If you’re planning to pursue the arts at a collegiate level, college visits are a crucial part of your decision-making process. Sure, you need to narrow down your selections based on practical factors like cost, location, faculty, etc, but when you visit a college it’s important to get a feel for one of those unquantifiable factors: campus life.
When you go on a guided visit, it’s your college tour guide’s job to sell you on the school. Don’t get us wrong, they’ll tell you really useful information, but to make the most out of your visit, try asking them more personal questions about their college experience. That way you can learn a little bit more about campus life and whether you could be happy there in real life (not just on paper).
1. “How’s the food here?”
This is a pretty basic question that will get your college tour guide to open up a little bit. Food can be such a unifying force on campus--everybody has to eat! For artists in particular, fueling your body is fueling your art. Find out if the college has one dining hall or several, what kind of meal plan options there are, and if there are any other kinds of restaurants on campus. Although you probably aren’t (and shouldn’t be) basing your college decision on the quality of food it serves, you can get to know a little more about the culture by learning how students eat.
2. “What was your roommate situation like?”
If you’re living on campus, you might be a little concerned about your “roommate situation.” Ask current students or your college tour guide about what it was like with their roommate freshman year, where they lived, how they liked it. Find out if the school tries to put students from the same major together. When you ask for personal stories, you’re more likely to get a real look into what dorm life is like.
3. “What’s your favorite campus tradition?”
Unique traditions can really help deepen the sense of community on a college campus. You can feel like you’re part of something bigger because all students go through a similar experience. If this is an important factor for you, learning a little more about these traditions can help you get a feel for what it would be like to be a part of the student body.
4. “Have you had any summer internships or jobs around here?”
This question can work in two ways. On one hand, you can learn more about how well the college connects students with outside opportunities, and on the other hand, you can find out what the town is like when students aren’t around. Especially for the arts, it’s important to know how well-connected the college is and if the town itself has a lot of opportunities.
The answers to these questions shouldn’t necessarily make or break your college decision for you, but they will help you get a better, more well-rounded view of campus as a whole. And help you down the path of making your final decision.