50 Questions to Ask on a College Tour

July 19, 2016

 

Summer is the time when many high school students tour college campuses.  But what are you looking for when you make the trek all over the US to find the best university?  How do you determine if the place you will call home for four+ years is really the right place?  Just because it's a beautiful campus does not mean it’s the right place for your young adult.  This is your one chance to ask the tough questions, visit with the department staff, and talk to current students about what they enjoy and don't about the campus.

 

College tours bring back a flood of memories for parents and what they realize quickly is some things haven’t changed and some are much different.  Let’s just talk about the size of dorm rooms and the amenities that cater to this generation.  We recently received a letter from our daughter's college asking if she’d like laundry service for the year where they pick up, wash, fold, match socks, wrap clothing in a nice plastic wrapping and return to her even though they offer FREE washing machines.  Let's just say that letter never made it to her!

 

A list was created by US News & World Report Education outlining 36 questions to use when touring campuses however I’ve added a few more which are important to consider so take this list with you when you go.

 

Admission

     

_____   What is your acceptance rates?

_____   What is the female to male ratio?

_____   How many students apply for early admission?

_____   What is important to the acceptance process regarding student backgrounds?

_____   What makes your university different from others?

 

Academics

 

_____   What is the percentage of Teaching Assistants teaching classes?

_____   How much time do students typically spend on homework?

_____   How much writing and reading are expected?

_____   What is the average class size of introductory classes?

_____   What is the average class size of upper-division courses?

_____   On average, how likely are transfer courses/credits accepted for dual credits to be used towards                degree plans?

_____   What AP score is accepted?

 

Academic Perks

 

_____   What opportunities are there for undergraduate research?

_____   How many students participate in undergraduate research?

_____   Is there a culminating senior year experience?

_____   Do you have an honors college?  What does it mean to be in the program and what would be

            gained by participating?

_____   Do you have a learning community or other freshman experience?

 

Financial Aid

 

_____   Do they accept the VA benefits/Yellow Ribbon program if military dependent?

_____   What is your average financial aid package?

_____   What is the typical breakdown of loans versus grants?

_____   What percentage of financial need does the school typically meet?

_____   What is the average merit award?

_____   What percentage of students receive college grants?

_____   What is the average college debt that students leave with?

_____   What work-study opportunities are there?

 

Graduation Track Record

 

_____   What is your four-year graduation rate?

_____   What is your five-year graduation rate?

_____   What does it take to graduate in four years?

_____   What percentage of freshmen return for sophomore year?

_____   What is your "Destination Rate"?  Defined by the how long it takes for a student, after graduation,              to be employed, in graduate school or has join the military.  This number should be high.

 

Academic Support

 

_____   What Freshman Success programs do you have?

_____   What type of tutoring program do you have?

_____   How do you provide academic advice to students?

_____   Do you have a writing center and how is it accessed?

_____   What kind of learning disability resources do you have?

_____   What support exists for mental health issues?

 

Outside Opportunities

 

_____   How many students at the college get internships?

_____   What percentage of student’s study abroad?  What is the typical cost?

_____   What type of career services do you have?

_____   What percentage of students graduate with a job?

 

Student Life

 

_____   What does your Freshman camp entail?

_____   What kind of dorm choices are there?

_____   What percentage of students live on campus?

_____   How long are dorm accommodations guaranteed?

_____   How long are you required to live on campus?

_____   How many students live on campus?

_____   Do most students go home on the weekend?

_____   What percentage of the student body belongs to a sorority or fraternity?

_____   What activities are offered to students?

_____   Ask about student clubs that are important to you specifically and your ability to participate.

_____   What are campus security issues and how are they communicated to students?

 

 

The trend to take "college trips" is more common these days, however, I want to emphasis you can do much of your research online, saving precious dollars.  Websites like CampusTours provide options to do virtual tours, gain critical information and get an overall feel for a university.  However, I'm always surprised to hear how many students are making the decision on a university without stepping foot on the campus. I can't emphasize how important it is to visit the campus you are seriously considering.  

 

This is such an exciting time so enjoy the experience, let your young adult lead the conversation and the best of luck on finding YOUR college home!

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