If you’re a high school student, it’s never too early to start making your list of colleges. As you narrow down your search, the best way to decide on the best fit for you is to step foot on campus, get a feel for the campus culture, and ask the right questions. Do you see yourself studying in a college town or a more urban area? Does a large student body sound exciting, or would you prefer a smaller, more intimate school setting? Since most of the college’s facts can be found online, you will want to find out the “real deal” that only a living, breathing human being can answer, so that you can see how the school’s information is manifested in students’ daily lives.
Everyone’s experience will vary as they recall their first year in college, but asking your tour guide (and any students or staff you come across) will help you gain some perspective by listening to their personal experiences. They may have some tips and tricks for overcoming some common first-year hurdles so that you can (hopefully) avoid those pitfalls.
There is no doubt that things like school spirit, sports teams, and active student life are all amazing benefits to the college experience. However, as you make the transition from high school to college, you will want to be on the lookout for the resources available at that college for supporting students’ personal and academic success. If you plan to live in the dorms, the Resident Assistants (RAs) are a great starting point for first-year students because they live in the dorms and are available to provide them guidance in navigating their first year.
This is a great opportunity for the campus tour guide to highlight some of the school’s featured programs, and if you are interested in those programs, it’s also an invitation for you to ask about upcoming events that you could attend to give you a better idea of what the campus culture is like outside of the tour.
By asking this question, you can catch a glimpse of what many of the current students are pursuing, and see how it aligns with your own goals. Perhaps Nursing is a popular program at that college because of its high ratings, awards, and connections to the community. Students tend to choose majors based on their own interests, but they also consider the earning potential and job prospects for when they graduate. We encourage you to speak with as many students and staff on campus about their field of study and weigh your options.
Do classes tend to be mostly lecture-based, discussion-based, or a combination of the two? Knowing your personal learning style will help you tremendously in getting the most out of your classes and sets you up for success.