Summer, summer, summer time! Summer is an exciting time for soon to be high school juniors and seniors, and their parents, to engage in research. Research you say? Yes, get with university lingo, and call your visits to college campuses research! This research should be fun. One element of this research is conducted by listening to admissions presentations and going on campus tours – a real living-learning laboratory!
Since I recently started working at a new university, I attended an admissions presentation and campus tour a few days ago. During the presentation, and while on the campus tour, the majority of the questions were asked by the parents. This did not surprise me, but I encourage you, student, to ask questions when you visit/tour. Only two students, out of about 40, asked questions during the one and half hour we were together.
In addition to reading Chapter Four of ‘On the Quad’ and using our free visit and tours worksheet available on this website, I challenge you to come up with a list of 3-5 questions you would ask if you already knew you were accepted to the institution. While enjoying the admissions presentation, put yourself in the mind frame of ‘I have been accepted here! They want me! Now, this is what I want to know about them, in order for me to say “yes” to spending the next 4-5 years of my life here!’
Colleges fill their admissions websites with the answers to the questions they get asked most frequently, so review the website before the visit, and focus on asking questions that are not found there. University students, staff and faculty are quick to share their personal experiences, so do not hesitate to ask questions that sound similar to this: “Based on your experiences at (name of institution), what would you recommend …?” You can even follow that question up with, “How would your best friend (or favorite professor) answer the same question?” If you are a bit shy, or nervous about asking questions, focus on the fact that 1) you will more than likely never see the people you are on the tour with ever again, and 2) no question is a dumb question – college is a new experience for you!
Enjoy your summer research! And, remember, ‘On the Quad’ has a whole chapter dedicated to this; don’t forget to take a few copies of the visit/tours worksheet with you!