This article is published in the 2014 I’m First Guide to College
No matter how many brochures you read or websites you visit, nothing tells you more about a college than visiting its campus in person. Plus, you can learn a lot more just by asking questions.
Ask your college host:
• What activities and services are available to help students get settled (academically and socially) during their first year?
• How big are the classes?
• What is the total cost of attending the college?
• What types of financial aid does the college offer and how do I apply?
• Are all freshmen assigned to an academic advisor?
• Where do most freshmen live?
• Can I take a tour?
• What activities are available for students?
• Who teaches the courses for first-year students?
• How successful are the college’s graduates in finding jobs?
• What services (such as transportation and shopping) are available locally?
Ask any students you meet:
• How easy is it to meet with faculty?
• Are you able to register for the classes you want?
• What is there to do on weekends? Do most students stay or leave campus on weekends?
Can’t Get to a Campus? Go Online
Visiting a college’s website is an invaluable tool to learn everything you need to know about a school. you can find answers to many of the questions above and some college websites even offer a virtual tour for you to get familiar with the campus.
1. Go Online—Visit the college’s website (and look for them on Facebook, Twitter, etc). Spend an hour or two browsing the website contents. Most colleges have a lot of material online for interested students. Here’s some things to look for:
• Virtual tours that show you around the campus
• Information about campus life, such as organizations and clubs, past and upcoming events, and student support and resources offered.
• Links to student newspapers, which can tell you a lot about what’s happening on campus and kind of students that attend the school.
• A sign up page for interested students to request brochures and more information.
2. Attend a College Fair—Visiting a college fair gives you a chance to meet with admissions officers and request more information from schools that interest you. Come prepared with questions to ask about the school, and take down the admissions officer’s contact information in case you think of more questions later.
3. Speak with Students and Alumni—If you can’t visit a school, speaking with alumni and current students might be the next best thing. Make sure you get as many opinions and perspectives as possible. Some colleges have student or alumni liaisons who will schedule a phone call with you to answer questions and talk about the school. Some may offer alumni interviews in your city. yes, these interviews are primarily so the alumni officer can assess you, but they are also a great chance for you to ask questions.
Additionally, KnowHow2GO-U—accessible at http://knowhow2go.acenet.edu/index.html— is a virtual pre-college tour that replicates the experience of being on a real college campus and is designed to help you learn what to expect. By visiting various campus buildings—Admissions, Financial Aid, Academics, Career Center, Student Center, Library, Dormitories, Quad, and the Athletic Complex—you’ll learn about the college environment and what it takes to get there
Printed with permission from KnowHow2GO. Learn more at KnowHow2GO.org