Questions to Ask College Admissions
Getting into college is a big accomplishment, and many times involves some sort of interview or meeting with a campus admissions advisor. You can even ask questions on your own to find out more about the school. Here is a look at eight of our top questions to ask college admissions, so you are prepared, and heading off to the school of your dreams.
1. What Kind of Opportunities are Available On Campus?
Finding employment in today’s world requires more than just a college degree. You also need some practical experience, which is why you should look for questions to ask college admissions like the opportunities that are available on the campus. If you need help paying for school, ask if students can find employment through the school as well as the type of jobs the college offers and how much they pay.
It’s also helpful to ask if the college has a career center that provides extra help for students. Career centers can usually help students work on their resumes and prepare for job interviews. You may find that the center has a network of internship opportunities, too. Though you may assume that you don’t need to worry about any of those things until you near your graduation date, early prep can help you find the job of your dreams.
2. How Many Students Complete Their Programs?
Ask the admissions counselor for the percentage of students who enroll each year and how many complete their programs of study. A high graduation rate is a clear sign that the college fosters the needs of its students. The students have access to resources that help them both in and out of the classroom. You also want to find out how long it takes them to finish their studies. Most bachelor degree programs take an average of four years to complete. If the college has a high percentage of students who finish within four years, you know it’s a good program. On the other hand, a low percentage may mean that the school doesn’t offer the students the support they need. The admissions counselor should be upfront about how many students finish their studies vs how many drop out of the program. Keep in mind that these rates can differ between departments.
3. What Steps Do You Take to Keep Students Safe?
Talking with the admissions department about the steps that the college takes to keep students safe will let you know if you’ll feel comfortable there. Most schools have blue light boxes scattered across their campus. These boxes give students a safe place to stop and get help when they need it. When you pick up the phone, it calls campus security right away. A security guard or police officer will come to your location and escort you back to your dorm room. Campus security is also responsible for patrolling the campus and looking for any possible problems.
Good schools also provide students with workshops and other resources. Incoming freshmen often attend seminars where they learn what they should and should not do. Other workshops may cover how to protect yourself against sexual assault and what to do if you’re an assault victim. Many students also attend seminars that go over the dangers of drugs and alcohol. If you plan to live in a dorm room, find out what the dorm does to keep students safe. The dorm should have someone available 24/7 at the front desk and stop others from entering the building if they don’t have a key.
4. How is Your Campus Different from Similar Schools?
Though this may seem like one of the more basic questions to ask college admissions, it tells you a lot about how the counselor feels. If you want to apply to a private college in the Midwest, ask how the school stacks up against Washington University in St. Louis, Case Western Reserve University, and other schools. You might have your heart set on a private religious university as well. Talk with the admissions department about how the school differs from bigger and smaller colleges like the University of Dayton and the University of Notre Dame.
Now is the time to talk about what interests you and why you want to apply. Does the school offer a unique major that isn’t available on other campuses? Maybe you want to join clubs and organizations that support your major. You should also discuss any interests you have outside of school, too. Let the admissions rep know that you love volunteering at animal shelters or nursing homes or that you plan to work part-time while you’re in school. Ask the rep for more information on why the school is a good fit for you.
5. What Does the Alumni Network Look Like?
When you graduate, you become part of an elite group of individuals. Every school in the country has an alumni network that consists of former students. Find out both what the network looks like and the advantages of joining it. Does the school host on-campus events where you can meet and greet with those students? Are there members of the network who work with the career center to hire students for part-time or full-time work? What steps does the school take to connect current students with alumni
You may want to ask what the network looks like in terms of how many alumni participate and if there are different branches. Some colleges in the Midwest have active networks in other cities and states. For example, the University of Dayton has a large population of alumni members in Dayton, Ohio as well as Charlotte, North Carolina and South Bend, Indiana. The Ohio State University also has a huge network of former students on both coasts. It’s also helpful to find out what the members do for work and the industries where they work.
6. How Many Students Find Jobs When They Graduate? And, Does the School Help?
Choosing the right major can help you find employment when you graduate. It’s not the only factor that determines your career outlook though. Always collect a few questions to ask college admissions about the career outlook of graduates and what the school does to help. The admissions counselor should know what percentage of students find work as well as where they work and if they work in the field they studied. One of the issues with ITT Tech that led to its shutdown was that it claimed a high percentage of its graduates found work later. Research later found that many of the students worked for the school itself, usually in call centers.
If you already know what you want to study, ask how many students currently work in the field. A future psychology major may want to see what percentage of students work in social services, while an education major will want to see how many students now work as teachers. Find out what the school does to help graduates, too. Does it offer resources to help them find jobs? Can the career center provide assistance to job seekers? The admissions department should already know the answers to these questions.
7. Are There Any Educational Opportunities Other Than Degree Programs?
While the most important part of the college experience is going to classes, ask about other educational opportunities you can rely on while you’re in school. Many colleges bring in guest lecturers every year. You can attend those sessions later in the day and after your classes are over. The lecturers cover topics that you only gloss over in class and other topics that your classes never cover. Many courses also offer field trips that help students learn in the real world.
If you have an interest in off-site study, consider a study abroad program. Though you need to pay to enroll in the program, you have the chance to spend a semester or an entire year in a foreign country or a different state. Educational associations are just as important. The Student Activities Department often offers special and unique opportunities for students such as playing disc golf, volunteering with local organizations, and taking group trips. Don’t forget about the campus’s Greek life either. Sororities and fraternities help students make lasting friendships and make connections that help them find jobs later. Other opportunities you might look for include honor societies and organizations for specific majors.
8. What Percentage of Students Come from Different Backgrounds?
Take a few minutes to talk about the school’s inclusion rate and diversity policies. Historically all black colleges and universities (HBCU) are schools that admit mainly African American students. Though the schools may admit students of different backgrounds, they are in the minority. Some prospective college students find that they feel more comfortable going to a school with people who look like them and come from similar backgrounds. Some of the top inclusive schools in the nation today include Auburn University, Appalachian State University, California State University, and Curry College.
Find out what types of programs the school offers to diversify its student base. Some schools allow freshmen to commute to campus as a way to help them save money. Commuters do not need to pay for a dorm room or a meal plan. Though the government requires that schools make classrooms accessible for those with disabilities, the best schools take things a step further. They have a counseling center where students can attend therapy sessions for free. Others offer programs to help students focus on their education as they improve their mental health.