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Questions to Ask in Your College Search

What is important to you?

Select your important considerations, and click on each to discover questions to ask.

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Small class size

What is the average size of classes which transfers normally take?
(Note: Many schools have a low student/faculty ratio because some of the professors do mostly research. A low ratio wonít always tell you that your intro classes have 300 people in them.)

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Well-qualified professors with teaching experience

What percentage of your courses are taught by graduate assistants?
By "temporary" faculty?
How important is teaching ability in awarding tenure and promotion?

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Option to show what I really know and think through writing, discussion, projects or performance rather than multiple choice tests

What is the average size of classes which transfers normally take?
(Note: If the class size is above 30 or so, then you will probably be taking computer-graded exams.)

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Getting a good job after graduation

What percentage of your students do internships?

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An excellent, well-rounded education

How many credits will I be taking outside of my major?
How many electives are allowed?

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A specific major

(you really know what you want to do) or many options for a major because you have many interests and arenít absolutely certain.
What majors does the school offer?
Does the school offer a career exploration class or counseling?

In addition, to asking questions:

  • Look carefully at the facilities and courses offered in the major.
  • Check credentials of faculty in the catalog.
  • Ask to meet at least one faculty member in your major.
  • (If this request is honored, itís a good sign faculty will have time for you as a student.)

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A particular extra-curricular activity you want to participate in

Does the school have that activity?
How many students currently participate?
Could someone with my credentials and major participate?

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Personal safety

How is your school rated nationally and regionally for safety?
Ask students on campus: Do you feel safe at night?

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Size of the communityólarge city, small town, etc.

What cultural activities are here?
What are the in-town and out-of-town public transportation possibilities?

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A famous sports team (usually football)

How much are tickets?
Can I get them?

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Distance from my home town

May I bring a car to campus?
Where may I park?
Cost of parking?
Other transportation?
Is this a commuter school or do students usually stay on campus weekends?

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Opportunity to be active in my major (For example, if an actor, I want to be in plays)

Ask students these questions:

    What activities exist?
    Does the school have the specific activity you want?
    How many students currently participate?
    Could someone with my credentials and major participate?
    Are the activities dominated by graduate students?

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Reputation of the school

What percentage of your graduates in this major are employed in their field?
How many get into graduate or professional school?

    Also check publications such as US News and World Report and Money magazine which rank schools in fall editions.

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Being anonymous or being at a school small enough to get personal attention

Ask students about availability of advisors, peer mentor programs, faculty office hours, etc.

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A residence hall conducive to studying

May I visit a residence hall?
(A visit will do no good unless school is in session.
Best bet: Arrange to stay overnight with a host student in residence hall of any school you are seriously considering so you get a feel for the place at night when most studying will have to happen.)

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Computer access

What computer facilities are available to students?
What are their hours?
What is the ratio of students to computers?
Are residence halls wired with fiber optics?

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Help with admission to graduate or professional school

Ask students, preferably seniors.
What programs are there to help students with admission?
Who is in charge?

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Opportunity for study abroad

May I have a copy of your study abroad brochure?
(For a reasonable price and hassle-free transfer of credits, look for the number of ongoing exchanges the school actually hosts.)

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Social life

Ask students about the social life.
Look at the way students dress to see if there is just a narrow range of "types" or if there is diversity.
Eavesdrop on some conversations as people are leaving and entering the dining hall.
Ask yourself : Can I afford this schoolís kind of social life?
Do I feel comfortable?

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Affordability How many loans I will have to repay after graduation

What are the costs?
Will the school do a financial aid pre-estimate for me?
How much will this school cost after I subtract grants and scholarships?

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What students there say

Always ask several students:

    Why did you pick this school, and are you happy with your decision?
    What do I need to know about this school that isnít in the brochures?
    What are the strengths and weaknesses of this school? of this major?

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For more information, e-mail or call (609) 586-4800, ext. 3307.

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