You’re about to graduate high school, and you’re beginning to think about what comes next. Maybe you know you want to go to college, maybe you’re only entertaining it as one of your options. You want to tour a few schools but can’t, either because of the raging COVID-19 pandemic or it’s too expensive and time consuming to do so. But you want to make sure that you’re still making an informed decision. Picking what college you go to feels big and scary. There’s so much to consider, how do you make sure you’re making the right choice? Since you can’t take college tours in person, one of the best ways to get to know if a school you’re considering is right for you is a virtual college tour.
Not only are virtual campus tours a great way to see the campus and get a feel for the culture, but they’re also a great way to meet someone from the school, usually an admissions officer, a student, or an alumnus, and pick their brain. A virtual campus tour could be your one and only chance to speak to someone who will be living the life you’re looking at in a year or two, so make the most of it! So, what are the best questions to ask on virtual college tours?
1. What is your usual daily schedule like?
2. What is the average size of introductory courses and courses in your major? (Keep in mind that majors often have different size classes when you get to upper-level courses, but this could be a good benchmark)
3. Ask about your particular hobbies. What’s the culture for x on campus?
4. Why did you choose this school?
5. How accessible are professors and administrators to students?
6. What percentage of your courses are taught by professors vs. TAs?
7. How easy is it to study abroad?
8. What is the connection like with alumni network? Some virtual campus tours have an alumni ambassador present. Get to know their experience with a particular school or major.
9. How is the food? Are there options?
10. How long is a student required to live on campus? How difficult is it to get on-campus housing as an upper-classman?
11. What are the best study spots on campus and why?
12. How much time do you spend on classwork and how much on extracurriculars and socialization?
13. How big are sports on campus?
14. How diverse is the student body? The faculty?
15. How safe do you feel on campus and surrounding areas?
16. How easy is it to find and balance an on-campus job?
17. What is the course-selection process like?
18. How often are you fighting for spots in a class?
19. How many options are there for courses within your major?
20. How difficult is it to take classes outside of your major?
21. How far are residences from classes on average?
22. What are the best restaurants around campus, how far are they, and how late are they open (that last one is key)?
23. How late are facilities like cafeterias, libraries, gyms, and study centers open?
24. What are the places in the city/ town around campus that you HAVE to see?
25. What are some quintessential parts of the culture on your campus? What are some hallmark experiences of attending that school?
26. What are your favorite things about the school?
27. What do you not like?
Now you’re all ready to go on your Campus 360 tour to explore your favorite schools from the comfort of your home! Keep in mind that the virtual tour guide has a job to do, so don’t pester them; pick a few questions that are most important to you, (see if you can find the information on the internet first), and if they don’t already cover them in the tour, ask! That’s what they’re there for. And be sure to introduce yourself! You never know, they could end up being your TA next year!