3. Ask the tour guide what they would change about the school.
Crossley encourages prospective students and parents to ask about what the tour guide may want to see altered at the school. "You want to be as honest as possible," he says. "Every school has great things about it, and every school has things could maybe be improved." Christopher Nowak, a tour guide and a senior at the State University of New York—Oswego, recommends that prospective students and parents quiz their tour guide about his or her views of the campus and about the big issues of debate at the school.
4. Ask about the local town and what is it like to live in that specific region of the country.
Most colleges are located near at least a small town if not in close vicinity to a large metropolis, and the tour guides recommend getting off campus to explore what these areas have to offer. Bingham, whose school is located in downtown Austin, says students need to figure out not only if the school is a good fit, but if the city nearby is a good fit as well. Guides also encourage those on tours to keep an open mind when visiting new locations. "Some people who come to a college in Arkansas have an assumption of what Arkansas is like, but don't ask about it," Rice says. "I think people could be honest about that and ask what it is like to live in Arkansas."
5. Ask about the academic and career services available to students.
A lot of people don't ask about the support systems that are offered in the majors the prospective students are interested in, Williams says. "It is important academically and socially to understand the type of mentorship you'll have at Spelman and how the students are encouraged to apply their education in the real world."
Questions You Should Avoid, at Least on Campus Tours
1. Avoid personal finance questions.
"We try to be as honest as possible with any question that's asked," Crossley says. He notes that if tour guides don't know the answer to a question, they may refrain from answering the question and refer the person to an administrator. In terms of personal finance questions, many do not have broad relevance to other people on the walk, Rice says. "If the question is of a personal nature, save it to ask an admissions counselor," she says.
2. Avoid asking very personal questions of the tour guide.
Williams says she sometimes is asked about what her personal GPA was in high school, or what her ACT and SAT scores were. She advises against asking these questions of the tour guide not only as a matter of privacy, but because the ACT and SAT scores that are required for each year's incoming freshman class can change based on the scores of the applicant pool. So, the tour guide's personal test scores likely will not reflect what the incoming class's scores will be.
[See America's Best Colleges]