Almost a decade ago, I worked as an Admissions Officer. I had a ball! Since then, I’ve had a small place in my heart for continuing to help people get the help they need to navigate the college admissions process. A lot of times families don’t even know what questions to answer to start the entire process. Below are some questions that you should be asking the college and its representatives as you make decisions for where your child should attend school.
Indeed, this is the time that Juniors should be asking these questions as they start ramping up their on-site college visits. If you’re the parent of a senior asking these questions, you’re a little behind on time. But…its not too late. Let’s get moving! You can email me if you have any other questions or need help with anything.
Most people ask questions like deadlines for admissions, range of scores, campus facilities, what kind of work do graduates get, what kinds of students are you looking for, but here are some other very relevant questions.
1. If you were describing the culture of this campus/school to your mother, what would you say?
2. Who typically teaches freshmen and sophomore classes? Faculty or TAs?
3. What major changes have taken place on campus in the last 5 years? (That directly affect me…)
4. What major changes will be taking place on campus in the next 5 years? (That directly affect me…)
5. What are the unique requirements to graduation here (other than classes)? (i.e.-swim class, electives, senior seminar, etc.)
6. What are the biggest frustrations of the students here?
7. As a staff member, what do you wish that your campus had that it currently does not?
8. What are aspects of this schools reputation that doesn’t sound good, but is true?
9. Is each student assigned an adviser or is there a general advisement center on campus? Or both?
10. What are the emergency systems in place for crises, emergencies, etc.?
11. What services are offered to students needing help or tutoring?
12. What specific help, in a down economy, do your seniors receive to get placed in jobs? What are the unemployment rates of your graduating classes? What intentional measures are in place to help secure internships, etc.
13. Who are some of the key ‘trailblazers’, ‘influencers’ that my student can go to when they are in trouble? (The real deal folks that everyone eventually meets or learns about…)
14. What sort of student would not be happy here?
15. What is the college’s retention rate? (How many freshmen return for their sophomore year?)
16. How many students live off campus?
17. What are the unspoken parking rules on campus?
18. What issues, if any, does your financial aid office have?
19. What are some things that are true about your campus that you hope potential students don’t find out about?
20. What is the likelihood of my student getting a part-time paid job on campus?
21. Do most people stay on campus for the weekends or go home/travel? What is life like on campus on the weekends? What about the holidays?
22. (As this of a current student) If you had to make the choice all over again to come to this school, would you?
23. How adequate are the computer systems, servers, wifi, etc.?
24. How do you calculate the GPA on the transcript for admissions decisions? (weighted, unweighted, not considering some classes, etc.)
25. What additional “points” can I earn for admissions decisions (i.e.-legacy, band, unique experiences, etc.)
26. Is residence housing guaranteed?
27. How are roommates assigned?
28. Have there been complaints about customer service in some of the major student-oriented offices (registrar, financial aid, advising, registration, etc.)?
29. Are there payment plans available for fees and assessments?
30. Who takes care of students that are sick?
31. Are there any departments that could potentially close in the next few years while I’m on campus?
32. What are the main reasons students leave here without graduating?
33. What are the most popular majors on campus?
34. What is the most frequently reported on-campus crime?
35. Have there been any serious incidents of on-campus crime in recent years?
36. Is it difficult to get meetings with your professors?
37. What are the common frustrations of the faculty and staff here?
Enjoy the process!