May 1 is the deadline to let colleges know that you accept the offer to attend their school this coming fall. That means there is now just one week to decide.
The first thing you need to do is ask yourself some very important questions, including:
- What does my heart tell me about a school?
- On which campus do I feel most at home?
- Which colleges bring up positive thoughts and feelings?
- Which ones make me feel uneasy, anxious or concerned?
- Which college would I most look forward to attending?
This decision is not easy to reach; so many students are making rush, last minute-visits to different colleges to help them decide what to do. To help you know what to ask different college resources, here are some lists of questions to ask:
QUESTIONS TO ASK STUDENTS
- What do you like best (least) about this college?
- Typically, what do other students like or complain about re this campus?
- Are you happy at this college? If yes or no, why? Are most other students happy?
- What is different or special about the college?
- What do students do for fun?
- What are the students like on this campus? Are they friendly, nice, smart, laid back, competitive, diverse, hard-working, social?
- How is the social life? What do students do during the week and weekend?
- What kinds of activities are really popular?
- Are fraternities and sororities a part of this college? What percentage of students belong?
- What are the dorms like? Which ones are the best and why?
- Where/what is the center of the social scene?
- How are the services on campus (learning services, academic advising, career planning, health or psychological services?)
- How accessible are professors to undergraduate students? Do they offer office hours? What are classes like (lectures, discussions, something else?) Do Teaching Assistants (TAs) do any of the teaching?
- What are some of the best classes and best professors? Some of the worst?
- How challenging are classes? How much homework do classes demand?
- What kind of students are most compatible with this college’s academic and social environment?
- Tell me about: the dorms, student center, bookstore, coffeehouses, community service, classrooms, gym/workout facilities, area close to school?
- If you had it to do all over again, would you choose this college? If yes, why? If not, where would you go?
- What would you change about this school?
QUESTIONS TO ASK PROFESSORS
- What’s involved in being a ___________ major (what you think you might major in)?
- How many students are in this major? Is there a particular focus for the department?
- How/when are advisors assigned to students?
- How often do faculty meet with students outside of class?
- In what ways do students, faculty and staff work together on campus committees?
- Are there research opportunities available to undergraduates?
- Typically, how much time do students typically spend on homework for different classes? How much reading is involved? How much writing?
- What are exams like (multiple choice, essays?)
- What are names of books, courses experiences I should have to prepare me for this major?
- What kind of record does this major have for getting its undergraduates into graduate school?
- How do you like teaching here? What made you decide to choose this college?
QUESTIONS TO ASK ADMISSIONS REPS
- Where do the students at _____ College come from?
- How easy is it to register for classes?
- How safe is the campus?
- What does the Career Planning Office do on campus? Are they available to help with summer jobs and internships? What do they do to help me get a job after graduation?
- What percentage of students study in other countries? How does one get involved?
- What kinds of leadership opportunities are available on campus?
- Is campus housing available all four years? How are roommates selected?
- What kinds of meal plans are there?
QUESTIONS TO ASK FINANCIAL AID PEOPLE
- Is there any way that I can get (increase) financial aid?
- Is merit aid available to students who don’t qualify for financial aid?
- Can I apply for financial/merit aid after my first year? How?
- Are there work/study jobs available to students on or off campus?
Here are some resources that you can go to for making a final college decision:
Keep in mind that no college is going to be perfect, and there are probably any number of colleges that will work very well for you. And the truth is, most college admissions experts, including the likes of the highly respected New York Times writer, Frank Bruni (Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be) almost guarantee that no matter where you attend college, you’re going to be just fine.