We all know that college visits are designed to allow students to find the right college fit: to explore, ask questions and get a feel for campuses and what each school has to offer. Students should be armed with a list of questions about each school to learn the most they can on tours.
Parents, too, should be asking thoughtful questions. While it’s great to put the responsibility of finding out all he can about a college, I’ll bet that young Johnny’s not thinking about things like campus health services.
Check out this list of essential questions parents should ask on each college visit.
What is the full cost of attendance at your college?
It’s of course important to learn what tuition and housing costs are on your family’s visit. But don’t neglect the full cost of attending the college, which includes how much your teen will need for food, transportation, books, supplies, course fees and campus fees.
What is the retention rate of your college?
The retention rate of a college is the percentage of students who return to that college the next year. This gives an indication about whether students are generally satisfied with their college experience. If it’s not very favorable, ask if the college has a sense of why this is the case. The school should also have a system in place to ensure that students are successful once they’re enrolled, so ask about student support.
What’s your college’s graduation rate?
The graduation rate refers to the percentage of a college’s freshmen students who graduate from the school usually within four, five or six years. It’s important for your teen to get the most out of their college experience, and it might be that a change in majors, retaking courses or taking some personal time off can extend things past the 4-year mark. Taking additional semesters can also mean paying more in tuition and fees, so it’s important to know this statistic when starting out. If the graduation rate is low, ask why.
What kind of medical and counseling services are available on campus? In town?
Some colleges have extensive health services to offer to students, while others rely on outside sources like urgent care clinics. Campus health centers are typically free to students, but testing and treatment tend not to be. Ask about your teen’s health insurance coverage while away from home, and what health insurance support or out-of-pocket costs you might expect. Also, emergencies happen at all hours – make sure you know where to get that sort of help, and how your kid will get there.
How are roommates chosen?
A major part of your teenager’s experience at college will be influenced by who he or she lives with. Learn about how the college places students together in housing and how they deal with potential conflicts or incompatibility.
Let’s continue the conversation! What tips do you have to make the most out of college visits? Leave a comment below.