The campus visit is a crucial component of the admissions process. Campus tours are one of the best ways for prospective students to learn about a specific college and to get a feel for what daily life would be like on campus. It gives students an opportunity to get a glimpse of the student body, to feel out the overall atmosphere of the school, and to develop a sense of what the community and the surrounding neighborhood is like. If you do not know what questions to ask, or if you ask questions that can be easily answered through the school’s website or through a brochure, then you have not taken full advantage of the information the visit or the tour has to offer you. The purpose of a college visit is to determine if the school and the daily lifestyle on campus is the best match for you.
To maximize your tour, here are essential questions that you should ask during the visit:
Academics and Graduation Rates:
- How much reading and writing is expected in classes?
- For introductory courses, what is the average class size?
- For upper-division courses, what is the average class size?
- How prevalent are teaching assistants utilized throughout the campus?
- Are courses taught mostly by the professors or by the teaching assistants?
- What are the opportunities for undergraduate research?
- Do you have an honors program?
- What is your four-year graduation rate? Five-year graduation rate?
- What percentage of freshman return for their sophomore year?
Financial Aid and Campus Opportunities:
- What are the school’s work-study opportunities?
- What is the breakdown for loans versus grants?
- What is the typical financial aid package offered to students?
- How many students study abroad?
- What is your study abroad program?
- How many students earn internships while attending school?
- What clubs and activities are offered to students?
Campus Life and Student Well-being
- How many students live on campus?
- Do most students go home on the weekends or do they stay on campus?
- What are the dorm choices and housing options?
- Are the dorms concentrated in one area or are they spread out throughout the campus?
- What do students do on the weekends?
- Do dorms have access to the Internet?
- How is the quality of food in the dining hall or the cafeteria? What are the food options? Are there meal plans?
- What is a typical weekday like at this school?
After your visit, it is equally important for you and your family to think about the qualities of the college that are most important to you. Here are questions you should reflect upon:
Questions to Ask Yourself After Your College Visit:
- What was your interaction like with staff members and students tour guides?
- Do you feel that the campus is a good size for you?
- Do you feel comfortable and safe?
- How accessible are places that are off campus?
- How would you feel if you were in a classroom with these students or if you shared a dorm with them?
Be curious and thoughtful, and ask questions that will yield the most pertinent information for you during the campus tour. Plan ahead and start scheduling your college visits now. It is never too early to start touring schools. Essentially, try to imagine if this is a college where you can truly pursue your academic and personal goals.