I’ve been involved in admission-oriented events for over five years, as both a campus representative and a prospective student. Without a doubt, asking questions during information sessions, campus tours, and open houses makes a huge difference when you’re choosing your future college. It’s a good way to get information from current students, alumni, and staff about financial aid, the core curriculum, majors and minors, facilities, and student life. College visits are a great way to get a sense of the campus environment and student body even better than reading about the university online. Here are some questions you should ask yourself and others before, during, and after a campus visit.
Before your visit
Consider what your dream college would look like. Is it a large or small school? Does it have an urban, suburban, or rural campus? Is it part of a top-tier athletic division? Does it have a great career services center? A great alumni network? A focus on the arts or STEM? It’s nice to have a list of “must-haves” and “would-like-to haves” before your visit so you know what to keep an eye out for. For example, you might want to see what football practice is like or walk by a chemistry lab. You might also want to check out campus amenities that interest you, like the dormitories, gyms, on-campus food options, or art studios.
During your visit
Based on the interests you determined before your visit, ask your tour guide or other current students some of the following questions:
- How did you adjust to the campus environment? What did the school do to ease this transition?
- What’s your favorite class and why?
- What are your favorite and least favorite things about this university?
- If you could change one thing about this school, what would it be?
- What are some ways students can get involved in the school community?
- What events are unique to the school?
- How are students assigned on-campus housing?
- Are the dorms comfortable?
- What facilities are available in the residence halls?
- What athletics are offered at this university?
- How do you join a team on campus?
- Are there intramural sports?
Career services/alumni network
- How does the school help alumni with their future educational studies or post-grad employment?
- Do career services help students find or place students in internships?
- What made you choose your major?
- When do students typically declare their major?
- What are the most popular majors here?
- How far is the campus from malls, movie theaters, parks, etc.?
- How far is the campus from bus stations or airports?
- Is there on-campus transportation?
- Can (or should) students have a car on campus?
After your visit
Of course, there may be questions that come up after your visit. The best thing to do is make sure you get your admission counselor’s business card or the admission team’s contact information. Some students who guide tours or information sessions may even be willing to give you their contact information. If you can’t attend a tour or info session, most universities’ admission teams will answer any questions prospective students have if you email them about your situation.
College visits aren’t something you do and that’s it. There’s a lot of planning before-hand. You need to be attentive during it. And you need to reflect afterwards to really narrow down what you like in a college and what’s best for you. Asking questions to others and to yourself is an important part of the whole process. Prepare your questions, enjoy your visit, and give it some good though and you’ll be sure to find the best-fit college for you.
Find more college visit tips in our Campus Visits section to help you plan and prepare for your trip.