As a high school senior, odds are that your high school guidance counselors, teachers and parents have reminded you on more than one occasion that you are about to make one of the most important decisions of your life.
Hearing that can be a little intimidating! That’s why college fairs can be so helpful. College fairs allow you the opportunity to expose yourself to a bunch of schools of all different colors, shapes and sizes. Many high schools offer the opportunity for their students to attend local college fairs — this is an opportunity worth taking!
It’s important to think of a variety of questions to ask at these events before you show up. The more nitty-gritty the questions, the more likely you are to gain some clarity on the type of school you are most interested in attending. Here are some questions to get you started.
1. What is unique about education here?
A unique program or approach to teaching that one school offers might be your cup of tea, whereas another might be more of…well, not tea at all.
2. What is the student-to-faculty ratio?
The smaller the ratio, the more faculty attention provided for each student. In your sophomore year, when you are aching for help with math, greater availability and accessibility to faculty will help you get the extra guidance and encouragement you might need.
3. Are there opportunities to do research with professors?
You will want to be sure that your college experience will allow you to explore new horizons and open new doors. Asking this question will help indicate the school’s desire to allow students to expand their own research and get experience in untouched territory.
4. Do the programs involve internship opportunities?
Some colleges include internship opportunities within program requirements so that real-world experience is integrated into the student’s schedule. Excelling in an internship may be one of the best ways for you to land a job right out of college.
5. How would you describe the majority of students?
Although this is a bit of a tough question, it may give you insight into the generalizations made about that particular school. A well-rounded answer could be just what you need to hear to know whether this is the right school for you!
6. What are the clubs and organizations on campus?
The college experience is not merely academic. Employers look for well-rounded students who work hard and have a wide range of experiences, skills and interests. Again, this might be a selling point over another prospective school.
7. What is there to do on and off campus?
Atmosphere is a big deal when it comes to learning (and living). You want to be in a place that is suitable for you and your behaviors. If the city is a must-have in your life, then it is important to keep that in mind when applying to schools.
8. How would you describe the athletic community on campus?
If you are looking to play club, intramural or even varsity team sports, this is a great question. Another idea would be to ask about the workout facilities available to students — no freshman 15 for you!
9. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about this college?
This is getting a little personal, but it’s a good question to ask because it shows both sides to the college — and it is a direct question to the representative, showing your care and concern about their opinion and your own college experience.
Keep in mind — these are only questions to get you started, and you do not have to use them all. Think of what you find important and essential to your own college experience, take notes and ask questions. Also, the person behind the table may be the one who reads your application, so make sure you are engaged during the college fair! You are the only one who knows what you really want, but sometimes you have to dig and do some self-discovery before you can identify what you’re looking for.