Visiting Colleges? 9 Things to Ask Your Tour Guide

Touring prospective colleges is your first step to independence and getting a quality education. However, while college is a great place to make friends, get a fresh start, and of course, learn about a field you’re interested in, finding the right college for you and your needs can be difficult. Tours provide you with the perfect opportunity to learn about school culture, academics, and more before or after you apply to colleges so you can determine whether they’re the right choice. 

visiting colleges

To make the most of your college visits, you should have questions prepared for your tour guide, who is most likely a student or recent graduate. Your tour guide is a knowledgeable person who has experienced the school first-hand to tell you everything you need to know. Here are questions you should ask your tour guide when visiting colleges. 

How Large Are Classes?

Many colleges will be happy to tell you how large classes can get. Some universities have large classes no matter what year you are, but most colleges typically have larger class sizes for the core classes that you’re required to take. The specialized classes that help you achieve your degree in a particular field will be much smaller. 

Class size might be an issue for some because students want the opportunity to learn from professors who can focus on their needs rather than those overwhelmed with hundreds, if not thousands of students every semester. Remember, though, the classes about your major will likely be much smaller than the core classes that everyone attending the university must take. 

Are Professors Accessible Outside of Class?

Many professors have office hours where students can come and speak to them when they’re not in class. However, some professors require you to make an appointment so they can ensure they’ll be available for you. Remember, your professors likely don’t live on or near campus like you will, and they have lives outside of teaching. If you must meet with a professor, it’s best to email them or ask in person to set up an appointment. 

Where Do Students Live?

While many American universities are large enough to house most of their students in the dorms, others might not allow everyone to live on campus. If you’re not from the surrounding area, living on campus is the most affordable option. Additionally, landlords and homeowners rent to college students around campus. Depending on your financial situation, you might choose to get your apartment with a friend to have a full kitchen and a bathroom all to yourself. 

Is Changing Majors Easy?

Many freshmen go into college with an undecided major because they want to take different classes and learn about different fields before choosing one. Other students have a preferred major while they’re still in high school. Whether you chose your major as a freshman or are undecided, you should be able to change majors easily by contacting your counselor. 

However, changing your major at some schools is easier than others, depending on the types of classes you’ll be taking, the classes you’ve taken elsewhere if you are a transfer or took summer school, and how accessible your counselor can be.

How Much Homework Can You Expect?

College is much different from high school; instead of having classes during a set block of time, you’ll have classes at different times of the day with long breaks in between. For example, you might have a math class that begins at 8 am, but your second class does not begin until the afternoon. 

Your schedule will take some getting used to, and you might have to fit in homework in between classes. Learning how many hours of homework you can expect outside of class can help you understand whether or not you’ll be able to handle your class load. 

Is There Free Tutoring?

Many universities and colleges employ students to tutor others for free. However, if you can’t find one, you can easily ask a professor or other students if they know of any tutors that you can pay to help you with your classwork. Additionally, you’ll be making new friends with the other students in your classes. You might not need a tutor when you have a really good study buddy. 

Is There Career Counseling?

The whole reason you’re going to college is to learn enough about a field so you can get a job after graduating. However, job-seeking after graduation can be difficult if you don’t get the proper career counseling. Most universities have some form of support for recent graduates to help them find jobs. 

How Do You Pay for School?

Not everyone can afford to go to college without racking up any student loans. Your tour guide might have taken out student loans or started working to be able to afford the university. Even if you plan to take out student loans, you might want to learn about different ways you can pay for college and have a little extra for spending. Your tour guide can inform you about the different types of jobs you can have on campus or let you know of the different local businesses that hire students. 

What Do Students Do For Fun?

Having fun in college shouldn’t be your number one priority, but your overall experience should be enjoyable. As a freshman, you’ll be meeting new people all the time and getting invited to parties and events. Depending on what you like to do for fun, you might enjoy going to a school that’s known for having rallies or one that likes to tailgate. Not to mention, everyone loves walking around campus and seeing all the dogs that families or faculty will bring on campus. There is truly no better joy than one that a furry friend can bring you. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask 

It can be difficult to ask questions when you’re on a college tour as a prospective student. However, if you’re serious about going to this college, you must ask the right questions to ensure it’s not only a good fit for you, but it’s a place where you want to live, study, and even work. Being a new student at a university can be stressful, and it’s up to you to find the right college for you.

Author Bio:

Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.