Visiting colleges is about more than scoping out the campus and buying a t-shirt. A college tour is your time to gather as much useful information as possible to assess whether the school is a good fit for your child.
Before the tour, research the school and discuss what’s most important to your child’s college experience. While on the tour, try to get a full picture of various aspects of the college, including academics, financial aid, the social scene and student life.
Here are 20 good questions to pose to your tour guide.
• What is the average amount of debt students graduate with?
• What is the average class size for an introductory class and upper level class?
• Are professors readily available to students?
• How common is the use of teaching assistants?
• What types of careers do graduates tend to go into?
• Are there academic support systems in place, such as tutoring, writing and math centers?
• What is the prevalence of research on campus? Is it difficult to get a research position with a faculty member as an undergrad?
• Do many students take advantage of the study abroad opportunities?
• How strong is the alumni network and how can students get involved with it?
• Where is your favorite place on-campus to study?
• What the housing options are available? Do students get a significant say in where they live and how does the housing lottery work?
• Are students allowed to have a car on campus?
• What percentage of students live on campus and what percentage live off campus?
• Could you describe some of the campus safety measures? How accessible are campus police?
• What are some of the most popular events held for students?
• What do students do for fun? What are the popular hangout spots in the surrounding community?
• How strong is the presence of Greek life on campus?
• What are the college’s most popular sports?
• How would you describe a typical student?
• What was the biggest surprise your first year on-campus?
Hopefully, these questions provide a good starting point as you and your child visit a variety of colleges and start on the college planning journey.