Ten Questions to Ask at College Fairs

College fairs are a good opportunity to learn more about a prospective school. Many times, a college admissions officer will be joined by a local alumni or current student which provides you a chance to dig deeper and ask some questions whose answers may not be found on the school’s website or in a brochure:


How do first year students pick their classes?

Some colleges have a regimented program for first year students regardless of major. 


Are some majors more competitive than others to gain admission?

Some colleges specialize in specific programs and by declaring you want to enter that program it may make it more difficult for you to gain admission. You should also ask about the possibility of entering undeclared and then changing your major after your first year. 


What do students do in their free time?

This is a great question to ask alumni and current students and will reveal a lot about the school. Do students go home on weekends? Are there on-campus social activities? Is there a large Greek culture? As much as academics are important, so is the social aspect of a 4-year school.


How helpful is the college’s alumni network?

It may seem like college graduation is a long time away when you haven’t even graduated high school, but attending a college with an active and engaged alumni network will only benefit you once you’re actively looking to join the workforce. 


What changes are coming to campus in the next 5 years?

Are new dorms or a dining hall coming soon? What other large, or small, construction projects being planned during your tenure on campus and how will they affect your life as a student.


What schools are similar to yours; and in what ways are they different?

As you know by now there are countless colleges and you may be struggling to narrow down the list of which ones you want to apply to. If you’re trying to decide between a few, ask for an honest assessment of the differences. 


How are roommates and residence halls assigned for first year students?

You’re going to be sharing a room with someone for 9 months; don’t you want to know how you’re paired up and where you’re going to live? 


What is the community around the campus like?

Students and alumni will have different views of the campus community than you who have simply visited the area. They can talk about how much time they spend off-campus, where they go, and how students interact with college neighbors. Again, you’re spending four years in the community and it’s good to know what the area is like. 


How involved are faculty on campus?

Yes, you want to know if graduate students and TAs are going to be teaching your undergraduate classes. But you also want to know if your professors are involved with clubs and organizations, available outside of office hours, helpful in finding internships, and willing to connect you with influential alumni. 


How are student concerns addressed by the administration?

Whether you have an issue with something being served in the dining hall or you’re concerned about campus safety, you want to know the school’s administration is paying attention to your concerns.