sort of student is unhappy?
- How safe is the campus? How do you feel about walking on campus late at night?
- How do students spend their free time here?
- What do students do on the weekends?
- What is the best place to study on campus? Where do you study? Is it possible to study in your dorm room?
- How much time do you give yourself to study?
- How well does the campus technology meet your needs in terms of computer access, wif, and other technologies?
- What is the most popular course on campus? Which department gets rave reviews?
- Who teaches the classes, professors or graduate students?
- How large are freshman classes?
- How effective is your faculty adviser?
- How does an average student without a diagnosed learning disability get access academic support services?
- How accessible are the faculty members? Do they have regular office hours? Do they provide you with contact information to reach them outside of classes?
- What do you like best about dorm living? What do you dislike about campus housing? Which dorms are the most popular?
- How long is the dining hall open for meals? What sort of meal options are available on campus?
For the professors and instructors:
- What do you expect of your students?
- What are your typical course requirements? How many exams, research papers, and presentations are in a class?
- What type of research opportunities are offered to your students? Do you often mentor students?
- Who teaches introductory courses, graduate students or professors?
- How do you make yourself accessible to your students?
- What type of arrangements can be made for students who require tutoring?
For admissions officers:
- Why do students choose this college?
- What makes this college stand out?
- What would a student gain by attending this college?
- How would you describe the profile of a typical student who attends this college?
- What is the process used to evaluate a student’s application? How important are the SATs or ACTs in the final decision?
- Do you recalculate a student’s GPA?
- If I apply for financial aid, does that reduce my chance of getting into this college?
- How are roommates selected?
- Are there opportunities for study abroad or college exchange programs?
- How easy is it to obtain a part-time job on campus?
- What is the percentage of students who graduate in 4 years?
- After graduation what is the career placement rate and/or graduate school acceptance rate?
- What kinds of things are your most recent alumni doing?
All of these questions and how the answers to them from each group can help you decide if this college fits your needs. Choosing the right college for you requires a lot of hard work and lots of questions, but it’s worthwhile!