College visits can be intimidating, but if you arrive prepared, you will feel much more comfortable. Asking questions during your visit is a vital part of gaining a stronger understanding of the school. Here are a few questions that you should be asking when you go on a college visit:
Why did you choose this school?
This is a great question to ask if a student is giving your tour. Learning what caused someone else to make the decision you are trying to make can definitely bring some perspective to the situation. If a student is giving college tours, they are probably pretty passionate about their school, so it can be helpful to figure out why.
What is the average class size?
Obviously, you will be spending a lot of time in your classes, so it is important to learn what they will be like. If the school has larger class sizes, it is likely that the environment will be heavily lecture-based. If the class sizes are smaller, they will most likely be more discussion-based. When looking at colleges, you need to decide what type of learning environment works best for you and then find a school that matches these needs. You should also consider the difference between introductory and upper-level class sizes.
As someone leading college visits, what is your least favorite thing about this school?
Campus visits are an opportunity for the admissions staff to show you all the great things about their school. Asking this question will make the tour guide think and give you an honest answer about the things that they believe need to be improved at the school. No school is perfect, so it is helpful to figure out what current students see as downsides.
What activities are there to get involved with on campus?
While your major and academics are very important to college, you are also going to want to get involved in extracurricular activities. Ask your tour guide about fitness classes, sporting events, clubs, organizations and any events that take place on the campus. This will give you an idea of the culture of the school outside of the classroom and will help you get a better understanding of how you could spend your free time.
What is the freshman retention rate?
While this should not be a deal breaker, knowing how many freshmen stay at the college for their sophomore year is important. If a school has a low freshman retention rate, then it could mean that there are not enough resources available to freshmen that aid in the transition to college or that the coursework for freshmen is extremely rigorous.
How many students find internships? Does the school help students find them?
Internships are an important part of college because they offer you hands-on experience to apply the skills and knowledge that you learn in the classroom. On your visit, be sure to ask how common it is for students to get internships during their time at the school and if there are any type of career services that help match students with these internships. Also, ask about specific internship requirements for your intended major, because it may vary.
What is it like being a first-year student here?
A lot of colleges provide specific programs for first-year students to help acclimate them to the environment and learn about all of the resources on campus. Asking about these programs is important because they can play a vital role in the transition into college and can help you feel like a member of your school’s community.
These are a few general questions to ask on your college visits, but you also want to make sure to ask questions tailored to what you want to get out of college. If you are interested in Greek life or athletics, then you should be asking specific questions about these groups. If you would really like to go to medical school after graduation, you should be asking questions about that. College visits are about finding the school that best fits your needs and desires, so make sure that you ask a lot of questions about the specifics that are important to you.
To further explore schools throughout North Carolina, use the College Search tool on College Foundation of North Carolina.