Asking the Right Questions on College Tours

College students relish the chance to talk about their school and to share their experiences so tapping into that enthusiasm is essential to campus visits.  Asking atypical questions on college tours prompts guides to be more forthright and candid thus giving prospective students a much better sense of the true vibe on a campus. And of course, speaking to other students, not only the tour guide, can really enhance the visit. The more tidbits you learn, the better. So, what are some the ‘out of the box’ questions to ask on campus visits?

1) What was the moment in your freshman year when you knew you had made the right choice going to Name University?

Answers to this will run the gamut, but any response will reveal one more detail about the college that you won’t read on the website.

2) What has been your best academic experience thus far? What has been your worst?

This will tell you a bit more about the learning atmosphere especially if the response addresses workload, access to professors, opportunities for study groups or class sizes.

3) What was the most meaningful student organization or extra-curricular activity/experience you had, and why?

Similarly, this will reveal the impact that student life outside of class has on students. Pay particular attention to the sense of community or camaraderie the tour guide expresses.

4) Tell me something truly unique about what Name College has offered you that another college may not offer.

5) Thinking back on your time here, who are the people who stand out most in your mind.

As people are the most important part of any school experience, the professors, coaches, leaders and friends the student includes in the response shows how much each is valued.

6) What are one, or two, things about this school that has surprised you the most?

Most students will automatically think of the positive so the features that the guide points out are his/her genuine impressions of what has been important to the campus experience or what makes this college special.

Last, but not least, taking good notes on college trips is not only the best way to organize impressions and key points, but these details will become the foundation of application essays down the road. With the growing emphasis that admissions offices are placing on “demonstrated interest,” the more personally the applicant can write about his/her feelings for a college, the more convincing that application becomes.

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