Questions to Ask When Applying for College

There are many different questions to ask about college when considering where you want to go or where you might want to apply. One time at a college fair, I asked a student who was looking at my table if she had any questions. She looked up at me and said she hasn’t given going to college much thought and didn’t know what to even ask. I took the opportunity to share some advice when it comes to the whole college search process.

I suggested that she take some time to think about some important factors such as what she wants to study, whether or not she wants to stay home or live somewhere else, if she wants to go to a public school or a private one, how much is she willing to spend, and so on.

These are the questions to ask before going to college that every high school student should be considering while they’re deciding on which colleges to apply to. Once they’ve answered them for themselves, they can then move on to the logistics of the application.

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Questions to Ask Before Choosing a College or University

The process to deciding on if and where you want to go to college can sometimes feel overwhelming. Here are some of the most important college selection questions to consider when deciding if and where you might want to apply for college. By taking the time to consider and answer some of these questions you will have a better idea, and be better prepared, in narrowing down between college choices. So utilize these to help making a decision more manageable and easier:

  • What are you interested in studying? What colleges offer that major?
    Not every college will offer specific majors, but deciding what you are interested in can help narrow down the number of colleges that might interest you. If you are undecided on what you might want to study consider a college that offers multiple majors you are interested in.
  • Where do you want to live? Do you plan on living on campus or at home?
    Some colleges may require that freshman live on campus, others may not. Look into housing options, choices, and price. These factors can all be important when deciding if you want to apply to a college.
  • Do you want small classes of a private school or big classes at a public school?
    Colleges come in all shapes and sizes. Often private universities offer smaller class sizes while public colleges typically have larger student to teacher ratios. These can be important factors when determining what learning environment might best suite your needs.
  • What is your budget for college? Have you applied for scholarships?
    Budget can be a big factor for many students interested in applying to college. Aside from looking at the total cost of attendance it’s important to consider other factors like scholarships the college offers and financial aid awards the college gives to students.

Narrowing It Down: Questions to Ask When Applying to a College or University

When they’ve put together a list of schools that they’re interested in, students should do some more research on what each school is looking for. Find admission requirements, figure out whether an essay is needed or not, is there an application fee. Knowing this information can help students and families navigate the application process and assist with the college search process.

  • What are the requirements of the schools that interest you? Do you meet them?
    Most colleges will have GPA requirements, SAT and ACT test score requirements and various other requirements from potential students. Look into them before applying to know if you meet them or need to take certain standardized tests before applying.
  • What materials or fees are required for the application?
    Some colleges will have essay requirements, or letters of recommendations needed before you can submit your application. Many colleges might also require a fee to send in an application for consideration, these can be important to know so that you can have everything prepared before the application deadline.
  • Who is the counselor at the college to talk to for more information?
    If you have further questions there is always a counselor to reach out to, find their information and get into contact with them. They are there to answer your questions, so don’t be afraid to ask!

Navigating the college search and application process can be overwhelming at first. Knowing what questions to ask college counselors and admissions representatives can make it less daunting Ultimately, there is a whole team of advocates ready to help you on your journey.

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About the Author — Marcos Canales

Hello. My name is Marcos Canales, and I am a Freshman Admission Counselor at the University of St. Thomas. I earned a B.A. in Sociology, and M.S. in Education with an emphasis on student services. I have been working in higher education for over ten years. During my career, I’ve dedicated myself to helping college students realize their potential for success, and I’m excited to be a part of a school that also has a passion for helping people achieve their academic goals.

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