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Before you start touring, deciding which questions to ask colleges on everything from academics to student life is a must. The school you choose can help shape your future, so when planning for college, you should consider every aspect of the student experience.
Immerse yourself in the visit, so you can decide if the school is a good fit. The more college questions you ask during your tour, the more equipped you’ll be to make the right choice.
Below are 85 great questions to ask on a college tour, so don’t be afraid to speak up and seek out answers to help you make your best decision.
Of course, you don’t have to get answers to all of these queries, but the list is worth a look to consider which ones you want to ask. We’ve divided it into the following categories:
- Academic support
- Campus life
- Financial aid
- Student life
- Current students
- Plus: Final thoughts on picking a college
1. How career-focused are academic programs?
2. What are the school’s top programs or departments?
3. Are most classes taught by professors or teaching assistants?
4. Do students typically get most of their first-choice classes?
5. What is the average class size?
6. Does the school offer study abroad programs?
7. Are classes more lectured-based or discussion-based?
8. What, if any, courses are required for freshmen?
9. Are professors required to hold office hours?
10. Is it easy to change your major?
11. Is free tutoring available to students? If so, who are the tutors and how are they selected?
12. How are academic advisors assigned? Can students switch advisors if needed?
13. How involved are academic advisors?
14. Is there a writing center to help with essays, term papers and other writing projects?
15. How do students track their grades?
16. Are any services offered to help freshmen with the transition to college academia?
17. Does the school have many dedicated quiet spaces for studying?
18. What types of services are available to students with learning disabilities?
19. Are there computer labs? If so, how many and what are their hours?
20. Does the school offer IT assistance?
21. Are freshmen required to live on campus?
22. What percentage of students live on campus?
23. What are the dorms like?
24. Is it easy to change roommates if needed?
25. Do residence halls have secured entry?
26. Are dorms all grouped together or spread out across campus?
27. What kind of food is served in the dining halls?
28. Does the dining hall cater to dietary restrictions?
29. What services are provided by the campus health center?
30. How does the college ensure students’ safety?
31. What is the campus crime rate?
32. Is it easy to get around campus?
33. Is there any type of shuttle service offered at night?
34. Does the school have a career center that helps students with career planning, internships and job placement?
35. How does the career center engage students?
36. What services does the career center offer?
37. Do companies recruit on campus?
38. How does the school support students without a defined career path?
39. Are students able to earn college credits for internships?
40. Is a mentoring program offered?
41. What’s the job placement rate for last year’s graduating class?
42. How long does it typically take new graduates to find a job in their field?
43. How easy is it to find part-time and summer jobs on campus?
44. What types of financial aid are offered?
45. How much financial aid does the average student receive?
46. Is it possible to renegotiate an offer if it’s not as high as expected?
47. How much do students typically owe upon graduation?
48. What is the true cost to attend (including student fees, room and board, books, etc.)?
49. What is the deadline for financial aid applications?
50. When do students receive financial aid offers?
51. Is the school willing to match another college or university’s financial aid offer?
52. What kinds of work-study opportunities are available? Are they easy to secure?
53. How much have tuition and other expenses increased over the past three years?
54. What are some of the most popular extracurricular activities?
55. What percentage of students participate in Greek life?
56. How ethnically diverse is the campus?
57. What are some of the school’s biggest annual events?
58. How popular are campus sporting events among students?
59. What types of intramural sports teams and fitness classes are offered?
60. Is there a lot of school spirit?
61. What type of culture does the surrounding community offer (e.g. theaters, festivals, poetry readings)?
62. Are there any school traditions?
63. Do students have a voice at the school?
64. Do most students work — part-time or full-time — while taking classes?
65. What percentage of students are commuters?
66. What’s it like to be a first-year student here?
67. What do you do when you’re not in class?
68. Do you feel like you need a car to get around?
69. What’s a typical weekday like for you?
70. Do you like the food in the dining hall?
71. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about the school?
72. How challenging do you find your classes?
73. Do most students stay on campus for the weekend or go home?
74. What do students do for fun?
75. What’s your favorite spot on campus?
76. Are career services benefits available to alumni?
77. Is there a supportive alumni network?
78. Who are some of the school’s most notable alumni?
79. What percentage of alumni are employed in their field?
80. Does the alumni association offer discounted memberships and programs for new grads?
81. What type of annual events are held by the alumni association?
82. How do alumni stay connected?
83. What types of continuing education programs are offered?
84. Is there an easy way for students to connect with alumni in their field?
85. Beyond monetary donations, what opportunities are available for alumni to give back?
Once you’ve answered whichever questions above seem relevant to your personal situation, you may want to compare the school to others you’re considering. A big piece of this is the financial aid available — you can compare your various school offer letters with this tool. You can also try a cost-benefit analysis.
Still, at the end of the day, your decision may factor in other considerations beyond money, such as the school environment or any special programs offered. Hopefully, the questions above will help inform this very important life choice.
Kat Tretina contributed to this report.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2021!
|1.04% – 11.98%1||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|1.13% – 11.23%*,2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|3.80% – 9.36%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|1.05% – 11.44%4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|1.22% – 11.66%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|2.76% – 7.14%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|1.24% – 11.99%7||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers. |
1 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
Information advertised valid as of 4/22/2021. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Lowest advertised rates require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.
2 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. If you choose to complete an application, we will conduct a hard credit pull, which may affect your credit score. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.15% effective Jan 1, 2021 and may increase after consummation.
4 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.23% to 11.26% annual percentage rate (“APR”) (with autopay), variable rates from 1.22% to 11.66% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 11.37% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.12% to 11.73% APR (with autopay). MBA AND LAW SCHOOL LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.30% to 11.52% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.29% to 11.89% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.60% to 10.76% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.22% to 11.16% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin and your APR may increase after origination if the LIBOR increases. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Lowest rates are reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. If approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, the repayment option you select, the term and amount of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Information current as of 4/1/2021. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. SoFi Lending Corp., licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org).
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 2.76% – 7.14% (2.76% – 7.14% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 3.01% – 7.50% (3.01% – 7.50% APR).
Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 2.19% – 6.73% (2.19% – 6.73% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 2.89% – 7.09% (2.89%-7.09% APR).
Business/Law Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.36% – 9.54% (1.36% – 8.82% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.13% – 9.84% (4.13% – 9.12% APR).
Medical/Dental Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.36% – 8.34% (1.36% – 8.04% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.03% – 8.64% (4.03% – 8.34% APR).
Parent Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 2.10% – 7.41% (2.10%-7.41% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.69% – 7.83% (4.69% – 7.83% APR).
Bar Study Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 4.45% – 9.60% (4.45% – 9.53% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 7.39% – 12.94% (7.38% – 12.81% APR).
Medical Residency Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.55% – 7.05% (3.55% – 6.77% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 6.99% – 10.49% (6.97% – 10.07% APR).
Variable Rate Disclosure: Variable Rates are based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of March 1, 2021, the one-month LIBOR rate is 0.11%. Variable interest rates will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. The maximum variable rate is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%.
Fixed Rate Disclosure: Fixed rate ranges are based on applicable terms, level of degree, and presence of a co-signer.
Lowest Rate Disclosure: Lowest rates require a 5-year repayment term, immediate repayment, a graduate degree (where applicable), and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer. Borrowers should carefully review federal benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are considering possible loan forgiveness options, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision on our website including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
Eligibility Criteria: Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer is required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. Citizens Bank private student loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/Promissory Note, verification of application information, and if applicable, self-certification form, school certification of the loan amount, and student’s enrollment at a Citizens Bank participating school.
Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7 Important Disclosures for Discover.
Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for undergraduate loans, and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.