Current students at the colleges you are considering are very important. When you visit college campuses, the person that gives you a campus tour will probably be a current student. Ask them questions because they will give you insight that the Admissions Office will not. However, keep in mind, that these campus tour guides are trained, and sometimes employed, by the Admissions Office. They are there to sell the school to you. In other words, they might turn a negative into a positive or might avoid the negatives of the school – at least that is what I wanted my student tour guides to do when I worked in Admission Offices.
A very unique perspective can come from the random student or students you meet on campus. It’s okay to walk up to them and ask a few questions. These students, the students that are not trained and/or employed by the university, will give you real answers that are not “sugar-coated.”
Below are some questions that you should ask current students when visiting college campuses:
- Why did you choose this college?
- If you could go back in time and go through the college admissions process again, would you choose this college again?
- What is your favorite thing about the school?
- What don’t you like about the school?
- What are the classes like?
- Do you feel challenged in your coursework?
- How long will it take you to graduate? Why?
- How approachable are the professors? The college president?
- What is there to do on the weekend?
- What is your favorite place on campus and why?
- How is the food?
- How is the surrounding community? Is it friendly to the college students?
Also, ask the student about the things that are important to you. These things could be about:
- Fraternities and Sororities – What is the Greek life like on campus?
- Sports – Do a lot of students attend games? How much are the tickets?
- College facilities or services (fitness center, tutoring services, career center, etc.) – Does the school have _____? And if it does have it, how do you like it?
Asking the above questions will answer a lot of the questions that the glossy brochures, fancy websites and people employed by the universities cannot or will not answer. Have your list of questions ready when you visit the college. You want to be prepared to make the most of your college visit.
Lastly, if you are a little shy, here are some thoughts. And believe me, I completely understand being shy. I considered myself shy when I was in high school as well and going up to a random person would have stressed me out. Anyway, here are some tips:
- A college education is going to be one of the most expensive investments you make in your life. You would ask questions when buying a car, right? Pushing yourself to ask questions can be very important in the college selection process.
- If you just can’t ask questions of a random person face-to-face, consider being introduced by someone:
- Ask your high school guidance counselor or teachers if there are any former students attending that particular school. They might be able to introduce you to the student.
- Ask the Admissions Office if they could get you in touch with a current student. They will probably be able to provide you with an email address of a current student and/or have a current student contact you.
Enjoy your campus visit! Have fun “test-driving” the colleges!
Information about photo above – “Campus Tour” by Chuck Taylor is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0