Top questions to ask on a college campus visit
When you’re touring campuses, think about questions to ask colleges beforehand. While your tour guide will be a great source of information, try stopping a few students and asking them what they like and don’t like about their school. Notice the emphasis on the “don’t.” If you’re touring a college, you’ve probably heard a lot of great things about the school, but not many (if any) not-so-great things. It’s important to hear both sides of the story to make an informed decision, so don’t shy away from asking students about how their school could be better.
If you have time, consider taking your own tour of campus to meet students along the way and ask them questions. You’re more likely to get an honest answer out of students when they aren’t questioned in front of large tour groups. Check out our list of 52 questions to ask students during your next college campus tour. We’ve also included some questions to ask admissions officers, financial aid officers, and professors if you get the chance.
Questions to Ask College Students
- Why did you choose this school?
- Are you happy here?
- What’s your favorite thing about this school?
- What are your school’s strengths?
- What’s your biggest complaint about your school?
- What else could be improved?
- Have you ever considered transferring?
- What departments or programs have the best reputations?
- Favorite things about your classes? What do you dislike?
- Do you like your professors?
- How accessible are your professors outside of class? Do they hold office hours? Do they respond to emails?
- Are your classes lecture-based or discussion-based?
- How common is group work?
- How much reading and writing is required in your courses?
- Are finals usually more exam-based or project-based?
- How many hours a week do you typically spend on homework?
- Is there a tutoring center and/or writing center on campus?
- What majors are popular?
- How big are introductory classes?
- How big are upper-level classes?
- When do students usually declare their major?
- What do you think could be improved about this school’s academic experience?
- How would you describe this school’s campus culture?
- What do you like about student life here? Anything you dislike?
- How was your first year on campus? How did you adapt to the culture?
- What surprised you about student life here?
- Does your school prioritize mental health? How accessible are counseling services?
- How do your friends speak about this school? Are they proud to be students here?
- What’s your school-life balance like? Do you feel like academics dominate your life? Or do you have enough time for social activities?
- What’s your favorite place on campus to do work?
- What’s student diversity like? Does your school make efforts to be inclusive?
- Have there been any recent student protests? What were they protesting? How did faculty and staff respond?
- Do students spend a lot of time off-campus? What kind of things are there to do in town?
- What’s a typical weekday like for you?
- How do you spend your weekends?
- How big is party culture here?
- Are lots of students in fraternities or sororities?
- What are the best and worst dorms?
- Is it easy to get around campus? What transportation options are there?
- How’s the food?
- What clubs or student organizations are you involved in?
- What are some of the most popular extracurricular activities?
- How do you get involved in extracurricular activities?
- Do you feel like there’s enough activities on campus? Do you ever wish there was more to do?
- Are there any activities you wish your school supported?
- Do sports play a big role on campus?
Research, Internship, and Study Abroad Opportunities
- What kind of opportunities are there for undergraduate research?
- Do a lot of students get internships?
- Is Career Services helpful?
- How active is the alumni network?
- How easy is it to find summer jobs and other kinds of work through your school?
- Are study abroad programs popular? Any ones in particular?
Questions to Ask Admissions Officers
Chatting with students is a fantastic way to get a feel for what a school is really like, but some questions are better suited for admissions officers. Not only can you get some questions answered, but making contact with the admissions office is a great way to get your “demonstrated interest” on file. If you take the time to do this, there’s a chance that admissions officers could recognize your name when application season rolls around. Not every school keeps track of this, but establishing some sort of relationship with the admissions office could potentially give you a slight edge.
If you’d like to meet with an admissions officer, make sure to schedule a meeting ahead of time. Additionally, do your research beforehand so that you’re not asking questions about information that’s readily available online. Use your research as a stepping-off point for other questions, like the ones we’ve listed below.
- What’s unique about this school?
- Are there different admission requirements for different departments or majors?
- My favorite subject is _______. How could that translate to a major at your school?
- Can you tell me more about the application evaluation process?
- What qualities and experiences are you looking for in applicants?
- What are this school’s most important values? How are those values demonstrated to students?
- What sort of student succeeds here?
- What sort of student might not be happy here?
- Is the support offered for first-year students fine?
- How do you help students prepare for post-graduate employment?
Questions to Ask Financial Aid Officers
Students and admissions officers may not know the ins and outs of the school’s financial aid policies, so the best place for all your money-related questions is the financial aid office. As with admissions officers, you’ll want to be as informed as possible when speaking with financial aid officers. Take the time to visit the school’s financial aid webpage first, then create a list of questions based on that research. Here’s a few examples:
- What kind of need-based financial aid do you offer?
- What is your average financial aid package?
- What’s the typical breakdown of loans vs. grants?
- What percentage of financial aid does the school typically meet?
- How many students receive merit-based scholarships? How much is typically offered?
- What is the average college debt that students leave this school with?
- What work-study opportunities are there?
Questions to Ask Professors
Meeting with professors is an excellent way to get a different perspective on the academic side of things. You’ll be spending a lot of time with professors during your college career, so it can’t hurt to get a jump start!
- What excites you about teaching at this school?
- What are your expectations for students in your class?
- How do students stand out to you?
- What do you think first-year students struggle with the most when transitioning to college-level academics?
- Have you noticed anything about the students who major in this program? Do they form study groups and collaborate on projects? Or do they mostly stick to themselves?
- How often do you meet with students outside of class?
- What are the strengths of your program or department?
- Is there room for improvement in your program or department?
- Do you offer any opportunities for students to do research?