College Visits: The Questions You Need to be Asking

 by Emily Elizabeth Smith, Great Lakes student

When you're visiting new college campuses, one of the main things to remember is to slow down and ask questions!

As an incoming freshman touring various colleges, you will be presented with opportunities to visit with students, admission staff, and professors. To best utilize this time to your advantage, it is vital to come prepared with your questions.

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Why are college visits important?

It is important to be aware of the multi-faceted college admissions process. It can be very time consuming with the seemingly never-ending tasks such as building a college list, preparing for standardized tests, writing application essays, etc.

Among these tasks, college visits need to be a high priority. Incoming freshman may not understand the importance of the unique and exciting experience that campus tours offer during the college search. College visits are more than a check on your gut instinct of a school. They provide invaluable opportunities to explore your prospective college campuses before making the commitment.

  • Ask questions about topics that are most important to you—no question isn’t worth asking!

  • Try to ask the same questions at each school you visit to use as points of reference and comparison between the colleges you visit.

  • Spend some time interacting with your tour guide—they are there for you! It is important to get a first-hand student perspective on things.

It is simply not enough to research colleges online

Being able to immerse yourself in each college’s atmosphere in person allows for a more in-depth experience. This will help you decide which college works best for you as you begin your undergraduate journey. Visiting multiple colleges allows you to gain new perspectives on the kind of environments best suited to your individual needs.

Do not rush through your visits; take the time to really imagine yourself living and studying there! You are able to gain a more accurate sense of the student life, academics, housing experience, and much more. Make a list of questions prior to your visit. This will take the stress off of trying to remember each and every question you might have. Being prepared also reflects positively on your character as colleges consider you for admission. In this article, you will find some questions that are important to ask in the process of discovering which college will be right for you!

Questions for admissions

  • What leads students to choose this college?

  • Desired applicant qualities/traits/experiences

  • Other details about the application evaluation process

  • Role of ACT/SAT scores

  • Graduation rates

  • Career placements or grad school acceptances for graduates

  • Alumni networks

  • What makes the college special?

  • Admission standards for certain majors

  • Transfer credits

  • Job placement percentages

  • Percentage of students going to graduate/professional schools

Academics

Financial aid

  • What percentage of a student’s financial need does the school typically meet?

  • Offered scholarships/grants

  • Average financial aid package

  • Loans vs. grants breakdown

  • Merit scholarship requirements

  • What happens to my financial aid package if I take longer than four years to graduate? 

  • Average amount of loan debt

  • Work-study opportunities

  • Athletic/music scholarships

  • Completing the FAFSA

  • Cost of attendance

Track for on-time graduation

  • Graduation rates for double/triple majors

  • Reasons why students don’t graduate on time

  • Retention rates

  • Requirements for graduating in four years

Academic support services

  • Getting help from professors

  • Tutoring options

  • Writing centers

  • Study groups

  • Computer labs

  • Learning disability services

Mental/emotional support services

  • Accessibility of health services

  • Freshman orientation programs

  • On-campus counselors

  • Emotional support animals

  • Number of students in support services

Student life

  • Dorm set-up

  • Dorms appealing to special interests (sports, music, etc.)

  • Percentage of students living in dorms

  • Roommate matching process

  • Single dorms

  • Possible roommate conflicts

  • Weekend events

  • Cafeteria hours/meal plans

  • Fraternities and sororities

  • Personal/campus transportation

  • Student diversity

  • On-campus jobs

Research, internship, and study abroad opportunities

  • Opportunities to work on projects/research with professors

  • Available internships

  • Departments known for research contributions

  • Study abroad programs

  • Career services

Extracurricular Activities 

  • Most popular extracurricular activities 

  • Community service clubs

  • Music organizations

  • Athletics

  • Other various clubs of interest

Final Thoughts on College Visits

A key tip in asking your questions is to avoid the ones that can more easily be answered by a quick Google search. Instead, make sure you get in those questions that will help you get a feel for the atmosphere, the students, and life on campus. Also, spend some time doing your homework by looking over the college’s website before your visit. This is your chance to really get to know a college, so take advantage of the opportunity, and don’t be shy!

Discover More about Great Lakes

To learn more about our admissions process, programs we offer or to schedule a tour, please contact us:

Greg Stauffer, VP of Enrollment Management (On Campus)

Phone: (517) 321-0242 ext. 230Request Info from GLCC

Email: gstauffer@glcc.edu

Jon Jakubowski, Director of Online and Adult Classes

Phone: 517-321-0242, ext 249

Email: jjakubowski@glcc.edu

Click here for more info on our online programs.

We can't wait to hear from you! 

Emily Elizabeth Smith is a twenty-one-year-old college student attending Great Lakes Christian College where she is double majoring in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication and Bible Theology. She previously attended Alma College and Lansing Community College but decided to transfer to Great Lakes to immerse herself in an environment where she can mature in her faith and build personal, lifelong relationships with her professors and peers. She is a strong writer winning various awards throughout her schooling career such as the campus-wide poetry contest at Alma College. Emily’s plans after her time at Great Lakes are to use her invaluable skills to serve as a Kingdom representative of God and invest herself in enabling others to do their best, allowing communicative teamwork to move her into the professional workforce.