Top 25 Questions to Ask During a College Visit

By Patricia Gorden Neill - March 19th, 2013

No matter how closely you’ve read the college brochure or studied its Web site, there remain some questions you have to have answered in person, while you’re visiting. You’ll have some questions for the admissions office, for the financial aid office and some for current students. Put some thought into these questions, and you’ll get satisfactory answers.

Don’t ask about things you can easily find out from the college’s web page, that simply annoys college personnel and it makes you look unprepared and immature. At this point, no matter what you think of yourself, others are going to treat you as an adult and as a society, we expect adults to take responsibility. That includes finding out simple information that all colleges conveys in its many publications and Web presence.

Here are sample questions for you to consider asking during your college visit.

Questions about Academics

  • Do professors teach most classes or do teaching assistants? What percent of classes use TAs?
  • What percentage of students graduate in four years?--These days many students take longer than four years to graduate. Many take up to five or six, significantly increasing costs.
  • How large are freshmen classes?
  • Is there a writing center? Are tutors available for students?--You want to discover if academic and social support are available for first year students.
  • Are freshmen assigned academic advisors?
  • Do all professors hold office hours?—You want to find out how available professors are.
  • Do many students get internships? Are there internship programs available?

Questions for an Admissions Counselor

  • How safe is campus? Does campus security regularly patrol the campus?
  • What services are available at the student health center?
  • Are there extra fees I will have to pay besides tuition?--Many colleges have fees for registration, orientation and student activities and it can all add up. Ask ahead of time so you won’t be shocked in the fall.
  • What kind of career or academic services are available?

Questions for a Financial Aid Counselor

  • Does the college offer merit scholarships? How do I apply?
  • Does the college offer need-based financial aid? Is the full need met?
  • Is the financial aid guaranteed for all four years at the same financial level?
  • Does the college have work-study programs?
  • When students graduate, what level of debt do they carry on average?

Questions to Ask Random Students

  • What do you like best about this college? What do you like the least?
  • How easy is it to talk to professors? Are they available outside of class?
  • How many hours a week do you study?—Ask this of many students so you get a diverse set of answers.
  • Are there activities on the weekends or do most students go home?
  • How is the Greek system here on campus? Do fraternities and sororities rule the social scene?
  • Is Wi-Fi available in the dorms?
  • What made you choose this school? Would you choose this school again, given what you know now?
  • Where do freshmen live? How are the dorms, are they crowded?
  • Do you like the food here? Is it healthy and tasty?

Keep in mind that these are just sample questions for you to use as a guide. You may have much more detailed questions for the financial aid counselor, for example, based on your family’s situation. You may want to ask more questions of the admissions counselor concerning your own application. Asking questions on your college visit is a great way to get information you may not be able to discover elsewhere. The more particular and specific questions you ask, the better information you’ll receive. So don’t be shy, ask away and take in every bit of data you can. Remember to take notes to spur your memory later in the decision process.

About the Author

Patricia Gorden NeillPatricia Gorden Neill edited medical and scholarly journals for over 20 years in the ivy-covered halls of the University of Rochester. She is a freelance writer, often covering higher education and the concerns of college age students, and is regularly published on a variety of websites.