Choosing a College: What to Ask Alumni About Their School

If you get the opportunity to ask an alumnus about the school they chose, definitely take it! The chance may come during a college interview or you may know a neighbor who attended the university that’s on your short list. You might even want to reach out to college alumni online through LinkedIn or a social media group. However you talk to them, here are a few questions you should be asking.

Why Did You Choose This School?

This is one of the first questions you should be bringing up. If the alumnus had the same priorities you do now, this can provide plenty of insight into the college and their own thought process. See what they have to say about their major, the location, and maybe even things they heard about the college before they submitted their application.

What Did You Think of the College After Four+ Years?

You know why they attended the college, but what were their impressions of the school after they graduated? Do they wish they attended another school? Or were they satisfied or even thrilled with their experience? What’s the reasoning behind their answer? (And if they were unhappy with their decision, don’t rule it out for yourself just yet! It may still be the perfect choice for you. You might want to consider talking to more alumni!)

What Were Your Favorite Classes?

If you’re planning to major in the same subject the alumnus majored in, this is a great question to bring up. This provides them an opportunity to go into depth about their favorite classes overall but also the courses that helped them most in their career or may have been the most enjoyable.

What Did You Think of the Campus and Extracurricular Activities?

The campus and surrounding city are nearly as important as the courses. After all, you might not be happy if you love the feel of a small town and the school you’re considering is in a big city. Get the alumnus’s opinion on all aspects of campus life, the town, and any activities or clubs they participated in. Also, ask if they recommend any clubs.

How Did The School Prepare You For Your Career?

This question could have several answers, such as talking about the courses in particular that helped them get where they are today or the resources on campus that help seniors find positions right after graduation. The alumnus may also want to talk about how connections and networking on campus with both fellow students and faculty helped their career.

What Advice Do You Have if I Attend This College?

If you’re leaning towards this college choice, a bit of advice never hurts! It may even help you if you decide to attend a different school. Get their opinion on professors within your major or even general education courses as well as any advice they can provide for your freshman year. Learn from their experiences and mistakes so you can make the best of your own four years.

These are only a few questions you’ll want to bring up to the alumnus either during an interview or just a friendly chat. Try to brainstorm some more questions before your meeting to make sure you’re covering everything that’s important to you.

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