GenHERation, an organization dedicated to empowering young females, asked me for my top 5 questions for any college tour. Here they are:
I was reading that your college has alumni living around the world. Can you share a personal example of how alumni at the school have impacted you? The presence of alumni you can lean on will be extremely valuable to you both while you’re in college and afterward. If the student tour guide cannot answer this question, this may be a red flag about this college’s alumni network or the happiness of its student body.
I’m interested in xyz major. What kind of jobs do alumni in this major typically take right after graduation? If you’re uncertain about your career goals, you want to take up a major that will give you access to a variety of career options; not just in one kind of field or one kind of role. Colleges will have a career services office that keeps data on alumni career placement. Make sure you take a look at this data. If the college isn’t tracking it, that could be a red flag.
What tends to happen on campus over the weekend? Do people stick around or do they tend to leave? If the campus is located in a rural or suburban environment, the availability of school-sponsored weekend activities is critically important. A robust campus life will include a choice of activities like dance shows, fireside chats with professors, and on-campus festivals. If all most people simply leave campus, you may want to reconsider your options (depending on your weekend plan preferences).
How do students get help if they struggle in an academic subject? Is there on-campus tutoring available, and is it free? What is the process for getting a tutor? Most college students struggle academically in at least one subject, even if they were high school academic all-stars. At many colleges, however, there is low availability for free tutoring. Find out about your eligibility to get a tutor, if you needed one, and how far in advance you need book tutoring (you don’t want to wait until finals, which can be too late to rectify an academic issue).
What are the living arrangements for students for freshman year and after freshman year? If you’re planning to live far away from home, you want to make sure you’re comfortable. While you can’t expect luxury (although some campuses are known for having beautiful dorms), you want to make sure you can at least tolerate the living conditions for the first year. For example, does it matter to you that bathrooms are single-sex or co-ed?
Are students in singles, doubles or triples? It’s also helpful to find out about the typical cost and frequency of students living in off-campus housing to get an idea of campus life after freshman year.