Choosing your college can be one of the most daunting, yet one of the most exciting aspects of any college experience. Are you going to stay close to home? Are you going cross-country? Do you have one in mind or multiple options? One of the best ways to decide on the right college for you is to go and visit the college itself. But college visits and college tours only show you the outside appearances of the campus and the people. What is it really like? Here are 7 must-ask questions to ask on any college visit.
How is college outside of the classroom?
A major part of your college experience lies outside of the college room or lecture hall. Sure, learning new information and taking classes are exciting, but so is meeting new people, living away from your parents and of course – college parties. Many colleges have different stances when it comes to extracurriculars and social events, so it’s always best to ask. If you’re a party animal, going to a college that focuses on education and little else probably won’t be up your street. And if you’re focusing on your education more than anything, a college full of fraternities and sororities (and parties) probably won’t be for you. College websites and prospectuses don’t really give much away, so ask people who go there!
What is will the learning experience be like for freshmen?
Unlike high school, the teaching style at college is completely different – and equally different in every single college. Many offer teaching-assistant-led seminars, while others are more self-study based, and others teach hundreds of students at a time. Each student will have their own preference on whether they prefer working in smaller or larger groups, so it’s always best to ask what kind of learning and teaching students freshmen will have to endure throughout their first year at college.
What’s the accommodation like?
For most prospective college students, college is their first taste of living away from home and away from their parents, so the accommodation needs to be just right for them. On any college visit, it’s important to ask as many questions as you can about the accommodation – and even get a tour if you can! From this, you can learn whether the accommodation is on campus, off campus, how many people live there, what sort of amenities are around it, whether food is provided and any other questions you could have. It would also be an advantage if you could speak to someone who already lived there, to see if they like it!
What’s the food like?
It may seem trivial to ask a college about their food – but it makes up an integral part of your college experience. If you are not in self-catered accommodation, you will be living off this food every day, for three meals a day, so if you don’t like it… you’re stuffed! (Although not literally). This food will also be coming out of your own pocket, so you have to know that you will be spending money on something worthwhile. If you can, try out the food while you’re on your college tour. If not, ask around and see whether other students like it.
What services does the college provide?
If you have any health or mental health issues, it’s important to know that the college offers help if you were ever to need it – the best way to find this out? ASK! Many colleges offer health and social services for free, whereas others charge, so it is important to understand this before you make any big decisions.
Why did you choose it?
One of the best questions you could ask when taking a college tour is why someone else chose it. Normally, you will be shown around the college by a current student who has already undertaken a year or more at that college. Basically, you could be them in a year! Ask them the in’s and out’s of the college, but also what their experience has been – whether they have enjoyed it, what they like and what they don’t like. If they like it, you probably will too.
What is it like to live in this area?
If you’re a fan of the big city, it makes sense to choose a college that is close to the city. If you love small-town areas, then it would be silly to choose the city life. However, you may not be up to date on your college geography, so asking your tour guide about the area is vitally important to be able to imagine your life there. Ask about the transportation, the attractions, the activities, and more to truly get to grips with your choice.
If you’re going on a college visit soon, these are the questions you need to be asking. It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your academic life, so it’s vital you have all the information at your disposal before you make your choice. Ultimately, each course will be similar to each other (assuming you’re applying to colleges based on a specific set of grades). Therefore, it’s the little things that will make the difference for you. Choose one that suits your lifestyle, and that meets your requirements for what you want out of the next three (or so) years of your life.