The college you attend molds you into the person you become the rest of your life. Through classroom experiences, group studies, community outings, and formed relationships, the school helps develop you into well-rounded individual.
For this reason, it’s important that you choose an institution that not only aligns with your needs and values but also provides you with the necessary tools for personal and professional growth.
A campus visit is the perfect time to educate yourself on these matters. To help, we have created a list of 19 questions to ask when visiting a college campus. Scroll below for the complete list of questions, or click a category to jump to that section.
What do the professors in your areas of interest specialize in?
The majority of professors specialize in certain topics while pursuing a Ph.D. Your World Literature professor may be well-versed in 19th-century British literature but have little to say about modern American fiction or Chinese poetry.
You should look for a program featuring professors of diverse, engaging interests. By doing so, you learn a variety of specialties while discovering your own passions in courses that stand out to you.
How does the college support students academically?
Are there tutors on campus? How about study programs? Even if schoolwork has come naturally for you, college requires more thorough study habits and techniques. The college’s willingness to support students with educational programs and assistance may reflect its true investment in your success.
What is the average class size at the college?
Some students prefer the anonymity of large classrooms filled with students. Others desire small class sizes that encourage strong mentor-student bonds. Whichever your preference, you must recognize the effect that class size can have on your classroom experience.
Think about what’s best for you and choose accordingly. Sizes could vary between introductory and advanced classes, so you should ask about that, too.
What study abroad opportunities does the college offer?
If you are interested in experiencing different cultures, cities, and countries, you should consider attending a school with a strong study abroad program. Some colleges offer stipends, tuition exchange, and a study abroad advisor to ease the international process.
How does the college encourage learning outside of the classroom?
Many colleges offer active academic clubs, honor societies, and residential learning communities that provide students with meaningful educational experiences. Learning outside the classroom – through study groups, clubs, societies, and tutor sessions – is imperative to collegiate success. Ensure that your college of choice provides opportunities for the outside educational experiences that match your desires.
How active is the campus on weekends?
College campuses across the country vary greatly in terms of activity during the weekends. Campuses located in the middle of metropolitan areas embrace the buzz on and around their campus during weekends. Larger universities attract massive crowds for athletic events. Other campuses are relatively calm on weekends, leaving open space for students to gather and enjoy campus without too many visitors.
What opportunities does the college provide for students to socialize and relax on campus?
In the midst of hectic schedules, stiff deadlines, evening jobs and part-time internships, students require some relaxation. Colleges offer numerous opportunities to unwind from a long day and socialize with other students.
Ask what events and opportunities the college provides. Do they have evening movie nights at the library? Host student dinners and discussions? Some places on campus are natural resting spots, so ask about those as well.
What are the fraternity or sorority chapters like?
Fraternity and sorority chapters vary greatly depending on which college you attend. For larger schools, Greek life may be incredibly popular and dominate much of your free time. For smaller schools, Greek life may not consume as much of your time.
Your tour guide or admissions counselor knows the strengths and drawbacks of Greek life at his or her school. Ask about them.
What events has the college recently hosted for students?
Colleges host prominent speakers, hold movie screenings, provide student-faculty meals, and more. Proximity and relationships play important factors in attracting guests and hosting events. See what events the school you are visiting has held recently to get a better understanding of which schools value the overall campus experience of their students.
What do students like to do on campus?
This depends on what is on and around campus and what each student prefers. Some students long to explore the outdoors, going biking, hiking, backpacking, and more. That hope matches some schools, but not all.
In contrast, other students enjoy the big-city nightlife. They want to dress up, discover the town’s best restaurants, and surround themselves with the concrete jungle.
What kinds of dorms are on campus?
Residence halls typically fall into one of these categories: community, suite, and apartment. Each college offers variations of one or more of these options.
*NOTE: each college has variations of these and may not perfectly match the descriptions
Do they have kitchens?
Residence halls may have kitchens, but it typically depends on the type of residence hall you call home. With apartment-style housing, the kitchen be in your own apartment. With community-style and suite-style apartments, the placement of kitchen varies by school.
Ask your tour guide or contact to explain which options you have entering freshman year.
You must get the answer to this important safety standard. Campuses across the country are addressing safety concerns to ensure that students are comfortable and protected on campus. Lit walkways create a safer environment.
Whether you are walking to or from the library, the store, a friend’s dorm, or a party, you need to feel safe at night. The easiest way to assure safety for students is with lit walkways.
Is there a number to call in case you feel uncomfortable on campus?
School police and local police departments should provide a number to dial if you feel unsafe on campus. Whether you need to walk home in the dark or are uneasy about the crowd near you, the school or local police department should provide a security service that protects you and keeps you safe.
This is something you certainly need to ask on a visit. If you don’t feel safe, you should not attend.
What does the college do to ensure I feel safe on campus?
The college should prioritize student safety. As a student of the institution, it is the school’s responsibility to establish safety procedures and programs that provide comfort to students. Your school should not diminish the value of precautions.
Check the school’s website to learn more about its safety initiatives and resources, then ask about them on your visit. No student should feel unsafe.
Who do I ask if I have questions about my safety on campus?
You can contact a variety of school representatives while doing your own research. Schools should have a dedicated webpage to its safety procedures and security measures. You certainly need to read through that. You can also ask any admissions counselor about the topic.
Once you arrive on campus for your visit, ask your tour guide. Of course, they may hide some details, but it won’t hurt to ask.
To get a true sense of safety in and around campus, grab a student newspaper or local news publication. Read through that to understand the latest happenings on campus. Most publications have a crime section, so you should glance over that as well.
Which businesses around town have partnerships with the college?
These partnerships and relationships between local businesses and the college can become incredibly beneficial. Often, local businesses give student discounts.For restaurants, this may lead to a 10 percent discount. For stores, you may get a nice deal.
Beyond that, some local businesses establish internship programs with the college’s specific schools. Do some research online and ask your counselor about those opportunities. A local partnership may be the reason you find your career passion.
Where do students go to have fun on weekends and weeknights?
Shopping centers, malls, recreational areas, theaters, entertainment facilities.
Each college has unique surroundings. When you go on your visit, be sure to not only explore campus, but also explore the town. See what it has to offer. If you notice there is plenty of greenspace, you could conclude that recreational areas may be popular for students. If a shopping center is near campus, that’s a good indicator of a student hangout.
Of course, ask your tour guide. He or she has answers that may surprise you.
Where is the best place to eat nearby?
This question depends on the campus. Your popular fast food chains sit just off campus or within a short drive of campus at the majority of schools. Some local eateries pride themselves on serving the local students. You can always search the internet for suggestions.
If you are unfamiliar with the community, ask your tour guide about places to eat. He or she is happy to explain the best spots in town. Try one out, too! That helps you get a good feel for the people in the town.
After thinking through these 19 questions, we hope you have a better idea of what questions to ask and even formed some of your own questions. College visits allow you to understand the school's culture, its student life, its academic focus, and its value on student development.
If you want to schedule a campus visit, let's do it! Simply visit the page below, and we'll see you soon on our beautiful Lyon College campus!
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Lyon is more than just a college. It's a community distinguished by its academic curriculum, unique honor and social systems, and award-winning professors.