By: Selvin and Ashley Quire, Co-Founders of InQuire Higher College Consulting Group
College visits are exciting times for high school students-- the first sights and impressions of the schools on their list. Observing current students interact with each other, admiring the campus’s beauty, and learning about the school’s history and culture are just a few experiences one can have during a visit. Physically being on campus can be the first time a student experiences a sense of belonging, imagining this is the place for them for their college years.
Visits generally last 1 to 1 ½ hours, which may not feel like a lot of time for someone who only has one opportunity to step on campus. So how do you make the most out of that visit within a limited amount of time? How do you learn enough about the college while touring with multiple other students and families? Here are our top questions to ask during your visit:
1) What does your university look for when admitting their students? In any case, you want to put your best foot forward. Getting additional details about the type of students a school looks for not only allows you to tailor your high school activities and achievements, but also to figure out if you and the school make a good match.
2) Are there any merit-based scholarships? If so, is there a deadline to apply and be considered for them? Merit-based scholarships are generally awarded to you when you’re admitted and based on your grades and/or other achievements. Check to see if the schools you visit recognize a student’s hard work through these awards and the deadlines for consideration.
3) Can I speak with any current students or alumni about the school? It’s essential to gather multiple perspectives of the school you might attend. The admissions staff, current students, alumni, friends, and family can share their experiences of the school, an aide to your own research. Check to see that if the school provides opportunities for conversations with current students and alumni.
4) Can I bring a car to campus? Thinking about having a convenient mode of transportation on campus? Double-check the school’s policy, as many schools do not allow first-year students to have cars on campus. This is a chance to think about how much transportation you will need and what the available options are such as a transit system or ride-sharing services.
5) When do I have to declare a major? Some schools allow you to begin taking classes in your major starting during the first semester while others make you wait until you earn your general education credits. Regardless of what you decide to do, make yourself aware of your deadline to decide on a major.
6) What student housing options are available? Students who don’t plan to commute from home have a range of housing options from different residence halls to the number of roommates in each housing unit. These may be available on a first-come, first-serve basis and have different price tags, so it is recommended to seek this information before falling in love with a specific dorm.
7) Are there scholarships that I can apply for through the school? Your scholarship search should happen on an ongoing basis, and your potential school could have additional scholarship opportunities. Ask your tour guide or stop by the financial aid office before you finish your visit.
While this gives you a great start, you may want to see more questions for your upcoming visits. Click the link to get access to Inquire Higher’s FREE College Visit Questions for Admissions and Financial Aid Offices resource! Good luck on your tours!