All too soon the warm spring weather will arrive with the familiar sound of your acceptance letters thudding on your doormat. This marks the beginning of the marathon of campus visits usually with your long suffering mom and dad. Filling your days with sometimes more than one visits per day, it can be really hard for you to remember all of the things about each college. For this reason, US News teamed up with some of the college tour guides from both private and public schools to find out what the three most important questions prospective students should ask to learn the most about each school whilst on the tour.
- How easy is the transition from high school to college?
This is a typical question that is asked by many; with the topic of making friends, selecting classes and how the guide found the college when they first arrived. College guides will do their best to alleviate any stresses that you may have, and they are the best people to ask, as they were once in the very position you are. Everyone shares the same anxiety when they are coming to college as a freshman and as any good guide will explain, provided that the prospective students come with an open mind it is easy to get acquainted with new friends and adjust to the new surroundings. When it comes to classes it all boils down to the student’s time management and any guide worth their weight will be brutally honest and reiterate that it is up to the student to stay on top of their assignments and reading, and no one else can do this for them.
In some respects, you should to place the majority of answers on you and if you attend a college where you are told that you will sail through everything, make loads of new friends, never have to do a stroke of work but graduate with top honours, then someone is not being entirely truthful. If it seems too good to be true, the chances are that it probably is!
- Ask the tour guide why they choose the school and about their experiences
Very few people take the opportunity to really talk to the person that is conducting the tour. Many students that have acted as tour guides have said how nice it would be to get more personal and actually tell the prospective student about their experience and this is really important as it makes the entire experience real. So, instead of just nodding, when you are on your next campus tour take the initiative and ask the guide what they have done in their time at the school.
Another great question to ask the tour guide alongside what they have done is to find out why they originally selected the school, and whether it has met with their initial expectations. The guide will enjoy sharing their time with you and why they choose the school and this really is the best way to gain an insight into the school that you won’t get from reading the brochures and sitting listening to a lecture.
Be sure to also ask your guide what they would change about the school if anything. It is worth keeping in mind that any school will have its good things whilst in the same way it will have some bad points, and there is no doubt that all schools will have things that could be improved. You may find it really helpful with the help of you parents to quiz the tour guide on his or her experiences and about their views of the college and campus. It is at this point that you can also find out whether there are any really big issues that get debated and this question will reveal a lot to you, or lead onto some further intriguing question and answer sessions.
- Ask about the local area and what it is like living in this region of the country
The majority of colleges are located near to a small town if not in close proximity to a large town and there is no doubt that the tour guide will suggest you get off of campus and check the area out. It is important in this situation that you also go and have a look around the area, after all you don’t want to find that you have signed up for 4 years where you won’t leave the campus, not only do you need to make sure that the school is a good fit for you but the town should be also. The guide will tell you to keep an open mind when visiting the outer areas, but the only way you are going to get a really truthful account is by asking someone who has spent the past four years of their life in this area.