Another key ingredient in a satisfactory and successful college choice is finding the right mix of people and ideas. If you're most at home exploring things on your own, you may not feel all that comfortable at a school where student life stresses sororities and fraternities or the dorms pack people in three to a room. The political climate and social whirl of college life may not seem important to your decision now, but it will have a lot to do with your overall comfort level once you've unpacked and settled down to daily college life.
Asking your college admissions counselor about campus life outside of the classroom will help you understand better if you'll fit the vibe there, and doing a little more digging like actually asking students about their activities and opinions about their school will help, too. These questions will get you started:
- How vigorous is student government, and is it inclined to be liberal or conservative?
- Which student clubs are the most active, and how robust is the social community on campus?
- Which college-sponsored activities receive the greatest support?
- How would you describe Greek life here?
- What is the sports scene like and how much does it contribute to school spirit?
- What academic and social support is there for first year students?
- What's the drop out rate for first year students?
- What percentage of incoming freshmen graduate with a degree?
- How accessible is public transportation?
- Where are the nearest hospitals, cultural venues, shopping districts, et cetera?
- What types of services are available on campus? This might include health, job placement, mentoring, and other social or personal services that could make college life easier or more meaningful.
To be able to evaluate the answers you get to the questions above, it's a good idea to understand a little about yourself, too. Even though the college years are partly a process of discovery, you probably have a fair understanding of your style and personality, and although you may be trying to balance the way you are now with the way you want to be in the future, maneuvering your way through the challenges of a college career as well as a complete personal overhaul may be asking too much. The object of these questions is to find a college that will allow you to achieve your academic goals while still nurturing your unique character and nature.
Follow us to the next page where we'll explore some important academic questions to ask a college admissions counselor.