Campus Visits

Helpful Hints for Making the Most of a Campus Visit

On most campuses the tour guide is a student selected by the college for his or her ability to project a positive image of the institution to the prospective candidate. Some are a bit short on candor and somewhat hesitant to contradict the catalog or admissions officer. Others are very honest and open about their own experiences Remember a guide may be down on a particular college because he or she just flunked an exam. If you have a negative experience, try to meet other students before leaving campus. (Visit the student center, the athletic fields, lobby of a dorm or the cafeteria.)

Some Questions You Might Ask Your Campus Guide:

  1. How large are all of your classes?
  2. Who teaches you in these courses? (Graduate assistants or professors?)
  3. Does this school have a core curriculum? How restrictive is it? Is there a foreign language requirement?
  4. How adequate is the library? Are you able to get the books you need when you want them?
  5. When do you have to declare your major? What are the most popular majors?
  6. Tell me about housing. Are some dorms much better than others? Do many live off campus? If so, why?
  7. Do students seem to work primarily for grades? How competitive is the student body? What is the attitude towards working hard?
  8. Have you been in any faculty homes since you've been here? How available are your professors?
  9. Can you tell me anything first-hand about the (French, English, history) department?
  10. What's the biggest issue in local campus politics?
  11. What are the big issues in national or intentional politics? Are students politically active? Aware?
  12. What percentage of students study abroad at some time?
  13. What impact do fraternities have here? Athletics?
  14. What are weekends like? Are there alternatives to the typical party scene?
  15. How active is student government? What activities are popular?
  16. Are the Arts supported here? Are the courses oversubscribed? Which areas are strong?
  17. What do you think is the greatest shortcoming of this college? What do students complain about?
  18. What do you like best about your experience and education here?
  19. Where do students come from? Is this a diverse community?
  20. If you could attend another college now, where would you go? Why?
  21. Why did you choose this school? What others did you apply to?
  22. What kinds of kids do you think are happiest here? Which ones are least happy?

Other Suggestions

  1. Spend the night in the dorm and sit in on several classes.
  2. Pick up a copy of the latest campus newspaper.
  3. Read the course catalogue and check out the list of faculty, their degrees, and the courses they teach. 
  4. Meet a coach if you are interested in a sport.
  5. Meet with the head of an activity if you have a particular interest you want to pursue in college.
  6. Meet with a department chairperson or any faculty member.
  7. Talk to everyone you happen to meet on campus about his or her experiences at the college.
  8. Go to the financial aid office and ask questions.
  9. Find out about the quality of the Career Placement Services office (The job placement percentage of grads through the career center).

*Sometimes it is impossible to visit a campus. You can still get a feel of a college by talking to recent graduates or current students from your area. At the minimum take a virtual tour on their website or a site such as Campus