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Melissa Brock

Melissa Brock

Writer & Blogger

My name is Melissa and I’m a longtime admission professional, personal finance writer, editor  and parent of two (very!) busy kiddos. I couldn’t make it all happen without my husband, Steve.

I hatched my site because I’ve heard so many head-scratching questions from parents. I’ve journeyed in the footsteps of hundreds of families, trekked to dozens of college fairs and even weighed the (billions?) of college savings options for my own two kiddos.

202 Powerful Questions to Ask on a College Tour

by | Jul 27, 2020 | Ask the admission office | 0 comments

I loved it when families came for college tours. They were excited, happy and sometimes even nervous. However, some families weren’t sure what questions to ask because everything (everything!) was new to them. 

I compiled a list of must-ask questions to ask on a college tour for admission counselors, financial aid professionals, professors, coaches and more. You may think of others that pertain directly to your child’s situation, but this should give you a great start!

By the way, check out this post if you’re curious about learning how to set up a college visit.

Student Tour Guide Questions

The student tour guide offers the most candid look at what a college is like. Spend as much time as you can with your child and the tour guide and make sure your child asks questions, even if the tour guide probably isn’t going to be your child’s best friend. Yes, the student is groomed to give canned responses to some questions but talking to the tour guide is the best way to get a feel for a college.

  1. What’s your favorite thing about this college?
  2. What’s your least favorite thing about the college you attend?
  3. Where might my child spend a lot of time if he/she is a student here?
  4. Why did you choose this college?
  5. What are the students like?
  6. Which residence hall is your favorite? Where did you live your first year?
  7. Where do you live now? Why did you choose to live there?
  8. What is the food like?
  9. What is your major?
  10. Is this a suitcase college? (Do people go home a lot on the weekends?)
  11. What activities does the college have available for students?
  12. Is it easy to get an internship here? Have you had an internship?
  13. How available are professors? 
  14. How does the college handle communication?
  15. Have you found it difficult to handle the costs of college?
  16. What are your plans for after graduation? Do you plan to go to graduate school? Get a job?
  17. Is it easy to get a work-study job on campus? Why or why not?
  18. Where do first-year students typically get assigned for work-study? Can they request a work-study job?
  19. How have online classes gone due to COVID-19? Has that been a seamless transition?
  20. Are the classes rigorous? Have you found them manageable?
  21. How do you manage classes and athletics? (If the student is an athlete and your child is a prospective athlete as well.)
  22. How many tours did you go on before you chose this college?
  23. Is this college far away from your hometown? How do you manage going home during breaks?
  24. Is it easy to get involved in extracurricular activities?
  25. Was it easy or difficult for you to get accepted into this college? How many other colleges did you apply to?
  26. What do you do for fun and what is the social scene like?
  27. What was the most surprising and difficult thing about adjusting to college life?
Student tour guide questions to ask on a college tour!
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Admission Counselor Questions

You can call an admission counselor an “admission counselor” or an “admissions counselor.” What does an admissions counselor do? Check it out before you go on your visit! Generally, this is the person who will help you throughout the college search process. Your child will be assigned an admission counselor based on geography. You can search a map of the United States on any college’s website and find your child’s admission counselor. Here are some great questions to ask your child’s admission counselor. (I spent 12 years in college admission and I loved it when families asked me these questions!) 

Admission Requirements and Process

  1. What’s the application process?
  2. What is the admission process, from start to finish, and what should my child expect after an application?
  3. What ACT/SAT scores does my child need to attend your college? Is it optional?
  4. Do you superscore test results (take the best score of each subject test on multiple ACT or SAT dates)?
  5. Can my child self-report my standardized test scores?
  6. Should my child aim for a certain grade point average? What are the requirements?
  7. Does my child need to submit an essay or letters of recommendation? If so, what are the requirements?
  8. Are there any other admission requirements we need to be aware of? What types of supporting materials does my child need to provide?
  9. Does my child need to do an interview with an alumnus or college staff member to be admitted?
  10. Are there different admission requirements for various departments or majors?
  11. How can my child make his or her application stand out?
  12. What are the most important admission factors at your college or university?
  13. Do you accept the Common Application, the Coalition Application or the Universal College Application or do you have your own application?
  14. What types of deadlines do you have for your applications?
  15. Do you charge an application fee? How do we pay it?
  16. Can we get a waiver for the application fee if the fee is a hardship for our family?
  17. Do you have an applicant portal my child will need to use?
  18. What are your recommendations for teacher evaluations, if required?
  19. What does your ideal applicant look like?
  20. How do you look at extracurricular activities and work experience in the admission process?
  21. If my child applies early decision or early action to another college or university, can he or she apply to another college?
  22. Do you defer admission to some students? If so, why, and what can my child do to be admitted?
  23. Can my child defer admission once admitted?
  24. Is the rigor of my high school taken into consideration when my child applies?
  25. Who will read my child’s application?
  26. Will it help my child to take advanced, accelerated or honors courses?
  27. Can my child add/remove something from his application once it’s submitted?
  28. How does my child track the status of her application?
  29. Does your college ever rescind an admission offer?
  30. If my child is rejected Early Decision, can he apply Regular Decision?
  31. Does my child need to submit mid-year reports of her grades?
  32. Are my child’s chances for admission to your university’s graduate school greater if she attends your university as an undergraduate?
  33. How should my child submit transcripts from any college courses?
  34. Are admission requirements different if my child is homeschooled?
  35. Will my child’s financial aid award be different if she applies for admission under Early Decision, Early Action, etc.?
  36. When do application decisions become available?
  37. Is there a maximum number of students admitted from a particular country, region or school?
  38. How should my child submit standardized test scores?
  39. How do you determine which credits transfer?
  40. Is admission competitive? How competitive?
Admission counselor questions to ask on a college tour!
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Future Visit Details

You may want to come back! In that case, check with the admission counselor you’re talking to so you can find out which options are best. Check out my ultimate guide to Here are few questions you could ask:

  1. Which visit days should my child attend throughout the year?
  2. How do we arrange an on-campus overnight visit?
  3. What’s the best way to arrange future visits in general?
  4. What does a visit schedule look like if my child chooses to arrange future visits?
  5. In your opinion, is it best to do a group visit day if we choose to visit again or is it best to do a personal campus visit?
  6. Do you have competitive academic scholarships my child can interview for (and come back to campus another time)?
Visit questions to ask on a college tour!
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Academic Details

Why not ask the admission office about academics? Admission counselors can offer a candid overview of academics at the college they’re working at because what do they do all day long? They talk to current students who work in the admission office (and also hear their complaints and what they celebrate).

  1. Do professors have an open-door policy? How accessible are they?
  2. Are teaching assistants or professors the ones who teach the classes?
  3. What is the average class size?
  4. What is the student to faculty ratio?
  5. Can you tell me about the [insert name] major? What are your most popular majors and classes?
  6. How are classes selected?
  7. Are there required first-year classes?
  8. My child’s favorite subject in school is [insert favorite subject]. How can that translate to a major here?
  9. How rigorous are classes here?
  10. Tell me about academic support services here.
  11. Does your college provide services if my child has a disability?
  12. What is your graduation rate?
  13. How many students go on to graduate school or become employed after graduation?
  14. How many students get jobs in their majors or a related field?
  15. What types of internships are available for students?
  16. Is it possible to do research as an undergraduate student?
  17. Is your school on the semester or quarter system?
  18. Does your school offer pre-professional majors?
  19. Are tutors available?
Academic questions to ask on a college tour for the admission office!
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Demographics, Social Life and Other Activities

  1. What types of clubs and organizations can my child get involved in?
  2. What are the most popular clubs and organizations?
  3. What’s the social life like on campus? What do students do for extracurricular activities?
  4. What would you change about this college or university?
  5. Do students usually attend sporting events, theatre events or more?
  6. Is it possible for my child to start his or her own club or organization? What is the process to do that?
  7. How many students study abroad? Is it a popular thing to do? How is study abroad structured here?
  8. Is it easy to manage a collegiate athletic career and academics? How do coaches approach academics and athletics here?
  9. What security measures are in place at your institution?
  10. Is on-campus housing guaranteed?
  11. Is my child required to live on campus?
  12. How does the meal system work?
  13. Is it easy to find a student job on or near campus?
  14. How is housing assigned?
  15. Can my child live on campus during school breaks?
  16. How safe is the campus and the surrounding neighborhood?
  17. What is the percentage of students of color on campus?
  18. What is the percentage of students who live on campus?
  19. Can you tell me the male-to-female ratio on campus?
  20. How does parking on campus work?
  21. Where are students who go to your school from?
  22. How does your college or university accommodate students with food allergies?
  23. What role do parents play in your community?
  24. What is your freshman retention rate?
Other questions to ask on a college tour for the admission office!
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Financial Aid Professional Questions

You might want to meet with a financial aid professional as well — and that’s a great move. However, if you can’t get an appointment with someone in the financial aid office, admission counselors are well-versed in most financial aid topics and should be able to walk you through an award letter or answer basic questions about scholarships and loans. Here are some questions you may want to ask: 

  1. What is the tuition, room, board and fees at this school?
  2. How much does tuition increase each year? Do scholarships increase to match the change?
  3. What scholarships can my child qualify for? How does my child qualify for them?
  4. Are there any merit-based scholarships available at your school?
  5. Can my child receive grants? If so, what are the requirements?
  6. How do loans work and how should we apply for them?
  7. Can you explain in detail how a financial aid award is set up?
  8. What amount will my child receive, using your school’s net price calculator or a financial aid estimator?
  9. What are the interview or audition requirements for certain scholarships?
  10. Can my child apply for talent-based scholarships?
  11. What will happen if our family’s financial aid situation changes while my child is at your school?
  12. Will my child qualify for work-study? How does work-study work here?
  13. Does my child need to report outside scholarships? Will merit-based scholarships be “taken away” if my child receives a large outside scholarship?
  14. Where should we send checks for outside scholarships?
  15. Do we need to complete a CSS Profile?
  16. How will we know if the FAFSA has been submitted correctly?
  17. When will my child receive the financial aid award?
  18. What is the deadline for applying for financial aid?
  19. My child is undocumented. Is my child still eligible for financial aid?
  20. How does financial aid work if my child studies abroad?
  21. Can veterans or children of veterans receive financial aid at your school?
  22. Can we apply for financial aid in future years if we do not apply the first year?
  23. Will you help me file the FAFSA in person?
  24. What kind of need-based aid can my child get?
  25. How is work-study awarded?
  26. How will the financial aid office help our family break down the costs?
  27. What does the average student receive in financial aid from your school?
  28. Are there other extra expenses we’ll need to be prepared for, like activity fees, biology lab fees, etc.? Can you give us a list of those additional expenses?
Financial aid questions to ask on a college tour for the financial aid office!
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Faculty Member Questions

Many colleges and universities will grant you time with professors — you just have to ask. It can be intimidating for your student to meet with a faculty member but it’s well worth it! After all, your student may have that professor for classes. A professor can change the trajectory of a your student’s career and life. Here are some questions you and your child can ask: 

  1. Which classes do you teach?
  2. What is your favorite class to teach? Why?
  3. Why do you teach here?
  4. What is your teaching style?
  5. How often do terminal degreed professors teach the classes?
  6. What are your top expectations at the beginning of any semester?
  7. Do you help students with connections for internships and jobs after graduation?
  8. Are undergraduates able to get research opportunities?
  9. How do you measure success in your classroom?
  10. What does a typical syllabus look like in one of your classes?
  11. How does advising work? What’s the process to put together a student schedule?
  12. When are your office hours? Is it easy for students to get their questions answered?
  13. What is your average class size? For introductory classes? For advanced classes?
  14. What are your most successful students doing now?
  15. How do you communicate with students? 
  16. Do you put an emphasis on interactive or group work or put an emphasis on lectures?
  17. How do you choose the textbooks a student will use during the semester? 
  18. Do you consider yourself to be approachable?
  19. What should my child do if he or she is having trouble in your class?
  20. Do you have teaching assistants (TAs)?
  21. Are there any supplemental instruction (SI) sessions my student can go to during any given semester?
  22. How have you handled online learning during COVID-19? 
  23. How much time do your students spend studying and completing assignments during the week?
  24. Are your classes reading and writing intensive?
  25. What types of issues do students bring to you during office hours?
  26. Is there a capstone project or internship requirement for your program?
  27. What does a typical path to graduation look like? What exact classes are required?
  28. How long does it take the average student to graduate? Four years? Five years or more?
  29. What is the academic community like in your department or program?
  30. What resources are available to me?
  31. Is service learning or similar opportunities for hands-on learning a priority in your classes?
  32. Do you help students determine their career path or calling?
  33. Do your students make connections between their academic studies and activities outside of class? Can you give us an example?
  34. How do you work with students who choose to study abroad? Is there a best time during the academic program?
  35. What other majors and minors do students usually combine with this major?
  36. Do you do any other research or other projects that can affect what you teach here?
  37. What are students surprised to learn when they’re in your class?
  38. What do you do when students realize your major isn’t a fit?
Questions to ask on a college tour for a faculty member!
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Coach Questions

You want to be sure that a college is a good fit for your child athletically if your child is an athlete — but make sure it’s a great fit academically and socially as well. Note that you’ll want to ask the admission office questions about grades, admission, SAT, ACT, academic scholarships, etc. — coaches should not answer admission questions. 

A quick tip: Don’t bring up athletic scholarships right away — a coach wants you to demonstrate a team commitment first. Here are some questions you and your child may want to ask a coach.

  1. Why do you coach? What is your coaching philosophy?
  2. What are the holes in your program that my child can help fulfill?
  3. How do you recruit?
  4. What are you looking for in the right recruit?
  5. Can you describe your program’s values?
  6. What does a typical day look like for a player during the season?
  7. How about the off-season program? What are the expectations?
  8. How do you encourage your players academically?
  9. What are the academic requirements for your program?
  10. What do your players do during their free time?
  11. Can you tell me your team’s total GPA and graduation rate?
  12. Do the players typically live together on campus?
  13. Is it easy for players to catch up after missed class time for games and meets? How do they usually do that?
  14. My child wants to major in X. Is it possible to major in this and still play for your program?
  15. How much of an impact do you see my child making on the team right away? Later on?
  16. What does my child need to do to be evaluated by your staff?
  17. Can you tell me more about your assistant coaches? What are their philosophies?
  18. When does your coaching contract end? Do you see yourself here another four years?
  19. How would you describe the team chemistry?
  20. What are the current strengths and weaknesses of your team?
Questions to ask on a college tour for coaches!
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Get Your Questions Answered

I’ve included a lot of questions on this list! You’ll keep yourself pretty busy if you ask every single one of these questions on your college visit. However, note a few, write them down, take this link with you on a visit. Maybe this list will also inspire your own questions on your visit!

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