The best reason to visit a college campus is to get a personal feeling for the quality of education being offered there. While on a campus visit, you and your teen should ask questions that will reveal a school’s commitment to providing the best educational environment. The questions that follow can help:
Level of academic challenge?
Challenging intellectual and creative work is central to maintaining a quality learning environment.
- To what degree is studying and spending time on academic work emphasized?
- Do faculty hold students to high standards?
- How much time do students spend on homework each week?
- How much writing is expected?
- How much reading is expected?
Active and collaborative learning?
Students learn more when they are directly involved in their education and have opportunities to collaborate with others in solving problems or mastering difficult material.
- How often do students discuss ideas in class?
- How often are topics from class discussed outside of the classroom?
- Do students work together on projects – inside and outside of class?
- How often do students make class presentations?
- How many students participate in community-based projects in regular courses?
- How many students apply their classroom learning to real life through internships or off-campus field experiences?
- Do students have opportunities to tutor or teach other students?
In general, the more contact students have with their teachers, the better. Working with a professor on a research project or serving with faculty members on a college committee or community organization lets students see first-hand how experts identify and solve practical problems.
- Are faculty members accessible and supportive?
- How many students work on research projects with faculty?
- Do students receive prompt feedback on academic performance?
- How often do students talk with their teachers about what they are learning in class?
- How often do students talk with advisors or faculty members about their career plans?
- Do students and faculty members work together on committees and projects outside of course work?
Enriching educational experiences?
Educationally superior colleges offer a variety of learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom that complement the goals of the academic program. One of the most important is exposure to students and faculty from diverse backgrounds.
- What types of honors courses, learning communities, and other distinctive programs are offered?
- In what ways do faculty use technology in their classes?
- How often do students interact with peers with different social, political, or religious views?
- How often do students interact with peers from different racial or ethnic backgrounds?
- How many students study in other countries?
- Do students participate in activities that enhance their spirituality?
- What percentage of students do community service?
- What kinds of activities are students involved in outside of the classroom?
- What kinds of events does the campus sponsor?
- Is a culminating senior year experience required?
Supportive campus environment?
Students perform better and are more satisfied at colleges that are committed to their success—and that cultivate positive working and social relationships among different groups on campus.
- How well do students get along with other students?
- Are students satisfied with their overall educational experience?
- How much time do students devote to co-curricular activities?
- How well do students get along with administrators and staff?
- To what extent does the school help students deal with their academic and social needs?