When I was working as a college prep coach for a group of high school juniors, I had the opportunity to take my students to tour several different college campuses. They were normally an inquisitive group, so I had high hopes about the great questions they would ask on our campus tours. However, when our first tour guide asked if we had any questions, they all suddenly went mute. At first I was surprised, but then I remembered that when I was in high school touring college campuses, I didn’t ask a thing either. If only I’d had that recollection earlier. It’s a shame that students don’t ask more questions on admissions tours, because these trips around campus are usually led by current undergraduates at the college, meaning that it’s an opportunity for students to get the kind of firsthand insight about campus life that they’re not going to be able to get anywhere else — and I’m not just talking about finding the coolest hangouts or learning how to get away with skipping class (though those can be valuable, too). To help out future incoming classes, I’ve compiled a list of 10 key questions that you should ask a guide on an admissions tour.
- What’s your favorite class you’ve taken in college and why?
- What’s the most challenging class or professor you’ve had? Do you feel like taking this class was worth it?
- What do you know now that you wish you’d known as an incoming freshman?
- What are some of the most popular things to do on the weekends? Do most students stay on campus or go home?
- Does the college have any student traditions that are actually followed?
- Do most students live on-campus? If not, where do most people live?
- How’s the food in the dining halls and is a meal card really worth it?
- How much time do you and your friends typically spend on homework during a normal week?
- What is the one thing you really wish you could change about the school or your experience?
- What was the most challenging thing about adjusting from high school to college?
BOTTOM LINE This is obviously not an exhaustive list — there are plenty of other things you could ask your tour guide about academics, campus activities, or any other aspect of student life — so if you think of other questions while on your admissions tour, don’t hesitate to ask. Most tour guides got their job because they are good communicators and are knowledgeable about their school, so they would be glad to elaborate on anything you want to know. Photo by Joey Gannon via cc
By Juliana Weiss-Roessler Copyright 2014 brass Media, Inc.