High school graduation is fast approaching, which means that it’s time to finally decide which college you’ll be making your home at for the next four years. However, before you commit, it’s probably a good idea to have a look around each potential campus to make sure that it meets (or hopefully succeeds) all the great expectations you have. It’s also a good idea to be prepared with some questions to ask your tour guide as you’re getting a look around—you want to make sure that you have all the relevant information needed to make your decision. Here are a few questions that you may want to find out the answers to before sending in your first tuition payment.
1. How much is tuition?
It may seem like a no-brainer, but finding out how much you’re going to be charged in order to study at each university can be a big factor in choosing which school is right for you. A certain school may sound ideal—until you find out that it carries a $50,000 price tag. Make sure you ask exactly how much tuition is going to cost you, and find out whether the answer your given is per semester or year.
2. What other fees are applicable?
These fees are everything outside of tuition—your room and board, your meals, your student activity fees, student council fees, transit costs, etc. Ask if you can get an itemized list of everything you will be expected to pay for while attending school and add that number on to the tuition total. This should give you the exact amount you’ll be expected to pay if you decide to attend that particular college.
3. Can I see the dorms?
Even if you’re planning on living off-campus (as long as it’s allowed—another thing to find out), it’s a good idea to see what the living conditions on-campus are like. You never know if you’re apartment off-campus will fall through and leave you homeless. You’re going to want to know how big the dorms are, how many roommates you’ll have, how many bathrooms there are, and so on. Trust me, if you’re going to be sleeping in the same room for the next four years, you’re going to want to know what it’s like beforehand.
4. What is the student-to-professor ratio?
This is an important question, because it lets you know whether or not you can expect to interact with your professor on a personal basis or not. If there are 500 students to one professor, the odds are that you won’t really get much of a chance to talk to them if you have questions or are confused about something. On the other hand, if the ratio is 10/1 you may be a little more under the microscope than you’d like.
5. Are there fraternities/sororities?
Whether you’re interested in joining or not, this is important to know because these student groups will affect your time in school. You may be subject to the raucous noise coming from drunken frat parties even if you don’t partake—and if this is going to bother you, it’s probably a good idea to make sure that your college of choice doesn’t have them.
6. Where are the most popular hangouts?
This is just a nice thing to already know by the time you arrive on-campus. It’ll also give you a taste of what the social scene is like at the college—for example, if the most popular spot is the middle of a cornfield, it’s a pretty safe bet that the nightlife is a little on the slow side (and if that sounds like the perfect situation for you, then you know that you’ll fit right in).
7. Where are the best study spots?
Again, this is another thing that will be handy to already be aware of by the time that classes start. You won’t waste a ton of time wandering around trying to find the perfect place to read the four hundred pages you have due the next day, because you will already be in on the secret.
8. How many students are there?
If you are a fairly introverted person that doesn’t like crowds, the odds are that you probably won’t enjoy going to a college with 20,000 students. However, if you enjoy learning in a tight-knit community and being familiar with most of the faces you pass, then a school with a smaller student body (say 1,500 or so) will probably suit you well. Same thing goes for the social butterflies out there—the more people on campus, the more potential friends you have, so a school with a large student body will probably work best for you.
9. What is the female-to-male ratio?
According to some, this just might be the most important question to find out the answer to. Maybe you’re a female looking to find a special male friend—you’re going to want to make sure that every other girl on campus who has the same idea isn’t going after the only guy within a 50-mile radius. If the male-to-female ratio is somewhere around 50/50, then your odds of meeting a special someone have just gotten a little better.
10. What is the employment rate post-graduation?
This can be a great way to determine whether or not a certain school is going to work for you. Obviously the majority of students decide to attend college in order to work in their chosen career—but if the majority of graduates are unemployed, then you know that attending that school might not be the best choice to make career-wise. A school with a high employment rate post-graduation means that you will have a great chance of finding a job after you get your degree.