• Taking a campus tour, meeting faculty and current students, and attending information sessions can give you a much better sense of whether a university is the right fit for you.
    Jason Jones

With so many options to choose from, deciding on which college or university to attend can be a stressful process for many high-school seniors. To take the anxiety out of making such a critical decision, consider visiting your colleges of interest if you can. Taking a campus tour, meeting faculty and current students, and attending information sessions can give you a much better sense of whether a university is the right fit for you.

However, once you’re there, asking some of the basic questions such as “what majors are popular?” or “what is your four-year graduation rate?” in many cases still won’t really get you anywhere. Really get creative when it comes to asking about information that’s important to you. You’ll be surprised by the responses you get, and this can help you with the decision-making process! Below are some useful questions to ask during your next college visit: 

What are some traditions that the student body really takes pride in?

Many institutions are renowned for their long history, and with such history comes a variety of traditions passed on throughout the years. While looking from the outside in, many of these traditions may seem a little odd or even cultish, but they almost certainly are unique to each institution and bring students together for a fun group experience.

What are some popular places for students to hang out and study?

Everyone has their favorite place on campus, whether it be to tackle those pesky assignments they’ve been putting off, meet up with some friends to blow off some steam, or just enjoy a little alone time. Every campus has these “secret” places that may not be apparent during a college tour, so when interacting with students during your visit, be sure to ask about those little-known spots! You may be the first to get the scoop on the place to wind down that no one knows about or perhaps get a taste of where all the students like to congregate. 

What sold you on choosing this school? What did you value most?

Asking several students on campus why they made their decision to attend this particular school and what they value most about attending their university can be helpful and eye-opening. Maybe it’s the student-to-professor ratio, or perhaps the food they serve in the dining halls, or maybe even how friendly the campus squirrels are. Whatever their answers, asking around could give you a whole new perspective on things you didn’t know about the school from brochures or websites—and things you perhaps never realized you valued.

What kind of opportunities are available for studying abroad?

For many, college is also about immersing oneself in high-impact experiences such as studying in another country. Studying abroad is a perfect opportunity for students to explore new cultures, learn new languages, experience living in another country, and gain a greater understanding of the world. If this is something you consider doing at some point during your college experience, it may be useful to ask about what kind of study-abroad opportunities the university you’re touring has available. 

What are some things to do around the area?

College isn’t always about academics, and students will begin to realize that right off the bat during their college journey. A balance between rigorous coursework and quality leisure time is essential for a well-rounded college experience, so you’ll want to take into consideration some of the activities that are available either on or off campus. Maybe that student organization, that famous coffee shop right down the road, that cool trail students hike on during the weekends, or that gaming arcade right on campus can be something that sets a campus apart!

What are career services like on campus?

Does the career-services office on campus provide a database for students and alumni to provide networking, mentorship, and job opportunities for students? Does the office provide interview-preparation meetings with students, career guidance, and services on crafting and editing a professional résumé for college students seeking employment or internship opportunities? Does the campus host unique events for students and the university community to support professional networking and mentoring experiences? These are all important questions to ask when looking into career services on a specific campus. This office is arguably one of the most important on any given campus and can tremendously help college students with their professional journeys. 

What is your relationship with your professors like? 

For many students, especially those attending a smaller campus, a strong relationship with professors is surely a differentiator when it comes to their university of choice. Getting to know their professors allows students to be more comfortable with what they’re taught in class and can often inspire students to be more passionate about topics within the curriculum. Knowing their professors will also give students access to timely and constructive feedback on academic work, opportunities for further research, and mentorship that aids students in not only academic success but professional success as well.

Asking these questions during your next college tour can help you find the right fit for your next step in your academic career!

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