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32 Questions to Ask on a College Visit

Students should feel free to ask questions during an information session or on tour.

April 30, 2024, at 10:55 a.m.

  • Before a campus visit, students should do basic research on the school.

  • Students and their families have various opportunities to ask questions.

  • No question is dumb.

College visits, whether in person or virtual, can help give prospective students a better feel of campus life.

Contrary to popular belief, however, students don’t need to have that “a-ha” moment when they eventually find the campus where they belong, says Thyra Briggs, vice president for admission and financial aid at Harvey Mudd College in California.

“I just don't think that happens for most students,” she says. “I don't want students to walk away from a visit where that didn't happen thinking, ‘Oh, this is not the place for me.’ This is a long-term relationship. It's not necessarily love at first sight. … In this age of instant gratification, I think it's an important thing to give a school a chance to affect you in a different way.”

For an in-person visit, families should prepare ahead of time by checking the weather and dressing comfortably as tours are mostly held outside.

"Leave plenty of time at an individual campus and allow yourself to enjoy the experience, be present in the moment and (don't) feel rushed because that could also skew your perception of things," says Bryan Gross, vice president for enrollment management at Hartwick College in New York.

It’s also important, experts say, to conduct at least basic research on the institution – even if it’s just looking at their social media accounts – to help facilitate questions to ask during the information session or on tour.

"We know that for some of you, this may be the first time you are going through this," Briggs says. "For others, it's a different student (going through the process) than the student you had who's older. So there’s no bad questions. ... I would hope that any college would welcome any question a student would ask.”

Here are 32 example questions, collected from college admissions and enrollment professions, that students don't always think to ask on college visits. These questions – edited for length or clarity – were provided by Briggs, Gross and Brian Lindeman, assistant vice president of admissions and financial aid at Macalester College in Minnesota.

Questions About Admissions

  • Does this school consider demonstrated interest?

  • Is there an opportunity for prospective students to sit in on a class to experience a real lecture?

  • Are there options to receive a lunch or dinner pass at the dining hall to try the food?

Questions About Academics

  • Where do students typically study?

  • How does advising work?

  • What are the academic strengths of this school?

  • What opportunities are there for study abroad and exchange programs?

  • If available, are these global programs directly run by this school – where faculty members travel with students – or are these study abroad programs outsourced to a third-party company?

  • Are these study abroad experiences built into the tuition or are there additional fees to participate?

Questions About Financial Aid

  • What is this school's average financial aid package?

  • What is the average net cost when students enroll?

  • What is the current level of funding with endowed scholarships – how much are donorscontributing to scholarships?

  • Do you offer merit aid? If so, what are you looking for in a candidate?

Questions About Campus Housing and Community

Questions to Ask Your Tour Guide to Gauge Campus Life

  • What surprised you about this school? What's something you didn't expect?

  • What keeps you coming back to this school each year?

  • Have we seen your favorite place on campus?

  • What event on campus gets the biggest turnout every year?

  • If you were struggling with an issue, would you know who to turn to? Who would that be?

Questions About Work and Research Opportunities

  • What are the opportunities for undergraduate research on campus?

  • How do those research opportunities give students valuable hands-on experiences that enhance their resumes?

  • What are some specific ways this school helps students gain hands-on experience through internships?

Questions About Student and Career Outcomes

  • What is the retention rate from freshman to sophomore year?

  • What is the five-year graduation rate?

  • What is the job-attainment rate of graduates within six months of graduating?

  • What percent of students are going on to graduate school?

  • What percent of students are intentionally taking time off post-graduation compared to those who are not able to find jobs?

  • What size is the alumni network?

  • How are alumni actively engaging with recent graduates to help connect them specifically to opportunities in their fields?


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