So, you're looking at colleges.
I've been there. I actually toured over 20 colleges (not a joke) when first choosing where I wanted to go to school. (I went to a college prep school, we saw a lot of schools). As I was on these grand tours, being wined and dined by student workers in polo shirts and choreographed jokes, I realized I never really asked the right questions when looking at these schools. I would ask the usual questions "what's the student to teacher ratio?" or "do you have this major?" when the truth is, I could find all of that information online.
When you are touring these schools, it's important to take advantage of the opportunity in front of you, speaking with an actual student. This is someone who takes classes you might take one day, sleeps in the dorm you might sleep in, etc.
And these questions are just the beginning of the things you can ask them...
1. Why did you choose this school?Giphy
Tour guides usually are tour guides for a reason, and they might have a really insightful story about how they decided to choose their university. And that story may help you see if this is the school for you or not.
2. What are the best places to eat on campus?Giphy
Every college campus has its own culture, including dining hall habits. Some schools may only have one dinning hall while others may have a variety of places for you to choose from. When looking at colleges, it's important to remember that this is going to be your lifestyle for the next four years and food is a pretty important aspect of that.
3. Do most students live on campus?Pivot Moving GIF - Find & Share on GIPHYGiphy
If you're looking at a school across the country from your hometown, it might be comforting to know the housing options available. Some schools only guarantee housing for freshman students, while others have to look for housing elsewhere. Other schools may have a majority of the students living on campus. Are you someone who wants to eat, sleep and breathe your college experience or does that sound like a nightmare?
4. How hard is it to change your major?Giphy
Some schools do not allow students to be undeclared or will only recommend a student to change their major their freshman year. If you're a one-tracked mind then this shouldn't be a problem, but if you're still juggling between being a teacher and being a nurse, then that might not be the program for you.
5. What do students typically do on the weekends?Giphy
Students will usually be pretty honest if their school is a party school or not.
6. Which sports are the biggest on campus?Giphy
I personally went to a school where basketball was the sport that everybody went to. If you're a die-hard football fan, you're going to want to attend a school that agrees with those priorities.
7. Do your teachers know your name?Giphy
Some professors walk in the first day and say "I will not learn your name, there are 500 of you." And they don't really care if you come to class or not. Other professors ask you if you watched the latest episode of Stranger Things. What kind of professor do you want?
8. What are the most popular student organizations on campus?Giphy
Is there something for everyone or are there a few groups who rule the school?
9. What are the school's biggest strengths?Giphy
Community? Academics? Student support?
10. How hard was it to get the classes you wanted?Giphy
Are you going to be able to take the classes you want or hope for the best that you graduate on time?
11. What kind of career opportunities are support are offered to students?Giphy
Will you be interview ready post-graduation? How many students work on campus?
12. How much academic support is available outside of the classroom?Giphy
Do professors have office hours? Are there academic support lounges?
13. What's the best thing to do off campus?Giphy
Is your college in a college town or a big city? Or is civilization a few miles away?
14. What is one thing you wish you could change about your school?Giphy
Nobody is perfect, but what kind of imperfect are we working with?