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Choose a College

Fiske's List of Questions to Ask Your Tour Guide

Information adapted from Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.

If you go on a college tour during your college visit, an undergraduate student will probably be your tour guide. Be prepared with a list of questions to ask your tour guide; you can find out most of what you want know about the school—and you can get a student perspective on things. Edward Fiske has some questions to help you get started with your list.

Who will teach me next year?

At many universities, senior faculty teach mainly graduate students and upperclassmen. Find out who teaches the general education courses that all students must take during their freshman and sophomore years.

How big are freshman classes?

Forget about student-faculty ratios. Find out how big your classes will be during your first year.

What happens on a typical weekend?

This will give you a sense of the overall character of the student body, as well as the range of options that would be open to you as a student.

What issues do students talk about?

Casual conversation says a lot about the intellectual atmosphere of a college. Political and social issues play a key role in student life at some and are hardly ever mentioned at others. Find out if students would rather talk about the president's economic policy or the fraternity house's beer bash.

What are this college’s biggest drawbacks?

Honest or not, the answer should be interesting.