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5 Questions to Ask (and Not to Ask) on College Tours

A tour guide stands on a set of stairs facing her tour group.

This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

College tours are an important part of a student’s college search and decision process. 

These tours allow students to get a feel of the institution which will help them make an important decision on where they want to spend the next 4 years of their lives. 

If you are currently planning on taking a college tour, here is a list of 5 questions to ask (and not to) on college tours.

Questions to Ask:

  • “What does your typical day/week look like?”

This is a great question to ask on a tour. As a prospective student, you can visualize a student’s daily routine on campus. Most tour guides typically answer by describing how much time their classes and homework take up while shedding light on certain activities and organizations on campus. 

  • “What classes are you taking?”

This question can highlight the campus’ academic life. Based on the tour guide’s answer, you can gain an insight into the specificity and quality of courses your guide has taken and other courses that are offered by the college or university based on your area of interest or major. 

  • “How would you and other students describe living and dining on campus?”

If you plan on living on campus and/or buying a meal plan, this is a great question to ask. Most tour guides typically describe their experience living with a roommate, the quality of food, and elaborate on the different types of housing and meal plans offered by the college/university. Overall, you get a nice feel of what residential living is like at the university/college. 

  • “What tutoring, support, or counseling services are made available by the school?”

It is likely that during your undergraduate studies you will end up needing some type of support system, whether it be for your homework or health. This is a great question to ask since your tour guide will be able to elaborate on the locations of these services, and how to get in contact with the correct people to help you with whatever you may need. 

  • “What kind of career and internship resources are available to students after and upon graduation?”

For students who plan on going to graduate school or entering the workforce after graduation, this is a great question to ask. A tour guide should be able to discuss and highlight the institution’s career center, alumni network, and internships made available to students by the university/college to help you in your future endeavors. 

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Questions Not to Ask:

  • “What was your GPA and SAT/ACT score?

Although it can be tempting to know an admitted student’s GPA and test scores to see your chances of being admitted, it is best to avoid asking the question entirely since you do want to put your tour guide in an awkward position. 

Instead Ask: “What is the average GPA and SAT/ACT score for the university/college?”

By asking this question, your tour guide will be able to highlight the institution’s academic profile and admissions process.

  • “How much financial aid will I receive?”

Finding a school that fits your financial need is an important part of the college search process. However, it is also unlikely that your tour guide would be able to give you a specific answer based on your financial need and circumstances. 

Instead Ask: “Who do I need to get in contact with to learn more about financial aid?”

By asking this question, your tour guide will be able to direct you to the school’s financial office who will be able to answer any questions you have relating to financial aid.

  • “What classes or professors should I avoid taking?”

 It is great to ask questions relating to the institution’s academic offerings but avoid framing it in a negative light. 

Instead Ask: “What is the most meaningful moment you have experienced in a class or with a professor.”

 Even if your tour guide’s most “meaningful” moment does not relate to your area of interest, this question opens up a great opportunity to hear from your tour guide’s first-hand experience being a student and learning from a professor at that specific institution.

  • “What is the party scene like?”

Instead of asking whether the institution is a “party” school, focus on learning about certain opportunities available by the university to meet peers and network.

Instead Ask: “What fun activities or places are there to go to on or near campus?”

By asking this question, your tour guide will be able to pinpoint a variety of events, activities, and places to go on campus where you can have the opportunity to make friends during your college experience.

  • “Is it easy to commute to the college/university?”

 If you plan on commuting to college, it is likely asking a question like this will give you a very vague answer. 

 Instead Ask: “How do you commute to the university and get around on campus?”

 By asking a specific question like this, your tour guide will be able to share the different types of transportation offered by the institution and possibly share their experience on how long it takes to get around campus.

 

By asking the right questions, students can walk away from each college tour knowing the opportunities and resources made available by each school. Therefore, ask as many questions as you can and have fun!

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Author: Yolanda Pineda

Yolanda is currently a full-time student at the University of Houston studying Business with a minor in Law, Values, & Policy. She is a recent graduate from Houston Community College where she received her Associate of Science. When she is not making content for Niche, she is dedicated to helping her community and social causes.