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By Galin Education College Counselors

On campus visits, we encourage students to ask thoughtful questions. Doing so requires some upfront research and preparation. The point of a campus visit is to ask questions that cannot be answered from reading the website or marketing materials. If you don’t know what to ask, we’ve got suggestions.

Thoughtful questions include those that seek people’s opinions, probe for more details, and/or address students’ unique circumstances, needs and interests. Prospective applicants should ask about a mix of different elements of college life, including academics, social life, extracurricular activities, career advising, study abroad, etc.

It’s also great to speak to many different people on campus. Beyond admissions officers and tour guides, seek out current students, staff and administrators outside of admissions. Set up appointments in advance, if possible, with those for whom you have questions: those in charge of academic support or advising, mental health services, the career center, or certain extracurricular activity leaders (ask admissions officers ahead of time to facilitate this for you).

What are some good questions?

Ideally, students should prepare a list of questions that reflect their interests and needs. Here are some examples to get students started:

Questions for admissions officers:

  • What kind of student does best here?
  • What sort of support does the university provide its students?
  • What sort of programs does the college offer to help first-year students acclimate to university life (i.e., freshmen interest groups, honors programs, living-learning communities, etc.)?
  • What sort of advising does the school offer undergraduates? Who are the advisers?
  • What is the campus culture like?
  • What is the most unique thing about this school?
  • Questions specific to a student’s unique circumstances
  • Questions about financial aid
  • Questions about specific campus programs or seeking more detail about items referenced on websites or in brochures

Also, note that many admissions officers are alumni of the college, so you might ask whether they attended, and if they did, what makes them passionate enough about the school to remain even after graduation.

Questions for current students:

  • What is your favorite part of attending this school?
  •  What is your least favorite part of attending this school?
  •  What do you wish you’d known about this school before deciding to attend?
  •  What made you decide to come to this school?
  •  How well supported do you feel by the university? Why?
  •  How often do you interact with professors? Do you go to office hours? Why or why not? What are your interactions with the professors like?
  •  What is the campus culture like?
  •  What is the role of Greek life (if offered) on campus?
  •  What do students typically do on weekends?
  •  What are some school customs/traditions?
  •  What are the dorms like? Do they typically hold events where students can hang out together? Or is socializing up to students themselves?

(For more on how to research schools ahead of campus visits, check out this blog post and this one.)

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