It’s college visit season, and in case your students will be meeting with admissions officers or recruiters while on campuses, I wanted to share some questions that might help you gather valuable intel on campus life and culture from both academic and social perspectives.
Note: I would not ask all of these questions in one sitting, necessarily — choose the ones that best fit the needs or interests of your students. I would also ask different questions of an alumni interviewer, so keep in mind that these questions are designed more for on-campus or Zoom visits with current students or admissions representatives.
Top questions for college visits
1) On average, how many classes do first year students take? What are the support systems in place to help them with the academic transition to college?
2) When are academic advisors assigned to first year students? Would they be in the department of my intended major? How often will I meet with them?
3) Do professors teach first year classes, or TAs? Do they hold office hours every week?
4) What words would you use to describe the campus culture?
5) What kind of student thrives best on this campus? (I ask this question to reps when they visit my school, and they always comment on how it is a good question to ask and they give great and revealing answers!)
6) What is one piece of advice you would give an incoming first year student at your college or university?
7) What is your favorite tradition at this college/university? (It’s very telling if they can’t come up with one!)
8 ) What do you think students here find surprising or unexpected when they start their first year here?
9) How easy or hard is it to get the classes you want each semester?
10) What resources do you have for students if they are struggling with a class? Is there a tutoring center? Is it included in tuition, or are there extra fees to use it?
11) Do you guarantee housing for first year students? If not, do you help first year students find housing off campus?
12) What would you say is the biggest challenge on your campus?
13) How often do alumni come back and get involved in helping current students find internships and jobs?
I find that these questions show that students are thinking deeply and critically about the college experience and beyond. It goes beyond 14) “How is the food?” — though I would say that is an important question too!
Looking for insight on college admissions and how to pay for college? College Admissions: Grown and Flown gives parents a chance to ask questions to admissions experts, including the author of this article, Allison Slater Tate, in weekly live sessions. Join now for a 14-day free trial.
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