Across the United States, 17.5 million undergraduate students are currently enrolled. For each student, the choice of an academic institution will play a fundamental role in shaping the rest of their life.
When it comes down to it, college interviews and campus tours can make or break your decision. While a school may check off all your desired attributes on paper, these in-person visits are the best way to get a feel for the campus culture.
For this reason, it is imperative that you come with questions to ask college admissions counselors during your visit. This might be in the interview stage, or during a campus tour.
Either way—comping prepared can ensure you get the most pertinent information to help you make an educated decision when it comes to your future home.
For more information and examples of questions to ask a college interviewer, keep reading!
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1. What Does a Typical Student Schedule Look Like?
Of course, a simple Google search can shed light on the course offerings available or what time the dining halls open. But to get an idea of what a day in the life of a student is actually like, this is one of the most important questions to ask on a college visit.
A campus tour lead by a current student is a great way to get a real-life answer to this question. With their experience and insight, they can provide a realistic glimpse into the day-to-day activities of a student on campus.
This also includes the lesser-known tips and tricks that may not be available in the school handbook. For example—what is the best time to avoid lines for the campus shuttle? Which campus gym is the least crowded after class?
These are just a few examples of the insights you can gain during a campus tour, with questions more focused on the day-to-day activities of students. Learning what students do for fun is just as important as is learning about educational programs and opportunities.
Plus, it helps provide a more holistic view of the lifestyle you just may be joining in the near future.
2. What Are Some of the Most Popular Clubs on Campus?
This is an important question that can also help shed light on the culture within the campus—in addition to the academic life. Learning about the different types of clubs popular on campus can provide insight into the interests of most students, and what types of opportunities this dovetails into.
Additionally, if you cannot find a club that suits your interests, perhaps you could start your own. It’s not a bad idea to ask your admissions counselor if this is possible, and what steps you would need to take to achieve this.
In addition to meeting new friends that align with your interests, starting your own school-sponsored organization shows future employers and academic institutions that you are happy to take initiative. It’s a win-win!
3. What Type of Support Is Offered for Freshmen?
While it can be one of the most exciting years of your life, freshman year of college can also be one of the most stressful. With so many changes going on at once, it’s easy for students to feel overwhelmed by their environments. Luckily, there are ways to combat this.
For this reason, it’s important to ask about freshmen-specific resources. This may be something like a freshman orientation program, a course designed to acquaint students with their new surroundings or a support group of sorts.
Of course, it’s helpful to know about programs and offices open to all students. But when colleges and universities prioritize the mental and physical wellbeing of their more vulnerable groups of students, it can go a long way in ensuring a smooth transition.
So ask your college admissions counselor or campus tour guide for information on available resources for freshmen students. You won’t regret it!
4. How Do Students Choose a Residence Hall and Roommate?
Typically, information about first-year living setups can be found online. But it’s not a bad idea to ask for more detail on this—especially as you embark on a campus tour.
Your tour guide can point out the specific dorm options available, and explain how the selection process works. This is especially important for students with disabilities, or others who may need special living conditions.
Roommate selection is another big part of residential life as a freshman. This is your opportunity to gain more insight into this process.
For schools that mandate random roommates in the first year, ask for more clarification on how this process takes shape. Are there certain characteristics used to match roommates, or is it totally random?
If you can choose your roommate, how early do these selections need to be locked in? Is there a social media platform or group in which future students meet each other to secure a potential match?
These questions are a must-ask to ensure you properly grasp how each college’s residential programs work—and to see if it matches your own wants and needs for a campus.
5. How Easy or Difficult Is It to Switch Majors Within the University?
Going into college, you might already have a good idea of what you want to study for the next four years. But this can quickly change—many students will go through their first year or two of courses, and discover that perhaps the major is not exactly for them, after all.
For this reason, it’s good to ask about the likelihood of switching majors. Each school has a different policy for changing majors, especially when transferring to a different school within the university.
For some majors or schools, you may even have to re-apply to these programs. The more information you gather on this topic, the more comfortable you may feel should this ever be necessary for the future.
Even if you don’t currently foresee yourself needing to opt for this route—it doesn’t hurt to ask, just in case.
6. How Does the College Facilitate Internships and Research Projects?
Another major area to consider while undergoing university interview prep is the availability of resources for educational development outside of the classroom. Most commonly, this is seen in internship programs off-campus, or independent studies with a professor.
In addition to providing real-world context to courses and lessons, it also helps provide the experience necessary to get a leg-up in the job-seeking world come graduation.
Of course, securing the internship or independent study is the responsibility of the student; however, this is made much easier when the school provides resources to its students.
This can be as simple as a resume-building workshop, or as complex as helping to facilitate interviews with local internship providers. For STEM-related fields, this may also include lab time or research projects that students can take part in.
Don’t forget to ask your admission counselor how their school supports its students with outside learning experiences!
7. How Does the College Facilitate Post-Graduate Opportunities?
While it’s important to ask interview questions pertaining to life on campus during your collegiate years, it’s also a good idea to inquire about post-college opportunities.
This may take a variety of shapes, depending on your priorities and desired career path.
For some, this may mean continuing education—perhaps a master’s degree or a law school program. If this is something important to you, be sure to ask your university admissions team about the school’s graduate programs.
If the school does not have a graduate program that suits your ideal career path, perhaps they work closely with other institutions to help increase student options.
If continuing education is not in your plans, you may also look to the school’s career center or other resources to help facilitate employment or volunteer opportunities. These connections can truly be a game-changer in seeking post-college career opportunities—so be sure to inquire how each college provides such opportunities.
Try Out These Questions to Ask College Admissions Teams!
With this guide, you can begin to form your own list of questions to ask college admissions counselors.
Carefully selecting your interview questions not only ensures you gather the most pertinent information—but also demonstrates just how serious you are in finding the right fit.
This can leave a lasting impression during your college visit and interview opportunities. Try it out for yourself!