One of the best ways to get to know a college or university better is to visit the campus. Ideally, you’ll want to talk to the admission staff, the students and the lecturers. Here’s what questions you should be asking…
To the admission staff:
- What scholarships, grants, bursaries and campus work opportunities are available?
- What courses and programmes do they offer?
- How easy is it to get into an activity that interests you? It could be anything from a sports team to the student newspaper.
- What orientation programmes are there for freshers?
- What do you look for in an applicant?
- What sort of support services do you provide? Is there a campus health centre? How near is the closest hospital?
- Is there any kind of shuttle service between classroom areas, the library, the student union and dorms? How late does it run?
- Is there any security system to bar outsiders from entering?
Ask the faculty:
- What do you like about teaching here? What are the students like?
- Why is your course different from that at any other university?
- Are there opportunities for work placement, internships or study abroad?
- Who are the faculty’s alumni? What are they doing now?
- Will there be guest speakers?
- How much teaching time and what other learning resources does the course offer?
- Can you recommend any reading that would help with my application?
- Who are my lecturers? Have they got industry experience?
Ask the students:
- Why did you choose this university?
- What do you like best or hate most about it?
- Do your professors know you by name? Do you see them outside class? What are they like?
- What are the classes like? Find out more about the types of presentations you’re required to do, the amount of research you must conduct and how proactive must you be to do well?
- What are some of the most difficult courses? Why?
- Which lecturer should you be wary of and which ones are very helpful?
- What’s the workload like? Is it more than what was expected?
- Is it easy to make new friends here?
- What’s life like in the halls of residence? Find out more about accommodation choices.
- What do students do here to socialise and get to know new people?
- What clubs and societies are there? Is it easy to get into them?
- What’s the campus like during weekends? What are some of the popular spots in and around campus?
- Do you feel safe here?
- How is the food quality in the cafeteria or dining hall? What are the size portions? Are there meal plans?
- When you ask for help do you get it?
- How helpful is the international office?
- Whom should you speak to if you wanted to get a part time job? Remember, being introduced to a job is one of the easiest ways to make some money while studying.
Finally, ask yourself:
- Can I see myself studying here for three years or longer?
- What course here interests and challenges me?
- How did the staff members interact with the students? Were they friendly or authoritarian?
- Do the students seem like you or are they completely different?
- Would I enjoy spending time with the people I met in this university?
- Is this university location perfect for me?
- Do I have other friends already studying here or have decided to study here?
- What is my financial situation?
It’s important that you list down all these questions and ask them when you’re doing the campus visit. Do not feel shy that you’ve got so many questions. The team will be more than happy to answer your questions and put your worries to rest. It’s also essential that you take notes of everything – do not rely on your memory especially when you’re visiting so many campuses. When you get home and have had a few days of rest, take out your notes and write comparisons of all the universities you’ve been to. If you still have questions or have nearly decided which one’s your choice, make a second visit to be sure.
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