As you conduct your college search on and go on campus visits, you’ll probably end up having a lot of questions. But are you asking the right ones? To make sure you’re staying on track and not worrying about unnecessary things, we’ve compiled a list of 30 questions that cover the most important thing you need to know about college. Keep these in mind as you determine the fit and feel of a school, as well as how it can best serve your educational and career goals.
- What's the nature of the surrounding environment (urban, suburban, rural, etc.), and is it to your liking?
- What's the size of the school’s campus, both in terms of acreage (an important consideration if the class buildings and your dorm are far apart!) and number of students?
- What's the weather like during the academic year, and is it something you're okay with?
- Are there accessible internship and other career opportunities, recreational opportunities, and amenities like grocery stores in the area?
- Can you live off campus if you want to, or if living on campus is important to you, is housing available?
- Does the school have the major(s) you’re considering. If you’re undecided, do they have a variety of majors you’re interested in exploring?
- Does the school have an honors college?
- How will the school help you determine and achieve your academic goals?
- How many students graduate in four years?
- What's the average class size for introductory courses? For advanced courses?
- What are the professors in your departments of interest like? What are they known for, and what have they accomplished?
- What kinds of student-faculty research opportunities are there?
- What kind of accreditation does your program(s) of interest hold? How is it regarded in the field?
- Does the school offer a writing center or other tutoring programs?
- What's the student-faculty ratio?
- How will the school help you determine and achieve your career goals?
- What is their postgraduate job placement rate like?
- What does the career services office offer?
- What kinds of internships have students held and how did they find those opportunities?
- What percentage of students receive financial aid, and how much on average?
- What percentage of students graduate with debt, and how much on average?
- Does financial aid include loans?
- How many years does it typically take students to graduate? Could you afford another year of tuition if financial aid and scholarships doesn't extend beyond four years?
- What kinds of scholarships are available to students? Are they awarded by academic achievement, through college departments, etc.?
- What kinds of work-study opportunities are there?
Extracurriculars and social life
- How do students spend their free time on and off campus?
- What fun things are available to students through the school and in the community?
- Can you get or stay involved in activities that are important to you, from sports teams to musical groups to volunteer organization?
- Are there clubs or organizations that pertain to your major or field of study?
- Can students start their own clubs, and what's the process for doing so?
There you have it: 30 questions you really should ask yourself about every college you're seriously considering. Obviously, some of these will weigh more heavily in your decision than they might for another students, so take every question with a grain of salt. In fact, feel free to tweak these questions or add your own, depending on what's most important to you in finding the right fit college or university!
Need more advice? Check out our Ultimate Guide to the College Search!