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What questions should I ask when I visit colleges?

QUESTION: I will be visiting colleges, and I would like to know what questions would be good to ask the faculty as well as the students. I want to make sure that I don’t miss out on the opportunity to ask important questions that will shape my future. – College Visitor

Dear College Visitor: It’s always a great idea to visit colleges before deciding where to apply or attend. What looks great in the glossy marketing materials from the college may turn out to be a dull disappointment. As you are visiting colleges, the most important thing to figure out is: How does the college fit with your academic, career, personal, and social goals for college? Keep this in mind as you meet the faculty and students, who are the best source of information. Here are some suggestions of questions to ask:

  • How strong is the department in which you might want your major to be?

  • Are there professors in the department who specialize in an area that you are interested in?

  • How large are the classes that you are likely to take?

  • What opportunities will you have to interact with your professors?

  • Will you be required to write a thesis or take competency exams in order to graduate?

  • What’s the social scene like?

  • What do students do in their free time?

  • How prominent is the Greek system?

  • What are the most popular extracurricular activities?

  • How strong is the athletics program? Does the school offer intramural sports?

  • What kind of programs or services does the school offer? Programs or services could include personal and career counseling, internship programs, student employment help, alumni connections, and more.

  • Do most students live on campus or commute?

  • What is the housing market or campus housing like?

  • What is the community around the college like?

  • How safe is the college campus and the surrounding community?

  • What kind of weather does the school have throughout the year?

  • Is the school known for attracting students of a particular political view?

  • How many students receive financial aid?

  • What opportunities are there for part-time jobs?

  • What do you like or dislike the most about the college?

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Gen & Kelly Tanabe

Gen and Kelly Tanabe are the founders of SuperCollege and the award-winning authors of 11 books on college admission, financial aid and scholarships. Together they were accepted to all of the Ivy League colleges and won more than $100,000 in merit-based scholarships to graduate from Harvard debt-free.