Posted February 03, 2015 by

The Top 4 Things to Ask on your College Tour

Group of people taking tour of university

Group of people taking tour of university. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

It’s very important for students to ask the right questions when going on their college tours. Many students feel shy or embarrassed to ask too many questions, however, this is not the time to keep quiet. Choosing where to attend college is one of the most important decisions in a young person’s life and it’s crucial that they ask the questions that are most important to them.

1 – The Intricacies of the Program

Many students have an idea of what they would like to study, however, it’s important that they find out about the specifics of any programs they are considering. If a student is interested in engineering it’s not enough to know that the University of First Choice has an engineering department. Students are encouraged to ask if they can study structural engineering, aerospace engineering, electrical engineering and so on. Almost every student who enters university will change their mind to some degree once they start taking classes. A junior in high school who is dead set on building bridges may find that they are actually far more interested in building planes. The specifics of the program are paramount when choosing a university program.

2 – Cultural environment

The social and cultural environment is a huge part of the student’s experience because it will encompass any chance to socialize outside of the classroom. Some questions to ask include:

What is the grading system like? (Straight grading equals a more collaborative spirit.)

How diverse is the student body? (More diversity equals more social choices.)

How many of the students are international? (The higher the international student body, the more chances local students will have to become a global citizen.)

Is there a list of the various social clubs on campus?

What political awareness activities does a college offer?

What is the cultural and political demographic in or around the campus? (Is the college located in an area where the student would like to remain after graduation if they are offered a job?)

3 – What are the professors like?

The background of the professors can make a big difference in a student’s life. If the university has a large adjunct professor staff, students should be aware that these professors, who have not been given full-time status, may not be available on campus because they need to teach at more than one school. Universities that are heavily research-based may require their researchers to teach one or two classes when, possibly, the professor may be more interested in conducting research outside of their classroom environment. Universities that have a large portion of their academic staff listed as ‘tenured’ will often attract professors who enjoy teaching and are primarily focused on students and academic projects.

4 – The Dorms

Although the quality of dorm life throughout the decades has been an ongoing joke, it’s important for students to know where they will be living. Many students enjoy the social aspect of a close quarter living environment while others find that they are unable to get their work done without feeling undue stress. Students should ask to see inside the dorms if it’s permitted so that they can have a realistic idea of where they will be spending their evenings.

In short

Although these are the top questions to ask, students should make a list of their top four or five issues that are most important to them. Each student is an individual and will have individual needs or desires as college freshmen. It’s better to know before you go.

Robyn Scott is a private tutor with TutorNerds LLC. She has a BA from the University of California, Irvine and a MA from the University of Southampton, UK.

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