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It’s perfectly normal to get the jitters if you’re embarking on your first college campus tour. It’s a lot to take in, and you’re in the process of making some big decisions that will help you shape your future. Part of the process is listening and observing, but an equally important part of that process is asking questions. It can be impossible to find out everything you need to know on a single tour, but you’ll have the opportunity to get some facts that will play a crucial role in your decision making process.

1. What’s the Transition Process Like?

Going from high school to college is a huge transition, even if you’ve taken a gap year. You don’t want to feel like you’ve been thrown to the wolves and you need to figure everything out all by yourself. You’re already stepping up to tackle bigger challenges—make sure you know how the transition process works and what systems the college has in place for freshmen.

2. What is it Like to Live Here?

If you’re planning to live on campus, ask specifically about how the living situation works. Do people have enough space? Is it generally clean and quiet? If you’re planning to relocate to an apartment near the campus, ask questions about the general area. Your tour guide likely knows the city well.

3. How Safe is This Campus?

Campus safety is very important. You’ll want to ask about both physical safety and cyber safety. If the university has recently been hacked through their open internet, that’s something important you’ll need to know before you use their WiFi to buy something or pay a bill online. If there are high crime rates in the area, it might be worth making a longer commute to school.

4. How Are Recent Grads Doing?

Some colleges create more professionals than others. If the recent alumni are doing well in their chosen fields, that’s the best sign that a college is the real deal. Colleges that help grads with career placement are invaluable. Look into the future a little bit, and think about the things you’ll need to know on the day you graduate.

5. Are There Work Opportunities on Campus?

Some campuses offer more work opportunities than others. If you plan to work on campus, it helps to get a good idea of what the wages and arrangements are like. If you can’t make them work for you, you might want to look for another way to work your way through school. You might want to supplement campus work with another part time job, and you’ll need to get started on that process as soon as you can.

6. What is the Most Surprising Thing You Learned About This College?

The answer could be good, bad, or neutral. Maybe students take their health very seriously and enjoy working out together a few days a week. Maybe they have very loud parties all the time that might disrupt your studies. Maybe a famous person graduated from there. Whatever the answer you receive, you won’t be as surprised as your tour guide was, for better or worse.

7. Where Do I Go If I Need Help or Resources?

Is it easy to get tutoring services on campus? Who do I talk to if I’m having a serious problem? What if something gets mixed up with my schedule? These are questions you want to know the answers to before you find yourself in that situation. Figure out how the college staff or other students are there to support you on your educational voyage.

The more productive questions you ask, the easier it will be for you to come to an informed decision about your educational future. As long as you aren’t asking personal questions of students or guides you haven’t had the opportunity to get to know, virtually any question pertaining to the college will provide an answer you can use to plan your life.

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