Getting the Most out of College Visits: Questions to Ask & Consider

January 22, 2024
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Deciding on a college is one of the biggest decisions a student will make; and finding a school that is truly a good fit for a student is critical to student persistence and success. Many students scour websites, talk to alumni, and spend time reading about a particular school as they make this monumental choice. 

None of these sources, however, can replace the experience of seeing a campus firsthand and talking to those who currently attend or teach at a specific school. If students are lucky enough to be able to visit a potential college or university, it is important for them to use the time there to ask questions, really understand the environment, and think about how the specific qualities align with their preferences, strengths, and interests. 

Share this list of questions with students and families so they can maximize the value of college visits:

Academics

  • How many students are in an average class? 
  • Are most classes taught by professors or teaching assistants? 
  • Are there frequent opportunities to access support or engage with professors? 
  • Do many students participate in study abroad, internship, or other practical career experiences? What opportunities are available? 

Environment

  • Do students live on campus all four years? What are most dorms like? What off-campus options are available?
  • How do students get around on campus? Do most students need a car?
  • What are the dining options, and how do most students get their meals?
  • How much does the surrounding city, town, or community impact campus life?
  • Do students generally feel safe on campus? 

Financial Considerations

  • Do financial aid packages remain the same over time?
  • How do students get a work study job? Are there opportunities for students to work on campus outside of a work study program?
  • What is the average amount of student debt after graduation? 
  • Are there any other significant costs outside of tuition, room, and board for the typical student?

Student Experience

  • What are the dominant social organizations, clubs, or other student groups? 
  • What are the top reasons current students chose to attend?
  • How do students access academic, mental health, and career exploration support?
  • Is there a broad diversity of students–including linguistic, geographic, religious, or socioeconomic? 
  • What do students typically do on the weekends? Do many frequently go home? 

Student Success and Persistence 

  • What is the 4-year graduation rate?
  • What is the rate of students who leave after freshman year? 
  • What is the rate of students who get a job in their field after graduation? 

Importance of Going Beyond the Brochure

Using a college visit to get beyond second-hand information sources can be invaluable to either reinforce that a school is a good choice or help students realize that a school is not the right fit for them. Counselors might try to coordinate or organize college visits to commonly attended schools or help connect students with other resources and opportunities to do so if their family is unable to arrange a visit. To help students and families make the most out of these visits, SchooLinks has created a one-page guide to document and note perceptions and preferences across a variety of categories where students can record their thoughts and feedback.

Hearing the lived experiences of students, sitting in on classes, eating a meal in the student center, and just sensing the visceral energy of students interacting during unstructured times can be critical to a student finding a college or university where they can be successful for the four years they are there and beyond.

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Deciding on a college is one of the biggest decisions a student will make; and finding a school that is truly a good fit for a student is critical to student persistence and success. Many students scour websites, talk to alumni, and spend time reading about a particular school as they make this monumental choice. 

None of these sources, however, can replace the experience of seeing a campus firsthand and talking to those who currently attend or teach at a specific school. If students are lucky enough to be able to visit a potential college or university, it is important for them to use the time there to ask questions, really understand the environment, and think about how the specific qualities align with their preferences, strengths, and interests. 

Share this list of questions with students and families so they can maximize the value of college visits:

Academics

  • How many students are in an average class? 
  • Are most classes taught by professors or teaching assistants? 
  • Are there frequent opportunities to access support or engage with professors? 
  • Do many students participate in study abroad, internship, or other practical career experiences? What opportunities are available? 

Environment

  • Do students live on campus all four years? What are most dorms like? What off-campus options are available?
  • How do students get around on campus? Do most students need a car?
  • What are the dining options, and how do most students get their meals?
  • How much does the surrounding city, town, or community impact campus life?
  • Do students generally feel safe on campus? 

Financial Considerations

  • Do financial aid packages remain the same over time?
  • How do students get a work study job? Are there opportunities for students to work on campus outside of a work study program?
  • What is the average amount of student debt after graduation? 
  • Are there any other significant costs outside of tuition, room, and board for the typical student?

Student Experience

  • What are the dominant social organizations, clubs, or other student groups? 
  • What are the top reasons current students chose to attend?
  • How do students access academic, mental health, and career exploration support?
  • Is there a broad diversity of students–including linguistic, geographic, religious, or socioeconomic? 
  • What do students typically do on the weekends? Do many frequently go home? 

Student Success and Persistence 

  • What is the 4-year graduation rate?
  • What is the rate of students who leave after freshman year? 
  • What is the rate of students who get a job in their field after graduation? 

Importance of Going Beyond the Brochure

Using a college visit to get beyond second-hand information sources can be invaluable to either reinforce that a school is a good choice or help students realize that a school is not the right fit for them. Counselors might try to coordinate or organize college visits to commonly attended schools or help connect students with other resources and opportunities to do so if their family is unable to arrange a visit. To help students and families make the most out of these visits, SchooLinks has created a one-page guide to document and note perceptions and preferences across a variety of categories where students can record their thoughts and feedback.

Hearing the lived experiences of students, sitting in on classes, eating a meal in the student center, and just sensing the visceral energy of students interacting during unstructured times can be critical to a student finding a college or university where they can be successful for the four years they are there and beyond.

Deciding on a college is one of the biggest decisions a student will make; and finding a school that is truly a good fit for a student is critical to student persistence and success. Many students scour websites, talk to alumni, and spend time reading about a particular school as they make this monumental choice. 

None of these sources, however, can replace the experience of seeing a campus firsthand and talking to those who currently attend or teach at a specific school. If students are lucky enough to be able to visit a potential college or university, it is important for them to use the time there to ask questions, really understand the environment, and think about how the specific qualities align with their preferences, strengths, and interests. 

Share this list of questions with students and families so they can maximize the value of college visits:

Academics

  • How many students are in an average class? 
  • Are most classes taught by professors or teaching assistants? 
  • Are there frequent opportunities to access support or engage with professors? 
  • Do many students participate in study abroad, internship, or other practical career experiences? What opportunities are available? 

Environment

  • Do students live on campus all four years? What are most dorms like? What off-campus options are available?
  • How do students get around on campus? Do most students need a car?
  • What are the dining options, and how do most students get their meals?
  • How much does the surrounding city, town, or community impact campus life?
  • Do students generally feel safe on campus? 

Financial Considerations

  • Do financial aid packages remain the same over time?
  • How do students get a work study job? Are there opportunities for students to work on campus outside of a work study program?
  • What is the average amount of student debt after graduation? 
  • Are there any other significant costs outside of tuition, room, and board for the typical student?

Student Experience

  • What are the dominant social organizations, clubs, or other student groups? 
  • What are the top reasons current students chose to attend?
  • How do students access academic, mental health, and career exploration support?
  • Is there a broad diversity of students–including linguistic, geographic, religious, or socioeconomic? 
  • What do students typically do on the weekends? Do many frequently go home? 

Student Success and Persistence 

  • What is the 4-year graduation rate?
  • What is the rate of students who leave after freshman year? 
  • What is the rate of students who get a job in their field after graduation? 

Importance of Going Beyond the Brochure

Using a college visit to get beyond second-hand information sources can be invaluable to either reinforce that a school is a good choice or help students realize that a school is not the right fit for them. Counselors might try to coordinate or organize college visits to commonly attended schools or help connect students with other resources and opportunities to do so if their family is unable to arrange a visit. To help students and families make the most out of these visits, SchooLinks has created a one-page guide to document and note perceptions and preferences across a variety of categories where students can record their thoughts and feedback.

Hearing the lived experiences of students, sitting in on classes, eating a meal in the student center, and just sensing the visceral energy of students interacting during unstructured times can be critical to a student finding a college or university where they can be successful for the four years they are there and beyond.

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Deciding on a college is one of the biggest decisions a student will make; and finding a school that is truly a good fit for a student is critical to student persistence and success. Many students scour websites, talk to alumni, and spend time reading about a particular school as they make this monumental choice. 

None of these sources, however, can replace the experience of seeing a campus firsthand and talking to those who currently attend or teach at a specific school. If students are lucky enough to be able to visit a potential college or university, it is important for them to use the time there to ask questions, really understand the environment, and think about how the specific qualities align with their preferences, strengths, and interests. 

Share this list of questions with students and families so they can maximize the value of college visits:

Academics

  • How many students are in an average class? 
  • Are most classes taught by professors or teaching assistants? 
  • Are there frequent opportunities to access support or engage with professors? 
  • Do many students participate in study abroad, internship, or other practical career experiences? What opportunities are available? 

Environment

  • Do students live on campus all four years? What are most dorms like? What off-campus options are available?
  • How do students get around on campus? Do most students need a car?
  • What are the dining options, and how do most students get their meals?
  • How much does the surrounding city, town, or community impact campus life?
  • Do students generally feel safe on campus? 

Financial Considerations

  • Do financial aid packages remain the same over time?
  • How do students get a work study job? Are there opportunities for students to work on campus outside of a work study program?
  • What is the average amount of student debt after graduation? 
  • Are there any other significant costs outside of tuition, room, and board for the typical student?

Student Experience

  • What are the dominant social organizations, clubs, or other student groups? 
  • What are the top reasons current students chose to attend?
  • How do students access academic, mental health, and career exploration support?
  • Is there a broad diversity of students–including linguistic, geographic, religious, or socioeconomic? 
  • What do students typically do on the weekends? Do many frequently go home? 

Student Success and Persistence 

  • What is the 4-year graduation rate?
  • What is the rate of students who leave after freshman year? 
  • What is the rate of students who get a job in their field after graduation? 

Importance of Going Beyond the Brochure

Using a college visit to get beyond second-hand information sources can be invaluable to either reinforce that a school is a good choice or help students realize that a school is not the right fit for them. Counselors might try to coordinate or organize college visits to commonly attended schools or help connect students with other resources and opportunities to do so if their family is unable to arrange a visit. To help students and families make the most out of these visits, SchooLinks has created a one-page guide to document and note perceptions and preferences across a variety of categories where students can record their thoughts and feedback.

Hearing the lived experiences of students, sitting in on classes, eating a meal in the student center, and just sensing the visceral energy of students interacting during unstructured times can be critical to a student finding a college or university where they can be successful for the four years they are there and beyond.

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Deciding on a college is one of the biggest decisions a student will make; and finding a school that is truly a good fit for a student is critical to student persistence and success. Many students scour websites, talk to alumni, and spend time reading about a particular school as they make this monumental choice. 

None of these sources, however, can replace the experience of seeing a campus firsthand and talking to those who currently attend or teach at a specific school. If students are lucky enough to be able to visit a potential college or university, it is important for them to use the time there to ask questions, really understand the environment, and think about how the specific qualities align with their preferences, strengths, and interests. 

Share this list of questions with students and families so they can maximize the value of college visits:

Academics

  • How many students are in an average class? 
  • Are most classes taught by professors or teaching assistants? 
  • Are there frequent opportunities to access support or engage with professors? 
  • Do many students participate in study abroad, internship, or other practical career experiences? What opportunities are available? 

Environment

  • Do students live on campus all four years? What are most dorms like? What off-campus options are available?
  • How do students get around on campus? Do most students need a car?
  • What are the dining options, and how do most students get their meals?
  • How much does the surrounding city, town, or community impact campus life?
  • Do students generally feel safe on campus? 

Financial Considerations

  • Do financial aid packages remain the same over time?
  • How do students get a work study job? Are there opportunities for students to work on campus outside of a work study program?
  • What is the average amount of student debt after graduation? 
  • Are there any other significant costs outside of tuition, room, and board for the typical student?

Student Experience

  • What are the dominant social organizations, clubs, or other student groups? 
  • What are the top reasons current students chose to attend?
  • How do students access academic, mental health, and career exploration support?
  • Is there a broad diversity of students–including linguistic, geographic, religious, or socioeconomic? 
  • What do students typically do on the weekends? Do many frequently go home? 

Student Success and Persistence 

  • What is the 4-year graduation rate?
  • What is the rate of students who leave after freshman year? 
  • What is the rate of students who get a job in their field after graduation? 

Importance of Going Beyond the Brochure

Using a college visit to get beyond second-hand information sources can be invaluable to either reinforce that a school is a good choice or help students realize that a school is not the right fit for them. Counselors might try to coordinate or organize college visits to commonly attended schools or help connect students with other resources and opportunities to do so if their family is unable to arrange a visit. To help students and families make the most out of these visits, SchooLinks has created a one-page guide to document and note perceptions and preferences across a variety of categories where students can record their thoughts and feedback.

Hearing the lived experiences of students, sitting in on classes, eating a meal in the student center, and just sensing the visceral energy of students interacting during unstructured times can be critical to a student finding a college or university where they can be successful for the four years they are there and beyond.

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Deciding on a college is one of the biggest decisions a student will make; and finding a school that is truly a good fit for a student is critical to student persistence and success. Many students scour websites, talk to alumni, and spend time reading about a particular school as they make this monumental choice. 

None of these sources, however, can replace the experience of seeing a campus firsthand and talking to those who currently attend or teach at a specific school. If students are lucky enough to be able to visit a potential college or university, it is important for them to use the time there to ask questions, really understand the environment, and think about how the specific qualities align with their preferences, strengths, and interests. 

Share this list of questions with students and families so they can maximize the value of college visits:

Academics

  • How many students are in an average class? 
  • Are most classes taught by professors or teaching assistants? 
  • Are there frequent opportunities to access support or engage with professors? 
  • Do many students participate in study abroad, internship, or other practical career experiences? What opportunities are available? 

Environment

  • Do students live on campus all four years? What are most dorms like? What off-campus options are available?
  • How do students get around on campus? Do most students need a car?
  • What are the dining options, and how do most students get their meals?
  • How much does the surrounding city, town, or community impact campus life?
  • Do students generally feel safe on campus? 

Financial Considerations

  • Do financial aid packages remain the same over time?
  • How do students get a work study job? Are there opportunities for students to work on campus outside of a work study program?
  • What is the average amount of student debt after graduation? 
  • Are there any other significant costs outside of tuition, room, and board for the typical student?

Student Experience

  • What are the dominant social organizations, clubs, or other student groups? 
  • What are the top reasons current students chose to attend?
  • How do students access academic, mental health, and career exploration support?
  • Is there a broad diversity of students–including linguistic, geographic, religious, or socioeconomic? 
  • What do students typically do on the weekends? Do many frequently go home? 

Student Success and Persistence 

  • What is the 4-year graduation rate?
  • What is the rate of students who leave after freshman year? 
  • What is the rate of students who get a job in their field after graduation? 

Importance of Going Beyond the Brochure

Using a college visit to get beyond second-hand information sources can be invaluable to either reinforce that a school is a good choice or help students realize that a school is not the right fit for them. Counselors might try to coordinate or organize college visits to commonly attended schools or help connect students with other resources and opportunities to do so if their family is unable to arrange a visit. To help students and families make the most out of these visits, SchooLinks has created a one-page guide to document and note perceptions and preferences across a variety of categories where students can record their thoughts and feedback.

Hearing the lived experiences of students, sitting in on classes, eating a meal in the student center, and just sensing the visceral energy of students interacting during unstructured times can be critical to a student finding a college or university where they can be successful for the four years they are there and beyond.