College Visit Checklist: Questions to Ask When Visiting Colleges

Find out what you should do and what questions to ask during a college visit.

College Visit Checklist: Questions to Ask When Visiting Colleges
Kenjy Cruz

Choosing a college can be a daunting task, as there are numerous factors to consider. One way to get a better sense of a college is by visiting the campus. A college visit can provide valuable insights into the campus culture, academic programs, student life, and more. 

BrokeScholar here is going to focus on what a prospective college student should do during a college visit, including important questions to ask. Read on to find out some things prospective students should do and ask during a visit to a college.

Table of Contents

1. Attend an Information Session and Take a Campus Tour

Most colleges offer information sessions and campus tours for prospective students. These sessions are designed to give an overview of the college and its academic programs, as well as an opportunity to ask questions. Attending an information session and taking a campus tour is a great way to get a sense of the campus culture and community.

During the information session, you may learn about the college's mission, history, academic programs, and admission requirements. Be sure to ask questions about anything that is unclear or that you want to know more about.

During the campus tour, you will likely see the academic buildings, dormitories, dining halls, athletic facilities, and other campus resources. Pay attention to the size of the campus, the quality of the facilities, and the overall atmosphere of the campus. Take note of what you like and dislike about the campus and its amenities.

2. Meet With an Admissions Counselor

Meeting with an admissions counselor is an opportunity to ask specific questions about the admission process and requirements. Admissions counselors can provide information about the college's application deadlines, required documents, and admission criteria. They can also offer guidance on how to strengthen your application and increase your chances of admission.

Be sure to ask questions about the college's academic programs, financial aid options, and student life. You can also ask about the college's extracurricular activities, internship opportunities, and study abroad programs.

3. Attend a Class or Sit in on a Lecture

Attending a class or sitting in on a lecture can provide a firsthand experience of what it's like to be a student at the college. This can be especially helpful if you are considering a specific major or academic program. Sitting in on a class can give you a sense of the teaching style, course content, and class size.

Before attending a class, be sure to get permission from the professor or department. You should also prepare by reading the syllabus and any assigned readings ahead of time.

4. Talk to Current Students

Talking to current students can provide valuable insights into the campus culture and student experience. You can ask about their favorite classes, professors, and extracurricular activities. You can also ask about their experiences with dorm life, campus safety, and student support services.

You can talk to current students during the campus tour or information session, or you can reach out to student organizations or clubs to set up a meeting.

5. Explore the Surrounding Area

The surrounding area can also play a role in your decision to attend a college. Take some time to explore the neighborhoods surrounding the campus, including local restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions. Consider factors such as safety, transportation, and cost of living when evaluating the surrounding area.

6. Questions to Ask During a College Visit

The questions you should ask when visiting a college should have a clear purpose behind them. For instance, questions about campus safety and transportation are essential to finding out about the environment of campus life. What’s more, questions about graduation rates and the student-to-teacher ratio can help you get a clearer picture of the rigor of the education system and commitment of the staff to ensuring their students perform. Here are some questions you may want to ask during your college visit:

  • What is the average class size?

  • What is the student-to-faculty ratio?

  • What resources are available for academic support, such as tutoring or writing centers?

  • What are the opportunities for research, internships, and study abroad programs?

  • What types of extracurricular activities are available, such as clubs, sports teams, and student organizations?

  • What is the campus culture like?

  • What is the cost of attendance, and what financial aid options are available?

  • What is the retention rate and graduation rate for students?

  • What is the campus diversity and inclusion policy, and what resources are available for students from diverse backgrounds?

  • What is the career placement rate for graduates, and what career services are available for students?

  • What is the campus safety record, and what measures are in place to ensure student safety?

  • What is the campus housing like, and what options are available for students?

  • How easy is it to get around campus, and what transportation options are available?

  • What is the surrounding area like, and what resources are available in the local community?

  • What are the unique features and strengths of this college that set it apart from other colleges?

7. Tips for Making the Most of Your College Visit

Visiting a college you’re interested in shouldn’t just be a sightseeing tour. You’ll want to make sure you get the most out of your visit, especially if the college(s) are not close to your home residence. Here are some tips for making the most of your college visit:

  • Plan ahead: Research the college ahead of time and make a list of questions you want to ask. Make sure to schedule a tour and information session in advance.

  • Take notes: Take notes during your visit to help you remember important details and compare different colleges later.

  • Be open-minded: Keep an open mind during your visit, and don't be afraid to ask questions or express your interests and concerns.

  • Talk to current students: Take advantage of the opportunity to talk to current students, as they can provide valuable insights into the college experience.

  • Explore the surrounding area: Take some time to explore the surrounding area to get a sense of what it's like to live in the local community.

  • Follow up: After your visit, follow up with any additional questions or concerns you may have. You can also send a thank-you note to the admissions counselor or other staff members you met with.

The Bottom Line on College Visits and Questions to Ask

A college visit can provide valuable insights into a college's culture, academic programs, student life, and more. By attending an information session, taking a campus tour, meeting with an admissions counselor, attending a class, talking to current students, and exploring the surrounding area, prospective students can get a better sense of whether a college is a good fit for them. By asking the right questions and being prepared, prospective students can make the most of their college visits and make informed decisions about where to apply and attend college.

Andrew DePietro

Author: Andrew DePietro

Senior Researcher, and Content Strategist

Andrew DePietro is a finance writer covering topics such as entrepreneurship, investing, real estate and college for BrokeScholar, Forbes, CreditKarma, and more.