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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.

About the author
Marc Zawel

As author of Untangling the Ivy League, Marc literally wrote the book on gaining admission to highly selective colleges. He earned a BA from Cornell University – where he met AcceptU’s co-founder – and an MBA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Marc chaired the admissions advisory board; he has also conducted alumni interviews for Cornell for more than fifteen years.

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