04 Nov Questions to Ask on a College Visit
The following is a guest blog submitted to us by Kendall College in Chicago. The post offers great advice to students planning to visit college campuses.
What Questions Should Students Be Asking on College Visits?
When I was a junior and senior in high school, I got the opportunity to go on several campus tours led by current students who, at the end of the tours, expectantly?asked if the other prospective students and I had any questions. My mind somehow drew a blank at this point on every single tour.
Several years later, as a college graduate working for a college prep organization, I got the opportunity to go on several more campus tours with my students, and none of them seemed to be able to think of good questions either!
Because I hope that other students will be able to avoid this deer-in-the-headlights effect during their own college visits, Ive put together this list of the type of questions that students should ask tour guides and admissions officers.
Questions about Student Life
Many times, campus tours are led by current students who can give you the kind of firsthand information about student life that you cant get just from reviewing the schools website or brochure.
Students should consider asking questions like:
- What are some of the most popular extracurriculars that students get involved in?
- What is campus typically like on a weekend?
- What traditions does the college have?
- How many students live on campus?
- What is dorm life like?
- Is there a Greek system on campus? If there is, what percentage of the student body is involved?
- What kind of non-academic facilities are available to students (e.g. gym or rec center, free laundry rooms)?
- Is there a study abroad program?
Questions about Academics
Of course, you want to have a good quality of life on campus, but you also want to ensure that youre getting a good education that will help you reach your future career goals.
Consider asking questions like:
- What is the average class size for first-year classes?
- How available are professors outside of class hours?
- Are most classes taught by professors or teaching assistants?
- On average, how much time do you think a student spends on homework per week?
- Does this college offer majors in any specialized tracks, like culinary arts or graphic design?
- Is there an honors track?
- What are the specific requirements that students need to meet to graduate?
- Are there tutors or other learning resources available to students for free?
Questions about Financial Aid
With the rising costs of college, how to pay for college is something thats on the minds of plenty of high school students and their parents. The best way to be able to pay for college is to find a school that offers plenty of financial aid, including scholarships and work-study opportunities.
When you visit a college, you may get to attend a talk (or even meet one-on-one) with someone from either the Admissions or Financial Aid office, and if you get that opportunity, you should consider asking some of these questions:
- What is the average financial aid package?
- On average, how much debt do graduates leave with?
- What kind of work-study opportunities are there on campus?
- What kind of merit-based awards are available?
- Are there scholarships for students in specific majors or programs?
- On average, what percentage of financial need does the college meet?
Questions about Graduation
Another extremely important factor to consider when visiting a college is how many students graduate from that school. A college may have brand-new facilities and a bunch of cool-sounding classes, but if their 6-year graduation rate is 20%, that should raise some questions.
Here are some more things you should consider asking an admissions officer or anyone else who works for the college:
- What is the 4-year graduation rate? How about the 6-year graduation rate?
- What is your freshman retention rate (i.e. how many students return for their sophomore year)?
- If the graduation rate is low, why do you think that is? Is there any plan in place to improve the graduation rate?
- Are most students able to get into the classes they need to complete their majors in 4 years?
- What kind of resources does the college have for recent graduates or students who will be graduating soon? Are there career counselors and networking opportunities?
Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list of questions that students can ask during a college visit. Students should ask anything that they feel will give them a better sense of the college and what sets it apart from the other schools they are applying to. Asking plenty of questions can help students make a better-informed decision when the time comes to select their college.
This advice for prospective students brought to you by Kendall College.