Things to Ask Your College Tour Guide
Psychology Today has a funny article about how parents can embarrass their soon-to-be college kids when they start going to their campus visits.
It includes taking a lot of selfies and complaining to the tour guide about all the things that are “wrong” with the campus.
Now, if you have the sort of parents who would do these kinds of things, make sure to never show them that particular article. Or just grin and bear it. You have a lot of other things to focus on, especially the questions you need to ask your college tour guide.
Here are 10 of them.
Questions to Ask Your College Tour Guide
What’s the Employment Rate of Your Recent Grads?
While it’s great to know about big name companies hiring graduates of a particular school, you’ll learn more by knowing a college’s job and grad-school placement data for the last couple of years.
This will give you an idea how well a college tracks its graduates.
You’ll want to know how many recent alumni are working on their post-grad degrees and how many are currently employed.
Does the College Help with Internships?
Though you might think graduation is still years away, there’s no harm in thinking ahead.
In fact, your college tour guide is likely to appreciate this question, especially if the school really does its best to help with internship placements.
This could include help with resume preparation, as well as interview coaching.
It might also involve financial support. For example, a college could offer travel stipends or have a program in place for subsidizing living expenses, particularly if the internship is in an expensive city.
What are the Living Expenses Like for Upperclassmen?
Let’s say you got into 2 or 3 of the best engineering schools in the world. And you’re having a hard time deciding which one to choose.
You can base your decision on how much you’ll have to pay in terms of living expenses for your entire stay at the school. That means asking your tour guide or some of the upperclassmen you’ll meet about their monthly rent and other expenses.
Remember, getting in is just the start of your college experience. Finding ways to stay in school and save money is another thing entirely.
Can You Describe Your First Weeks on Campus?
Will the school’s social environment be a good fit for you? Asking your college tour guide is one way to find out.
Of course, every person’s different. But your tour guide should be able to give you an idea as to how soon students can get acclimated to the college.
You should also feel free to ask about college events and resources that will help any student fit right in.
Why Do You Like Being a Student Here?
There’s another way to phrase this question: Is there anything you don’t like about being a student here?
Ideally, you’ll want to probe until you get a candid answer. Keep in mind that campus tour guides are trained to make their colleges look awesome. What you want is a clear idea about the school’s positive and negative qualities.
If you’re not getting anything from your guide, you should ask other students about their take to help you arrive at a more balanced decision.
What are Your Favorite Off-Campus Places?
Work-life balance is just as important for college students. So, while your college tour guide is happy enough to tell you about the school’s surroundings, don’t forget to ask about his or her favorite off-campus places.
Not only will you learn about the area’s landmarks, it will also give you an inkling as to what the school’s students do when they’re taking a break from their academic duties.
Can You Tell Me More About Job Opportunities on Campus?
Does anyone need a reminder about the US’ student debt crisis?
Chances are, a lot of students in your tour group are itching to know about job opportunities on and off the campus.
If somebody already asked that question, follow up with “how do students here manage to study full time and work one or two jobs?”
It’s a good way to get reassurance or tough love (if that’s what you’re looking for).
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How’s the Food?
Now, this might seem like a trivial question. But it’s just as important as finding out about the admissions process and if the school offers online programs.
You don’t want to be that student subsisting on ramen noodles for four years, especially if you have special dietary needs (e.g. vegan, gluten-free, etc.). Ask your college tour guide about his or her favorite food in the cafeteria or if there are foods you should avoid at all costs.
Do You Have a Favorite Professor?
Just as there are different types of students, you’ll likely come across various types of professors. And even if your campus tour guide says, “Well, all the teachers here are great!” you should keep asking so you’ll get a feel for how the professors interact with students and vice-versa.
You’ll want to know how the school’s profs are – whether they’re easy to get in touch with or if they stick to their office hours.
What Kind of Help Does the School Offer for Students Struggling with Their Course Load?
Nobody said college life is easy. And while you shouldn’t anticipate struggling with your course load or any of your subjects, you should still try to prepare for it.
That’s why it helps to find out if the school offers on-campus tutoring, as well as the process and cost of getting a tutor. Ask about how a student qualifies for tutoring and how early you should book tutoring should you need it.
Forgot to Ask Your College Tour Guide About Something?
Or maybe you can’t make the trip to the school? Don’t worry. There are ways to research college/universities without visiting them in person.
And if you need more resources on choosing the right school, don’t forget to check out our blog. You can browse this section for more education and learning articles.