A great way to learn about a college is by talking to current students. Admissions publications, institution websites, and admission professionals typically share all of the great things about a college. However, are there things they are not mentioning?
When you visit a college and take the campus tour, the person leading the tour will probably be a current student. This is an opportunity to ask a current student about the college. The student will be able to give you information about a college that admission professionals may not. However, keep in mind that these campus tour guides are trained, and sometimes employed, by the Admission Office. Campus tour guides are there to sell the school to you. Campus tour guides will probably be honest with you, but they may turn negatives into positives or avoid the negatives all together.
A great way to get real information about the college is to talk to a random student on campus. It is okay to walk up to them and ask a few questions. The random students is not trained and/or employed by the university and will give you real answers to your questions.
Below are some questions to consider asking current students at the colleges you are considering:
- 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? College staff? 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?
- Is there something you wish you would have known before choosing to attend the college?
Also, ask the students about the things that are important to you, such as:
- 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?
Current students are great resources when it comes to learning more about a college. Go out of your comfort zone while visiting the colleges you are considering and talk to current students. They will be able to give you information you might not get from anyone else on campus.