The best way for students to decide which college is best for them is to visit schools. Counselors strongly endorse the college visit, if it is feasible. Schools should be visited when classes are in session to get the full effect of college life. Students should begin visiting colleges during the end of junior year through the fall of their senior year. A list of questions to ask when visiting colleges is available in the Counseling Office. We strongly recommend using this on the college visit.
Reminder: Students should contact the school at least one week in advance to arrange for a college visit.
How to Arrange a College Visit
1. Call the Admissions Office or go the college website to arrange a visit at least a week in advance.
2. Tell them your name and when you’d like to visit.
3. Ask them to arrange for you to sit in on at least two classes in your major area.
4. Ask them if you can talk to some seniors in your major area to see how they feel about the program you are about to enter. Ask about the number of job offers that the students from that school are receiving, including the percentage of graduates employed in their major area and how long it takes students to find jobs.
5. Circle the questions on the list that are important to you…ask these during your visit.
Questions to Ask on a College Visit
1. What entrance tests are required for admission?
2. What minimum GPA and test score requirements do you have for admission?
3. What is the deadline for admission?
4. What is the policy for transferring in credits if you attend another university first?
5. Do you accept dual enrollment credit? If so, how many hours?
1. Are freshmen required to live on campus?
2. How many people are assigned to a dorm room?
3. What accommodations are located in the dorm itself (a TV room, computers, dining facilities, etc.)?
1. What percentage of students entering the school receives financial aid?
2. Are the awarded scholarships renewable from year to year?
3. Is there a scholarship form that needs to be filled out?
4. What percentage of financial aid given is in the form of loans, grants, and scholarships?
5. What forms are required to be completed to be considered for financial aid?
6. What is the deadline to apply for financial aid?
1. Are there intramural sports programs available to students?
2. Are there sororities and fraternities on campus?
3. Inquire about clubs and student organizations.
4. Visit the student union or other recreational facilities.
5. Find out about sporting events, check out the student newspaper or campus bulletin boards.
6. If visiting a small campus, what percentage of students stays on campus on the weekends?
7. Are freshman allowed to have a car on campus?
8. What type of cultural and recreational facilities does the community around your college offer?
Important Places to Tour on a College Visit
1. Libraries—Consider the number of volumes, periodicals (make sure they’re current), computers (ERIC System, etc.) word processors, microfiche, etc.
2. Special services—Does the school offer any special services, such as tutoring, study techniques, reading skills, or how to study for tests?
3. Labs (Biology, Chemistry, Mass Communications, Theater, etc.)—Make sure you look at the amount of up-to-date equipment and opportunities for hands-on experience.
4. Dorms—Check for safety first and foremost. How close are the dorms to classrooms? The library? The dining Hall? Check for lighting at night and transportation if necessary. Is there a policy for quiet times? How close are you to the Resident Assistant (RA)? Is there a time at night when the doors to the building are locked?
5. Academic departments—For example, if you plan to major in journalism, make sure you visit the ad department, meet professors, and look into internship opportunities. Ask what major field of study the school is best known for. What percentage of pre-professional students are accepted into their respective professional schools? What “Honors” programs are available in the school? Does the college offer an abroad study program?
6. Career aptitude and job placement—How much job placement does the school offer? Do they arrange on-campus interviews? Resume banks? Do they offer classes about interviewing or job hunting? How many companies/organizations does the school work with on a regular basis? Do they offer aptitude or interest testing for a major field of study or career placement?
7. Teachers—Who is teaching the class, a professor or a graduate student who is a teacher’s aide? How accessible is the teacher to you? Are there set office hours when you can find them if you have questions?
8. Student/Teacher Ratio—How many students are there on average for each teacher?
9. Registration—Is there a limit set as to how many students can be in one class section? Remember, there can be a low student/teacher ratio overall and still a large number of students in any given class. Are freshmen who attend orientation allowed to register early for their classes (during orientation)?
10. Observations—Sit in on a few classes to get a feel for what’s going on. It’s best to visit early in the week when classes are in full swing. Stay overnight in a dorm if at all possible. Talk to students already enrolled to get their perspective. TOUR THE ENTIRE CAMPUS!!
11. Class profiles—What percentage of students who enroll as freshmen return for a second year? What percentage of students who enroll graduate?
12. Athletics—If you are playing sports, check into athletic facilities (weight room, etc.). Also, look at the sports schedule. Is it so demanding that you would not succeed in your classes because of time dedicated to your sport? Are there required study times for freshmen students? Is there an academic coordinator for athletes on campus if you are having trouble with school? What is the coach’s philosophy on education in relationship to sports?
13. What opportunities exist for religious activity, such as a Newman Center and Christian service?
14. What type of medical care facilities are available? Is a professional psychologist or special counseling available for students to see in confidence for help if needed?
15. How safe is the campus? Are there security phones available?
16. What are the meal plan options?