With the long weekend upon us and a need for a change in scenery after 30+ inches of snow last week, I decided to visit some colleges. On Friday, I drove up to the Boston area and spent the day at two excellent business schools: Bentley and Babson.
While the tour guides at each school did a great job sharing information and talking about their classes and overall experience, I was really surprised that the students and families visiting had very few, if any, questions to ask. And it wasn’t for lack of opportunity either. The tour guides at both schools repeatedly invited questions but, for the most part, were met with silence.
So, I thought I would use today’s post to give you some inspiration for things you want to know more about when you are visiting a college campus:
1. Can a student in (insert your major here) graduate in four years but still complete internships and/or study abroad?
If a four year program becomes a five year program due to experiential opportunities being added in, you need to decide if the additional cost and time are worth it.
2. What’s it like to study (insert your major here) at this college?
This is a variation of the “Do you have my major?” question, but it is likely to yield a more informative answer since it asks the tour guide or admissions counselor to qualify what your four years will feel like.
3. What is the percentage of courses that close early or require signing up for a waiting list?
You want to know how the college departments handle this issue and if it prevents students from graduating on time.
4. What is the percentage of students who find work in their academic area within six months of graduating?
Four to five years of college should lead to something productive afterwards – knowing how many students in your field are finding something relevant and how quickly is worth knowing.
5. What kinds of career-related services does the school provide?
Some schools have departments specifically dedicated to career-related services that start working with students as early as freshman year. At others, the services may be minimal and not well publicized. How much career-related support the school offers matters.
6. As far as experiential learning goes, how early can students start doing internships and/or co-ops?
While a college education is earned through time in the classroom, success after college is mostly earned through experience and the mastery of skills and abilities. In today’s economy, completing one internship is an absolute must. Completing several is even better. To do that, you have to start early. Will the college support that?
7. How is the college trying to improve itself?
Seeing active construction or a new building obviously speaks to the physical upgrading and expansion of a campus. However, improvement is not always a physical thing. How is the university or college working to improve the quality of its teaching and its services?
8. What types of support services are offered for academics?
What is the support system on campus? Who are the advisors and what is the advising structure? Counseling? Is there a peer mentoring program or even a faculty/staff mentoring program? Is there a freshman year experience program and, if so, how is it run?
At the end of the day, tour guides are going to share with you what the colleges want them to share. Do yourself a favor by asking questions that get beyond the basics. Ask questions that affect you personally and that will help you qualify whether or not this school is the right one for you.
These are only suggestions to help you get thinking about what’s important to you, but if you have any questions you like to ask, use the comment box below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you think this makes a lot of sense, consider sharing it with someone you know.
Learn More at Dobler College Consulting’s College Admissions Workshop
I will be hosting a free workshop titled, “Navigating The College Admissions Journey” on February 26th at the Huntington Branch Library in Shelton, CT. For more information or to reserve your seat, head over to my Events page.
The workshop shares strategies to help your son or daughter navigate the college admissions process while eliminating mistakes that tend to reduce their chances of admission. Topics include college lists, online resources, essays, interviews, campus visits and what you need to know about making college more affordable.
All workshop participants will receive information handouts and will be eligible for special discounts off private college counseling services.
Don’t live in or near Shelton? You can easily get in touch with me to set up a free 60-minute consultation to help address your pressing college admissions-related questions and issues.