One of the best ways to learn more about colleges is to visit their campuses.
When you're on a college campus, my advice is to slow down and ask a lot of questions.
[Read about alternatives to a college visit.]
Ideally, you'll want to talk with more than just the admission staff. Stop a few students during your stay and ask them what they like and don't like about their school. If you can talk to a professor or two, even better.
[Read 5 ways to get a feel for a college on your own.]
To make the most of your college visit, here are 36 questions that I'd recommend that you ask:
—How much time do students typically spend on homework?
—How much writing and reading are expected?
—What is the average class size of introductory classes?
—How widely used are teaching assistants on your campus?
—What is the average class size of upper-division courses?
—What opportunities are there for undergraduate research?
—How many students participate in undergraduate research?
—Is there a culminating senior year experience?
—Do you have an honors college?
—Do you have a learning community or other freshman experience?
—What is your average financial aid package?
—What is the typical breakdown of loans versus grants?
—What percentage of financial need does the school typically meet?
—What is the average merit award?
—What percentage of students receive college grants?
—What is the average college debt that students leave with?
—What work-study opportunities are there?
Graduation Track Record
—What is your four-year graduation rate?
—What is your five-year graduation rate?
—What does it take to graduate in four years?
—What percentage of freshmen return for sophomore year?
—What type of tutoring program do you have?
—How do you provide academic advice to students?
—Do you have a writing center and how do I access it?
—What kind of learning disability resources do you have?
—How many students at the college get internships?
—What percentage of students study abroad?
—What type of career services do you have?
—What kind of dorm choices are there?
—What percentage of student live on campus?
—How long are dorm accommodations guaranteed?
—How many students live on campus?
—Do most students go home on the weekend?
—What percentage of the study body belongs to a sorority or fraternity?
—What activities are offered to students?
—What clubs do you have on campus?
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