Picking the right college is one of life’s biggest decisions. Making this life-changing decision at 18-years-old can be extra tough, so it’s important to be prepared.
College visits can be a hugely beneficial part of that decision-making process. Time spent with current students during a campus tour can offer valuable insights. These student tour guides are a great resource for digging deeper and really finding out about campus life.
To get all of the nitty-gritty details you need to ask the right questions, and a lot of them. No question is too small or too big. From the social life on campus to finding a job after graduation, don’t hesitate to ask. Here are some great ideas to get you started.
Make It Personal With Your Tour Guide:
Find out what made them fall in love with their school, and discover what’s not so great too.
- Why did you pick this school?
- Are you happy with your choice?
- What is your biggest complaint?
- Do you have a favorite spot on campus?
- Is there one class or professor everyone really wants/needs to take?
Where Will I Live?
A big part of college is learning to live on your own or with a roommate, so it’s important to understand where and what exactly you will be calling home for the next four years. Ask your tour guide specifics about the dorms, and also what other options might be available.
- Where do most students live?
- How are the dorms set up? Are there double or triple rooms?
- Are the bathrooms shared? Private?
- Are the dorms co-ed? How are floors divided?
- Are there different types of dorms for different interests? Healthy living? Greek?
- Are there kitchens? Laundry? Study lounges?
- Can I choose my roommate?
- What if I don’t like my roommate? Is it easy to switch?
- After freshman year, do students live in campus housing?
- If they move off campus do students share apartments? Houses?
- Can I have a car on campus? Where would I park?
- What cafeteria has the best food?
As much as it is important to find out what the salad bar is like in the cafeteria, it is crucial to find out what to expect in terms of academics. Knowing what a typical class looks and feels like will help you determine if the school has the right learning environment for you.
- Is the school known for excellence in a certain major?
- Are most of your classes taught by a professor or teaching assistant?
- Do professors make themselves available outside of class?
- Is it hard to enroll in certain classes?
- Is Wi-Fi available everywhere on campus?
- Can I pick my academic advisor? How are they assigned?
- What if I am undecided or want to switch my major?
- Is there an honors program?
- Can undergraduates participate in research opportunities?
- How large is a typical class?
- How many classes are lectures vs. smaller discussion-type classes?
- Where are the best places to study on campus?
- How is the library? What are library hours?
- If I’m struggling, is study help available?
You will also want to get a feel for how well you can fit in. Ask questions that will give you an idea about the diversity and inclusiveness on campus.
- Are the students friendly and welcoming?
- Is the student body diverse?
- Are there a lot of international students?
- Do students of different majors, ethnicities and races interact?
- Do cliques exist?
Go Team! Go!
Some schools are all about the sports. On these campuses, game day is like a national holiday and the entire school goes bananas. Find out if your school could be one of them and what to expect.
- What sports programs are big here?
- What is game day like?
- Are tickets easy to get?
- Do students dress up? Tailgate?
At the same time you’ll also want to ask about what opportunities exist to exercise, play and get engaged outside of the classroom. Ask questions about getting involved on campus, and how to find the right groups for you.
- What is the rec center like?
- Do they offer exercise classes?
- Is it tough to snag a cardio machine?
- What intramural sports are popular?
- How can I find out about available clubs and groups?
- What clubs are you involved in?
- How big is Greek life on campus?
- Are most students in a sorority or fraternity?
- Do students work on campus?
- How do you find a job?
- What kind of community service opportunities are available?
- Are there religious groups? And, opportunities to worship?
- Can students study abroad?
Not everyone is interested in keg stands and flip cup, so it is important to know how and where students socialize.
- What are the weekends like on campus?
- What is the party scene?
- Are there campus sponsored events?
- Is the school known for any big weekends like homecoming or Halloween?
- Is there a movie theater? Concert venue? Good restaurants? A quaint coffee shop?
- Is is easy to get off campus without a car?
- What kind of transportation is available?
- Is it safe to walk around on campus?
- What safety measures are in place?
What Happens Next?
As much as we’d like it to, college won’t last forever. Find out what programs and services are available to help you secure a bright future post-college too.
- What career services are available?
- Are there alumni networking events?
- Is there a mentor program?
- What internship opportunities are available?
- Is there a co-op program?
- Do employers recruit on campus?
A carefully thought-out list of questions should help you narrow down your college search. Or, at the very least, the answers should give you a good starting point to create your pro/con lists.
What else do you think students should ask?