Planning a College Visit
Planning your College Visit:
Make an Appointment. Phone or write the Admissions Office. You will get more out of a visit if you are expected.
Visit when classes are in session. Ask to visit a class in your expected major of study and ask to sit in on a class.
Talk to the Professors. Your best chance of talking to faculty will be when you have a scheduled appointment.
Talk to the students. Talk to as many students as you can during your visit.
Ask about open houses. Many colleges plan special open-house weekends for high school students and hold programs designed to give you the broadest possible understanding of the school.
WHAT TO ASK?
How good of a school are you?
• What percent of your freshmen return after the first year?
• What percent of your freshmen eventually receive their degrees?
• How long did it take for students to earn their degrees?
• What is the ratio of students to instructors in required freshman courses?
• How are freshman advisors assigned?
• When are major area advisors assigned?
• What is the college policy on dropping courses?
• Are all classes given letter grades? If not, explain exceptions.
• How many freshmen got closed out of classes they requested?
• What are the minimum grade requirements to continue in school?
• What is the length of the grading periods — semester or quarters?
• Is there an entry-level testing to determine course placement and are remedial
courses offered and/or required?
• What is the average ACT score of incoming freshmen?
• What is the average high school GPA of incoming freshmen?
What courses do you offer? The size of the academic “menu” isn't, in itself, a
measure of excellence. Does the college teach the courses you are interested in?
• Who are your students? Do they generally fall within a single geographic or
cultural group or are they diverse in their origins and interests?
• What separates your college from other colleges? Maybe it is the set of beliefs the
college holds about itself and its mission, or some special program for which it has
won recognition (there should be something).
• Do full professors teach freshmen at your college? At some institutions, the
"name" professors assign the teaching of freshmen to graduate students and assistants. What kind of special attention do you give your students? (i.e. tutor, LD assistance, mentor, etc.) What happens after you enroll and begin classes? Does anybody ask you, periodically, how are you getting along? Is there a sympathetic someone you can talk to when you need help?
• Will you help me choose a major and career? More than half of the students who enter colleges don't know what major or career they want to pursue. After they've decided, many change their minds. The help of competent counselors is important. What is your job placement record? Most colleges try to help their students find employment. The college you are visiting should be able to give you some figures
on how well they have done.
• What extracurricular activities do you offer? Some schools emphasize sports,
some music, and some other activities. See if these activities match your interests. What rules and regulations do you have? Every college has some restrictions on something: dress, visiting hours in dorms, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, dancing, cars, etc. Find out in advance what they are. How tough are you to get into? Some colleges demand high SAT or ACT scores. Others attach more importance to your grades and how high you rank in your graduating class. Some favor students with strong extra-curricular achievements. Find out where you stand.
About My House?
• In which dorms do freshmen live?
• Are freshmen housed in separate dorms from upper class students?
• How many students were forced to start last year in overcrowded rooms? (i.e. 3
people in a 2 person room) How many bed spaces do you have available per year and how many housing students did you accept last year? What is allowable in your room? (i.e. nails in wall, paint, refrigerators,
microwaves, rearrange furniture)
• What is the visitation policy for the opposite sex?
• Is there a curfew and what is the penalty for violations?
• Describe after-hours security and how it works.
• Roommate match-up policy and procedures, (i.e. smoking/nonsmoking, night or
day person, culture and ethnic mix)
• Where is the location of dining and recreation facilities in relation to residence?
• What environmental control do you have? (i.e. thermostat in each room, air
• Is there linen service and/or maid service? How much does the washing machine
and the dryer cost to run? Are there single rooms available?
About the Money?
• How much have you increased costs in the last four years?
• What percent of freshmen receive aid and what is the average amount of aid?
• What percent of freshmen work?
• When is the deadline to apply for financial aid?
• Does the college have a load fund and/or assist in securing loans?
Get the complete costs for the first year; make sure they include: tuition, board, room activity fee/general fee, security deposit, student I.D. fee, health services fee, key deposit, dorm social and activity fees, books, lab fees, drop/add class fees, parking fees.