High School Juniors Start College Campus Tours Now

In our many years of helping students, we can advise every high school Junior start college campus tours now. Here are the questions we feel every prepared family should ask.

Campus tour guides are current students, work study or admissions personnel.  This means that they are invaluable resources for opinions about the best classes, campus social life, dining hall food and the worst dorms. However, they may not know much about financial aid, specialized learning services or how the administration makes decisions.  Read below for how to get the best answers for Finanical Aid.

Do your research online first

Campus tours an important component of any visit to a prospective college or university. It’s a unique opportunity explore a school’s buildings and grounds and ask questions with someone that spends time there on a regular basis.

Don’t waste this opportunity, part of maximizing your college tour is avoiding inappropriate or ineffective questions.   These questions would involve facts and figures about the school, applicants taking college tours can find out how current students experience these statistics.

Spend time compairing statistics like the percent of students who live on campus, average class size, graduation rate and so on.  These facts and figures available on the school’s website or from third-party resources.

The latter category, ineffective questions, can be subdivided into two areas: questions that are beyond the knowledge of your tour guide, and questions that can be answered by visiting the college’s website.

Ask questions about how current students experience these statistics.

  1. Student-to-professor ratio, for example, ask if it truly feels that way. Are small classes found only in highly specialized senior-level seminars? Do freshmen ever enroll in small classes? Or you might see that 20 percent of the student body participates in the Greek system, so you could ask your tour guide how that affects his or her social experience on campus.
  2. Ask about classes. Your tour guide may know very little about decisions that are handled at the administrative level. Asking about his or her experience in freshman-level classes is fine, but asking which classes are assigned adjuncts versus tenured professors may not result in an informed answer.
  3.  Accessibility of advisers and staff.  Find out how seriously professors take their office hours. It’s worth asking how they utilize these opportunities with staff, so you can put their answer the student perspective that is worth knowing, even if it is a limited sample size.
  4. Crime and safety are two additional topics to consider, especially for females. The statistics available on a school’s website can be useful measures, but your tour guide can also share his or her impression of campus safety. A campus that is statistically safe but where students have safety concerns can be a stressful environment. The campus website may discuss safety initiatives, like late night patrols and increased campus lighting, but the actual student experience may be more relevant.

A college tour can provide invaluable insight into daily life on a campus. Use your tour time wisely, and target your questions for maximum usefulness. Oh, and by the way, have fun on your tour(s).

Getting Answers For Financial Aid

For instance, financial aid may be an uncomfortable subject, as it involves both personal and parental resources. In addition, a student tour guide may not know how the school awards grants versus loans. Even if your tour guide has extensive personal experience with the system, his or her experience likely will not match yours. Instead, ask financial aid question when you meet with an admissions counselor.

The same goes for any specialized learning needs that you may have. Even if your tour guide shares a similar challenge, and is familiar with the available campus resources, he or she may not wish to discuss this topic with strangers.

If you would like professional assistance in correctly filling out your FAFSA, CSS Profile and other forms while saving you the time and frustration contact our office for your free consultation today.

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