Learning as much as you can about a college is the best way to figure out if it is a good fit for you. A good starting point is to review the college marketing materials and websites. The next step is to visit the college campuses you are considering. However, the printed materials, websites, and college visits are all designed to attract prospective students. To gain further knowledge about the colleges you are considering, you must ask questions! Below are many questions to ask current students, admission counselors, and professors to learn more about a college. In addition, there are questions to ask yourself during or after a visit to determine if the college is a good fit for you.
Questions to ask current students
Current students are living the life you will be living in the future. They will know the ins and outs of the college. They also know what they like about the college and what could be better.
- Why did you choose the college?
- Are you happy being a student at the college?
- If you could go back, would you choose this college again?
- What is your favorite thing about the college?
- What don’t you like about the college?
- Is there anything you learned about the college only after you started classes that you wish you would have known before committing?
- 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 dorm life like?
- What do you do on the weekend?
- Do students usually stay on campus on the weekends?
- What is your favorite place on campus and why?
- How is the food? (Try the food, but if you’re visiting on a special visit day, the food may not be representative of regular school days)
- What other dining options are available on or around campus?
- Are the hours of campus facilities convenient for you (library, dining hall, fitness center, etc.)
- How is the surrounding community? Is it friendly to the college students?
- Is a car necessary?
- How is public transportation near campus?
- Are there any school traditions?
- Do students have a voice at the university?
- How would you describe fellow students?
- What extracurricular activities are you involved in?
- What activities do you wish the college had but they do not at this time?
- Do you feel safe on campus?
- How is the WiFi on campus?
- Do you have any advice for admission?
- Do you have any advice for financial aid?
- Were there any surprise costs you did not know about before committing to the college?
- Do you have any advice for applying for housing?
Questions to ask admission counselors
Admission professions know a lot about their colleges. They should be able to answer any questions you have about what the college has to offer, as well as important statistics. They may also be responsible for making admission decisions and will be able to share what could give you an edge when applying for admission.
- What makes the college unique?
- What if I’m not sure what I want to study?
- How many students return after the first year?
- What percentage of students graduate in four years?
- Do students apply to the college, or to a particular major?
- How many students study abroad? How does study abroad work at the college?
- How would you describe the student body?
- Is housing guaranteed all four years?
- Are there requirements for freshman?
- Will graduate assistants teach my classes or labs?
- What jobs are available on and off campus?
- How diverse is the campus?
- What is the student-to-faculty ratio?
- What are you looking for in an applicant?
- What is the acceptance rate?
- How do you award scholarships and financial aid?
Questions to ask financial aid officers
There are many misconceptions about financial aid at colleges. For example, many families believe they will be able to get more institutional scholarships after the first year, but this is usually not the case. Ask the questions now so you know your financial future at the college.
- Will financial aid increase as cost of attendance increases?
- What happens if my family financial situation changes? If my parent’s income increases, does my financial aid decrease? If my parent’s income deceases, will my financial aid increase?
- Are there any institutional scholarships available after the first year?
- If awarded work study, what is the likelihood of finding a job on campus?
- Will financial aid cover other costs, such as lab fees?
- If I choose to study abroad, can my financial aid be used?
- If I win an outside scholarship, how will that affect my financial aid?
Questions to ask professors
College professors are responsible for the academics at the colleges you are considering. One of the most important reasons for choosing a college is the academics. Professors should be able to answer all of your questions related to the major you are considering.
- Why should a student study the major at this college?
- What are the strengths of the program?
- Do you offer opportunities for students to do research?
- What opportunities are available outside the classroom related to the major?
- Are students assigned a mentor/advisor?
- Are there extracurricular clubs or programs related to the major?
- Are internships required?
- Will the program help students find internships?
- Is study abroad required or encouraged in the program?
- What are graduates doing today?
Question to ask yourself during and/or after the visit
After visiting a college and asking all of your questions, you need to ask yourself some questions. Be honest with yourself and follow your gut feeling.
- Do I feel comfortable on campus?
- Would I feel comfortable in the residential community?
- What is the community like?
- Does the college offer the things I want and need in a college?
- Am I comfortable with the size of the college?
- Do I like the academic atmosphere?
- Is this college for me?
College is a big commitment! Make sure you are choosing the right college by asking all of the questions you need in order to learn as much as you can about the college.