Insightful Questions to Ask College Admissions Counselors

Insightful Questions to Ask College Admissions Counselors

In a previous post, we gave advice on “gut check” questions students should ask themselves as they tour colleges.

Here’s more advice on good questions you can ask college admissions counselors, as well as questions for your tour guide or any other students you meet on campus.

Don’t be shy!

This is your chance to get as much information as possible.

Many times, you’ll ask the question that others are thinking but may be too shy to ask.

Also, admissions people LOVE it when students and families are engaged in their presentations and ask questions. Trust me on this one.

 

What Questions Should Students Ask an Admissions Officer? 

  • How easy is it to double major?
  • What percentage of students graduates in 4 years?  What percentage of double majors graduates in 4 years?
  • Do students apply to the school, or to a particular major?
  • When do students need to declare a major?
  • Do you require an audition as part of the admissions process if you want to be a theater or music major?
  • Can supporting documents be sent to the admissions office if an applicant wishes to highlight a particular artistic talent such as theater, music, dance or another art form? Are these documents used in the application review?
  • Do all majors have the chance to have internships and are they a common part of the educational experience?  
  • Is there support to help students find an internship?
  • When do students typically start using the career center? 
  • Can you tell me about the services the career center offers?
  • Do students study abroad?  Does your college or university have a study abroad program
  • Can students study abroad on another school’s program?
  • How easy is it to fit a study abroad program in and still graduate in 4 years?
  • How accessible are professors?  What are some examples of professor/student interactions outside of the classroom?
  • How large are the largest classes? How small are the smallest classes?  What is the average class size?
  • What are some examples of clubs and activities available to students?
  • Do students attend sporting events, theater events, and social events on campus?
  • Are there academic support services on campus such as tutoring and writing centers?

 

More Questions? How to Email an Admissions Officer?

Email an admissions officer when you have a legitimate question that you can’t find the answer to on the college website.

If your student is asking a genuine and interesting question, their email can also serve as a form of demonstrated interest for the college, which is an increasingly important factor in college admissions decisions.

When your student writes their letter they should:

  • Write in their own voice but don’t be too casual. This isn’t the time for your student to use texting shortcuts. Your student wants to come across as polished and polite, even in written form.
  • Keep the content of the email specific to the school. Students shouldn’t use it as a way to promote their academics or extracurricular activities. 
  • Don’t ask questions that can easily be answered on the college website.  Instead, ask questions that will actually give you a greater understanding of whether or not a given school is the right fit for you. 
  • Don’t be a pest and bother the admissions officer with too many unnecessary emails and questions. 
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread. Sending an email with typos and grammatical errors could leave a poor impression on the admissions officer receiving the email. 

 

Keep Track of Who You Meet on College Visits

After each information session, get the business card of the college admissions counselor who gave your information session as well as the name and contact information of the admissions representative who will work with your application so that you can be in touch with them.

Also get the name and contact person in the department of your intended major if you know what you want to study so that you can ask questions during the application process.

Questions to Ask Your College Tour Guide or Current Students

Questions to ask your tour guide or students you meet on college campuses. 

  • What are you studying?
  • Can you tell me some ways that your professors have made the classroom experience exciting? Examples include guest lecturers, field trips, hands-on learning.
  • Have you had an internship? Do you plan on having one or more? Are they easy to get?
  • Do you interact with your professors?
  • What is the social life like on campus?
  • What do students usually do on weekends?
  • How would you describe the student body?
  • What are the Residence Halls like?
  • Can students live on campus for 4 years? Can they live off campus?
  • Can students have cars on campus?
  • How is the food?
  • Why did you choose this school?
  • Are you happy here?

You may find that you like to ask just one or two of these questions at each school or you may want to ask all of them. It’s up to you.

Finally, after you visit each school, take 2 minutes to write down three things you liked and three things you didn’t like (or liked less) about each school.

Also, make a note of one or two buildings that really stood out on each campus and why.

For example, St. Lawrence University has a really cool, brightly colored library with tiny cubicles and bean bags that the students can use to study. I still remember this from my tour 25 years ago!

If you mark down a distinguishing characteristic for each school it will help you remember the schools better.

I hope your college visits go well. Keep in mind that this is your journey. Enjoy it and learn from it!

If you’re doing college tours with your child, check out Making The Most Of  Your College Visit for more advice.

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Anna Seltz

Anna Seltz

Anna Seltz is the owner of Higher Ed U, College Admissions Consulting. Prior to opening her own consulting business, Anna spent 13 years working in Admissions for American University in Washington, DC and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. She can be reached at [email protected] Check out Higher Ed U’s facebook page too.
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