Learn What to Ask (and Avoid) On College Tours
College tours are an exciting opportunity for students to get a feel for life on campus, narrow down their list of best-fit schools, and explore a variety of academic options. Asking questions can help students gain more specific information about each institution and walk away with a nuanced understanding of the school.
While students shouldn’t be afraid to speak up during campus tours, it’s important to focus on asking the right kinds of questions to maximize your knowledge and present yourself in the best light possible. Keep reading for some queries students should avoid and what you should ask instead.
Don’t: What’s the party scene like here?
Do: What is the residential living experience like for freshmen? How can students get involved on campus?
Everyone comes to college with a desire to make friends and build lifelong bonds. Instead of asking about college parties, focus on learning about opportunities to meet peers through shared interests and passions. Your tour guide should be able to pinpoint a variety of on campus clubs, special interest housing options, and intramural teams, all of which can help students connect with peers with similar interests. Remember that college tours are an opportunity to make a positive first impression at a specific college and avoid any questions that may make it seem like you are not taking this process seriously.
Don’t: How much financial aid am I likely to receive from this college?
Do: Who can I get in touch with to learn more about financial aid packages?
Finding a school that is a financial fit is an important part of the college search process, but it is unlikely that your tour guide will be able to give you specific information based on your own needs and circumstances. Additionally, campus tours are a group experience, so it is best to stick to broader questions that can benefit multiple students, as oppose to focusing on personal scenarios. Instead of grilling your tour guide on the college’s financial aid offerings, see if he or she can direct you to the financial aid office so you can discuss your concerns one-on-one.
Don’t: Are there any classes that are really unpopular? What courses did you hate?
Do: Describe the most meaningful class you took on campus.
It’s important to ask questions about a university’s academic offerings, but avoid framing it in a negative light. Colleges are looking for students who are eager to learn, so strive to formulate questions that emphasize your curiosity and intellect. Even if your tour guide’s favorite class doesn’t relate to your interests, it’s a great opportunity to gauge relationships between students and professors and scope out new learning experiences.
Don’t: How much can I expect to make after graduation?
Do: What kind of internship and career resources are available to students?
Again, it’s better to frame questions more broadly and avoid focusing in on specific numbers. Starting salaries can vary greatly; instead of fixating on a number, try to survey all of the options and opportunities available on campus. A tour guide should be able to discuss the institution’s career center, alumni network, and some of the internship positions students can apply for. While college is certainly an investment, it’s also an opportunity to broaden your horizons and pursue interests and passions. Ask questions that highlight this, as opposed to queries that focus so directly on calculating a return on investment.
By asking the right questions, students can walk away from each college tour with an in-depth understanding of the opportunities available at each school. If you are currently planning for college tours, our team of expert admissions counselors can help prepare you for every step of the process.