Ready to start touring college campuses? Checked a few out but still not sure you’ve found the right fit? Finding a campus with the right mix of academics, athletics, community and structure may be a challenge. While campus visits provide a broader understanding of a particular college, they offer just a glimpse of the true campus experience. To make the most of your visit, come prepared with a list of questions to get a better view of your college future. Need inspiration? Here are 10 questions to ask on your next campus tour.
What kind of support systems do you have on campus?
What systems are in place to prevent students from “falling in the cracks?” Ask about tutoring, counseling and writing services. See if these services are available to all students and how to access them. Need ADA accommodations? Learn more about or ask to meet with somebody from the accessibility or disability services office.
Who will serve as my academic advisor?
Academic advisors help you choose classes, develop a four-year plan and ensure you complete all of your graduation requirements. Find out if the university has an office devoted to this work or if a professor in your academic area fills this role. Both can be vital resources in helping you get your top-choice classes, schedule internships and succeed in college.
Who will teach the majority of my classes?
Do faculty or teaching assistants lead classes? What percentage of faculty have terminal degrees (the highest-level college degree in a particular field)? What size are classes typically? Do you prefer lecture-based or discussion-based classes. What’s the average class size? Will you have a professor for one class, or could you have them for many of your classes?
How do I get involved on campus?
Feeling a sense of belonging on campus has a major effect on college success. Ask about the types of student organizations on campus and how to get involved. Is there a student organization fair or event at the beginning of the academic year? Does the college offer intramurals, spiritual life opportunities and professional organizations related to your major or intended career?
What are some of the big traditions/events on campus?
Another way of feeling connected on campus is by taking part in campus traditions which bring people together. Is there a big Homecoming or graduation celebration? Is there a special cheer the crowds chant at athletic events? Does the school have a performing arts festival or day of service?
What are my housing options?
There are advantages to living on campus (always being near your classes; bonding with other students) and advantages to commuting (saving money by living at home). But before choosing, find out all of your options. Ask if more students live on campus or commute? See if you are required to live on campus for a certain number of years. Tour a building where first-year students live rather than a building reserved for third or fourth-year students.
What are some of the popular majors on campus?
Make sure the school you are interested in offers your intended major. And if you’re still deciding or feel that you may switch, make sure they offer majors in other areas of study you many want to explore. Interested in art? Make sure you check out their studio space and the tools that are available. Looking into social work? Make sure there are placement sites nearby. Ask about available research and experiential learning opportunities with faculty or companies nearby. Learn more about the school’s reputation in your area of study. See if your program is nationally accredited (meets quality standards set by a national organization or agency such as CSWE for social work).
What is the total cost including tuition, room, board and fees?
Sticker prices can be deceiving and the cost of going to college involves much more than tuition alone! Ask for a breakdown of tuition, fees, room and board. Find out when financial aid packages are sent out and compare the numbers with your other top schools. Schedule a time to visit with the financial aid office for a closer review of your personal situation. See if you qualify for internal scholarships and fill out the FAFSA state and federal aid.
Can I bring a car on campus?
Each college has their own policies when it comes to bringing a car on campus. Many campuses are walkable (or conducive to riding a bike), but this question becomes more important if you need transportation to and from a job or internship. You may also want to ask about obtaining a parking permit, if parking is available near your residence hall or if public transportation is available and easily accessible.
What is the campus culture like?
Do you prefer a large campus environment or a small school where everybody knows your name? What are the top three words students use to describe the feel of campus? Friendly, quiet, studious, party-school, rigorous, exciting. Is the student body diverse with a mix of international and out of state students? What do students do for fun? Is there large athletics following? How do students relax and unwind? Is the college located in a busy city center or near centers of nature such as hiking trails or lakes?
Final thoughts: 10 questions to ask on your campus tour
There are plenty more questions that will come up during your college-selection process, but we hope this list serves as a springboard for additional conversation and deeper insight. If you have more questions following your campus visit, reach out to your admissions counselor. Many students also choose to go on follow-up visits to their top choice schools. Looking for additional tips for making the most of your campus visit, check out our blog.
At Bluffton University….
Since 1899, Bluffton University faculty and staff have dedicated themselves to helping students like you find your talents, your passions and, ultimately, your way.
Starting with the Great Adventure in your very first semester, you’ll be challenged to ask the big questions in life. Visit Bluffton and discover a place of academic excellence, a community of belonging and a world of opportunity.
Choose a group visit to tour campus with other prospective students or select a personal visit and customize your experience at www.bluffton.edu/visit.
Written by Tricia Bell, content manager