100 Questions to Ask on a College Visit
When visiting a college or university campus, you need to stay long enough to ask a lot of questions. That means that you should not rush through your visits, so you can really imagine yourself living and studying there!
Some of these questions can only be answered by admissions and financial aid staff. Current students will be able to answer many others. To start, here are 100 questions you can ask.
1. What makes this school special?
2. What is this school proud of?
3. How many undergraduate students attend this school?
4. How many graduate students attend?
5. How diverse is this campus?
6. How financially sound is this school?
7. What is this school's bond rating?
8. What is the average class size of introductory courses?
9. What is the average class size of upper-division courses?
10. How often are teaching assistants used?
11. How easy or difficult is it to enroll in the courses you need?
12. How much interaction, if any, will the typical undergrad have with tenured professors and will it largely be confined to lecture halls?
13. What are the typical class sizes of my intended major?
14. Is my intended discipline an impacted/oversubscribed major?
15. Am I guaranteed the major that I’m interested in?
16. Are the admission standards higher for certain majors?
17. When do you have to declare a major?
18. How much time do students typically spend on homework?
19. How much writing and reading is expected?
20. Is it possible to double major?
21. Is the school on a semester, trimester or quarter system?
22. Do you have an honors college?
23. What does the honors college offer?
24. What are the academic requirements to qualify for the honors college?
25. Do you have a learning community or other freshman learning experiences?
26. Do seniors complete a capstone experience or project?
27. What is your academic advisory system like?
28. Is it possible to get a professor as my advisor?
29. What percentage of students studies abroad?
30. Do students in my intended major tend to study abroad?
31. What opportunities are there for undergraduate research?
32. How many students participate in undergraduate research?
33. What departments offer undergraduate research?
34. If you want to transfer: how do I know how many academic credits will transfer?
Graduation Track Record
35. What is your four-year graduation rate?
36. What is your five-year graduation rate?
37. What is your six-year graduation rate?
38. What are the main reasons why students don't graduate on time?
39. What does it take to graduate in four years?
40. Will it take longer to graduate if you double major?
41. What percentage of freshmen return for the sophomore year (retention rate)?
42. What are the major reasons why students leave prematurely?
43. How do you provide academic advice to students?
44. Do you have a writing center?
45. What tutoring services do you have?
46. Do you have an orientation program for freshmen or transfer students?
47. What kind of learning disability services do you offer?
48. How recent must a student’s disability testing be to qualify for accommodations?
Internships, Jobs and Graduate School
49. What can I expect from your school's career services office?
50. When can I access the career services office?
51. How active is the alumni network?
52. Is the career services office available for alumni?
53. What percentage of students get internships?
54. Is there a co-op program?
55. What is the job placement rate?
56. How is that job placement rate calculated?
57. Are the figures self-reported?
58. What percentage of students go on to graduate or professional schools?
59. What are your school's feeder institutions for graduate and professional degrees?
60. What kind of housing choices are there?
61. What percentage of students live in campus housing?
62. Are dormitories an option after freshman year?
63. How are roommates assigned?
64. What mental health services are available?
65. What are the meal plan options?
66. What percentage of students belong to a sorority or fraternity?
67. How prevalent are drugs and alcohol on campus?
68. Can freshmen bring a car to campus?
Financial Aid and Merit Awards
69. What percentage of a student’s financial need does the school typically meet?
70. Does the percentage of need that you meet typically shrink after freshman year?
71. What percentage of a student’s financial need does the school meet with grants and scholarships?
72. What is your average financial aid package?
73. What is the typical breakdown of loans versus grants?
74. What is the average merit award?
75. What are the requirements to receive a merit scholarship?
76. Do the merit scholarships require separate applications?
77. What happens to my financial aid package if I take longer than four years to graduate?
78. What percentage of students receive grants and/or scholarships?
79. What is the average amount of loan debt that students accumulate?
80. What is the average amount of Federal PLUS Loan debt borrowed by parents?
81. What are the work-study opportunities?
82. At what pace has the annual tuition rate risen in recent years?
83. Do you award extra scholarships for specific majors and talents?
84. Where can I learn more about your merit scholarships?
85. Does your net price calculator provide an accurate estimate of what your school will cost me and when did you last update the net price calculator?
86. Does your institution give athletic scholarships?
87. What is the student loan default rate?
88. Does your institution provide students with financial literacy training?
Questions for Current Students
89. Why did you decide to attend this school?
90. If you could change anything about the school, what would it be?
91. What do you like the most about your school?
92. What do you like the least about your school?
93. What students succeed on your campus?
94. What students don't fit in?
95. What teenagers would you recommend your school to?
Questions for Recent Graduates
96. What was your experience like at your school?
97. If you could turn back time, would you attend your alma mater again?
98. What would you have changed?
99. Do you feel your alma mater prepared for your life?
100. Do you feel your alma mater prepared you for a career?
Lynn O’Shaughnessy is a best-selling author, speaker and journalist. Her book, The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price, is available on Amazon.com.