There are thousands of schools to choose from, and while you are trying to figure out where you want to spend the next part of your life it can be hard to distinguish what makes each school different. While each institution has unique features that make it amazing, here are questions you can ask in an interview, tour, or info session that can help you figure out what a school is like. Some of these questions are geared more towards admissions officers, and others toward students, so make sure to ask appropriately!
Admissions and Financial Aid
- Is there any advantage to applying early action and/or decision?
- How do you compare students whose transcripts and GPAs are on different scales?
- Do you consider if a student needs financial aid when making admissions decisions?
- What is the financial aid process like? Is aid more loan-based or grant-based?
- Does the college anticipate a rise in tuition in the next few years and if so, by how much?
- What kinds of work study jobs are available on campus, and are there enough to meet the demands of students who need to do work study?
- Do any majors or concentrations at the school have a quota?
- How does class registration work? Are many courses lotteried?
- What is the average number of students per class?
- Are there any mandatory courses for freshman? Are there any other requisite courses or requirements for students to graduate?
- Are most classes taught by professors or by graduate students?
- How accessible are professors? Do they hold office hours for students?
- Are there tutoring and extra help resources available on campus? How accessible are they?
- Do many students study abroad? How easy is it to get study abroad opportunities and when do most students go abroad?
- Would you say the school is more collaborative or competitive? Do students often work on projects and homework together?
- How diverse is the campus?
- Do students exhibit school pride by attending sports and school-sponsored events?
- Is greek life an important part of social life on campus? If not, what are other avenues for social life?
- How often do students visit home? Are people on campus during the weekends?
- What kind of student organizations are present on campus? Are extracurricular activities a significant part of student life?
- What is the availability of mental health services on campus? Are there services on campus that students can utilize if they need to talk to someone or seek treatment?
- Do most people live on campus? Is housing guaranteed for all four years?
- How does the school deal with overcrowding when more students matriculate than expected? Is there overflow housing available? Is housing still guaranteed?
Careers and Advising
- How hard is it to find research opportunities? Are there research opportunities for biology majors? Social studies majors?
- How does advising work on campus? What is the average number of students each adviser has?
- Does the school provide career services to help students gain employment after graduation? What percentage of students get hired after graduation?
- How successful are applicants in getting into law school? Medical school? Business School? Graduate programs?
This list can't fully recreate what going to a particular school is like, but having these questions in mind while applying will bring you one step closer to finding the perfect fit.