When I was looking at universities during high school, I was encouraged by pretty much everybody to “ask lots of questions! grab students on the campus and find out what they really think!” I always wished that I knew what kind of questions to ask (ignore the nervousness involved in harassing random college students for a moment). Not having had any experience with college and picturing it as rather like my high school, I didn’t have a frame of reference, and mostly left it to my parents to think of things to ask.
Now I’ve finished my Bachelors, and looking back, I’ve written up some questions/requests that would have helped me make a much more informed decision about my choice. Do you have questions you wish you’d asked? Please share them in the comments!
- Describe what you see as a stereotypical student of this school
- How much time do you spend on schoolwork and how much on relaxing activities – and how easy do you find it to socialize?
- Do you feel that you’re getting your (or your parents’) money’s worth from your classes? Can you explain in more detail?
- What do you wish you had done differently in your choices when transitioning to college?
- During your freshman year, what were a few of the things you found hardest to adjust to about college?
- Do you feel that this school is particularly appropriate for a certain kind of person or goal? (partying, fast track to a career, serious study, etc)
- What are the worst things about your school? (I think this is important because no tour or academic brochure will give you this insider information honestly)
- And the best? (sometimes this will be quite different from what the school says is best)
- How accurately do you feel your school represents itself in its advertising, and do you feel there are particular areas it’s right, or misrepresents itself? (for example, RIT represents itself as a normal, traditional university, but my understanding is that it’s better as a commuter campus with a focus on getting students into careers)
- What kinds of projects do you have, and which ones do you notice not having? (research papers, open-ended creative assignments, practice exercises, etc)
- Could you describe the competitiveness of the school’s atmosphere and relationship between majors? – what do you think of them, how much do you interact, etc
- Would you honestly choose this school again?
- What do you feel the school does really well? What inspires pride in your institution? Are there “rallying points” in the culture here?
- Can you describe the general average attitude of the student body?