Bringing your parents to a college tour is a really great idea. They can help you keep track of all the information being thrown your way, and help you understand a lot of the details when it comes to tuition costs and financial aid.
(Plus, who knows? Maybe you’ll get to hear stories from when they were in college.)
But while your parents only have your best interests at heart, they may not ask all the questions that really matter to you. We’ve written before about what to ask students in your major, as well as questions to bring to your admissions representative—but what about the little things that will affect you day to day? Those little things are the kinds of things that your parents may not know—or may not want—to ask.
Check out these six questions to pose to your tour guide that your folks probably won’t.
1. What’s the scene like off campus?
Restaurants, nightlife, coffee shops, art galleries, live music venues—your college town (or city) may have a lot to offer on the weekends when you feel like getting away from campus. Find out what the locals do for fun when they’re not hitting the books.
If you’re interested in joining a fraternity or sorority, a college tour is a great time to start exploring your options. Find out about the local chapters, what they’re about, and if they’re a good fit for you—and your academic and career goals. If you’re looking to go to a school that knows how to work hard and play hard, you might want to ask questions on what students do on nights and weekends.
3. Do students get a discount on technology at the bookstore?
Many (but not all) college bookstores will offer a discount to students who need to purchase phones, tablets, laptops, or desktop computers for schoolwork (and maybe a little Netflix-binging on the side). Speaking of discounts, ask about other places on and off campus that provide a discount to students at your school. For example, Apple is famous for offering exclusive education pricing for college students.
4. Where do students actually hang out?
Where do students go on campus to spend time away from their studies? Is there a coffee shop in the union that’s popular, or do most students go off campus to blow off a little steam? You can also check in with current students to find out where they spend their time.
5. Is the wifi on campus any good?
A good, strong wireless signal is going to be your lifeline—and not just for catching up on episodes of The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. Keeping in contact with faculty, submitting homework online, and making plans with your study groups is going to eat up your data plan if you’re not connected to campus wifi. Find out what students have to say about wireless connectivity.
6. What support services are available to me?
At most colleges, you’ll find a lot of opportunities for support and community, depending on your needs and what you’re looking for. Some schools offer mental wellbeing and counseling services to students, but you’ll want to find out if they cost you anything out of pocket.
Looking for more information on how to ask the right questions when researching colleges? Be sure to download the 20 Questions to Ask Before Applying to College eBook!