Questions to Ask a College

    As you start your college search, there are a few basic questions you'll want to ask yourself: Do you want to be part of a large university or a smaller college with more personal attention? Do you want to be in the inner city, a quaint college town, or somewhere in between? Are you looking for a certain academic program, or do you want to investigate the top programs at each school?

    One of the best ways to work through these questions is to visit schools you are considering. A college's website can tell you a lot about the school's academic programs, recreational activities, or admissions process, but, in the end, you will be learning (and maybe living) on the college's campus, not its website. During your visit, take advantage of all the resources you can: ask for a tour of the campus, talk with the students and professors, try the cafeteria food, and meet with the admissions staff. Remember, the main goal of the visit is to get a feel for the campus, so give yourself enough time to explore.

    Here is a comprehensive list of questions you can ask during your visit. Don't feel like you have to ask them all; print the list and pick the ones that apply to you. For schools you are unable to visit, you can still use this list as a guide for your online research. If you cannot find the answers to your questions online, you can also email the college's admissions office; it will not only get you the answers, but also show the admissions staff that you are taking your college search seriously.


The Basics:

  1. How many students attend?
  2. How much does it cost? What financial aid or scholarship opportunities are available?
  3. How diverse is the campus population?
  4. What international study programs do you offer? What percentage of students study abroad?
  5. How many of your students choose to attend graduate or professional school?
  6. What internship, research, or service learning opportunities do you have for undergraduate students? How many students do internships?
  7. What are some special features of your campus?
  8. What is one thing you would change about your school?

Academics:

  1. Do you have the major in which I am interested?
  2. What is the job placement rate after graduation within my major?
  3. What is the average class size? Will my first year classes be close to the average?
  4. What is the student to faculty ratio?
  5. Will I graduate in four years?
  6. Will professors teach my undergraduate courses, or do you use teaching assistants?
  7. Can I reach my professors easily if I need help outside of class?
  8. Do I need to bring my own laptop, or are there computers available for free student use?
  9. Will I have an academic advisor?

Residential Life:

  1. What are my housing options my first year? After my first year?
  2. Can first year students have a car on campus?
  3. What security measures do you have in place?
  4. How does your meal system work?
  5. What do students do for fun on campus? In the community?
  6. Do students usually stay on campus for the weekends?
  7. What kind of orientation program do you have in place for first year students?

Activities:

  1. Do you offer the varsity sports that I want to play?
  2. What intramural or recreational sports are available?
  3. What choir, band, or theater opportunities are available?
  4. What religious organizations exist on campus?
  5. Are there fraternities and sororities? How many students are involved?
  6. Do you have the other extracurricular activities in which I am interested?

Admissions:

  1. What do I need to include in my application?
  2. What are your important deadlines for admission?
  3. May I visit overnight?
  4. Do you accept Advanced Placement credit?
  5. When can I expect to hear back from you regarding my admission status?
  6. Who should I contact if I think of additional questions?>
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