15 Questions to Ask on a College or University Campus Tour

Campus tours are awesome. It’s like getting a sneak peak into your future. You get to see what the environment of each college or university is like, how the students interact with one another, what amenities are available on campus, what the living quarters look like, and so much more. So when your parents or teachers suggest attending a campus tour, don’t roll your eyes just yet. Campus tours can give you insight into your future, and get you even more excited about what’s to come. However, not all campus tours and guides are created equal. Ensure you get all the information and perspective you need by asking these 15 questions. If you have more than 15 questions to ask, never hesitate. After all, that particular college or university could very well be your home for the next several years.

Why did you Choose this School?

Your campus tour guide clearly has a passion about the college or university you’re considering, and now is the perfect opportunity to find out why. Additionally, they likely have a vast range of experience and knowledge about the area, amenities and entertainment, as well as the school itself. So ask your campus tour guide why they chose this school over all the others. It can give you some insight as to why that particular college or university may be the better option for you. However, one person’s opinion may not be enough perspective to make such an important decision, so you may also want to ask several other students to gather as many different motivating factors as you can. Some specific questions you can ask to gain even more insight include:

1. Why did you decide to enroll here?
2. Would you change that now that you’re a current student?
3. What’s your best and worst academic experience?
4. What professor has made an impact on you and why?
5. What safety procedures have been put in place on campus?

What is your Favourite Thing About this School?

Now that you know a little bit more information as to why your campus tour guide chose the school you’re considering, it’s time to get a little more specific. Sure, they may have chosen the school because they have a renowned program for their specific field of study, but this might not pertain to you. So ask your tour guide and other students about what makes their school great. Their answers may not have anything to do with the school and education. For example, if the party atmosphere or late and loud nights in the dorms are their favourite thing about the school, this is important to take into consideration. After all, if you’ll be focusing on your studies late into the night, excessive dorm parties may not be for you. Once you have the answers to your questions, you may want to determine how their favourite thing will affect or contribute to your education, and if there are any solutions to the discrepancies you’ve heard. For example:

6. What is the best thing about the school?
7. If you could change one thing about the school, what would it be and why?

What is the College Community Like?

While you’re attending college or university to further your education, there’s no denying that you’re also going for the fun and experience. Asking about the college community can give you some great insight on what to expect if you were to enroll at that particular school. Maybe you’re looking for a smaller, close-kit community or a much larger establishment that allows you to meet many new people on a regular basis. Finding out about the college community and asking the following questions can help you get a feel for what it’s like – and more importantly, if it’s for you.

8. What is the population of the school?
9. What is the size of the campus?
10. Are there any avenues put in place to meet new people, such as clubs, residence halls, etc.?
11. What are the relationships like between professors’ and students?
12. What is available for entertainment, on and off campus?

How’s the Food?

You have to eat, and you have to eat healthily in order to study properly and succeed throughout your postsecondary education. However, simply asking, “how is the food” may not give you all the information you need. After all, your campus tour guide could simply say that it’s good or bad, and carry onto the next question, so be sure to ask more specific questions about the food, such as:

13. If you could change one thing about the cafeteria meal plans, what would it be?
14. If applicable, ask “Are there options for people with special dietary needs, whether vegan, gluten-free, etc.?”
15. Do most students recommend eating off-campus, or in the cafeteria and why?

By asking the right questions, you can find out a lot of information and personal perspective that can’t always be found on the school’s website or brochure. However, keep in mind that the answers you received are based on his or her personal experience. So, take the answers you receive as insightful information but don’t let them be the sole deciding factor on whether or not you wish to enroll.

4 Study Tips when Starting College or University

Being a freshman is exciting, but don’t let the fun take over your studies. There’s no denying that your days, schedule, classes, and study regime in college or university will be significantly different from when you were in high school. Late night classes, early morning study sessions, and part-time employment are only a few of the many things you have to juggle. More importantly, you don’t want one thing to jeopardize another and this is particularly true when it comes to your studies. So instead of cramming in a 3AM study session, start managing your time and following these four study tips so you can learn effectively well throughout the course of the year.

1. Review Regularly

One of the best study habits you can have is to begin studying well before a test or exam date approaches. Reviewing your lectures, textbooks, assignments and seminars on a regular basis will continuously feed your brain the knowledge, and at a steady pace. This can help you retain more information over the long run, and ultimately, prepare you for when exam week comes around. Get in the habit of doing the following right at the start of the year so you can succeed right until the end.

  • Review your Notes Daily and Weekly
    • Each day, take the time to review your notes and edit them as needed. Make sure they’re comprehensible and organize them with staples and sections so you can easily reference certain sections and topics as needed.
  • Rewrite Notes and Content from Textbooks
    • While you’re reviewing your notes, you’ll probably see plenty of areas that can be edited – so do just that! Rewrite your notes, and rewrite sections of your textbooks into your study notes so you have all the information needed in one organized place. Rewriting notes also helps to retain the information.

2. Organize, Identify and Integrate

Once you know what you have to study for an upcoming exam, it’s time to organize, identify and integrate the information. Although you may think that studying is actually the process of memorizing the information you need to memorize, it all starts with identifying what you need to know, and more importantly, identifying what you don’t know, and then, integrating it all together. All three are important this steps that should be done well prior to the exam date to ensure you have enough time to properly organize and integrate and study the information. Here’s a quick breakdown of how to do that:

  • Identify and address topics you are having a hard time understanding
    • Review old tests to see where you had errors
    • Identify exam specifics so you know what to study for a specific date
  • Make a study guide
    • Integrate information specific to the lectures, textbook pages, and readings that will be on the exam
  • Create an outline to condense an abundance of information into an organized system
    • Focus on key issues, concepts and broad subjects
    • Use concept maps along with text

3. Plan Ahead

Proper planning is a crucial to successful study, and as such, it is arguably one of the best study tips you could put into play. After all, if you don’t plan your time, you may not have enough time to properly study and put these study tips into action. There are a couple of things you need to consider to ensure you set up the perfect plan for your studying:

  • Determine the best time to study
    • Choose a study time when you are most awake and highly alert
  • Determine a study place
    • Find an area that is well lit, isolated, quiet and distraction-free for all your studying needs
  • Dedicate time
    • Schedule time to study and time for 5-10 minute breaks, and stick to it

4. Study Actively

Anyone can tell you to study actively, but what does that really mean? Since you have the prior studying tips down pat, it’s time to move onto the successful study tips that will help you effectively retain as much information as possible:

  • Study Groups
    • Set up a study group 2-3 times a week for 60-90 minutes
    • Establish rules to ensure time is spent studying effectively
    • Designate a person per topic, and let each teach the material to the group
  • Memorization Techniques
    • Create flashcards
    • Draw diagrams
    • Use acronyms, analogies, keywords and mnemonics

Studying isn’t always fun, but it doesn’t have to be dreadful, exasperating, or ineffective. Follow these four study tips and prevail well throughout your course of education.

5 Financial Questions for Parents about College and University

As a parent, you’ve probably taken on the role of doing most of the practical planning as you prepare to send your child off to college or university. Unfortunately, this often means more than simply finding maps, restaurants, and setting up appointments with college representatives. Now, if you’re one of the lucky parents that isn’t doing all the planning, good for you. However, if you are the practical planner, it’s important that you don’t overlook one important factor: Finances. Here are five financial questions about college and university that every parent should know the answers to.

1. How much does College or University Cost?

This question is very broad, but one that shouldn’t be underestimated. Each college and university will have a different total of tuition. However, knowing the general cost of admissions will help you get a better idea of the total amount of money needed to invest in your child’s future. It’s important to revise your questions to more specifics if the answers you’re receiving only pertain to tuition. After all, there are many additional costs, and all need to be considered. Here’s what your total estimate should include:

  • Tuition
  • Books
  • Room and board
  • Fees
  • Transportation
  • Living expenses
  • Supplies and equipment

2. What Financial Aid Programs are Available?

Even if you can afford the total of college or university for your child, a little bit of financial help is always appreciated. Ask about the financial aid available. While the financial aid officer won’t be able to give you a definite amount without the specifics, you can get a good, general estimate of what you will have to pay. Additionally, financial aid deals can often be negotiated to get the best possible award. Some of the most common types of financial aid programs that can help with this paramount investment into your child’s education include:

  • Grants
  • Scholarships
  • Student loans

3. What if my Financial Situation Changes?

The world can be quite unpredictable, and that’s one word you never want to hear when it comes to finances. When you invest in your child’s post-secondary education, it’s not only for the first year – or even the duration of their enrollment. Depending on the financial help you’ve opted for, you could be responsible for that amount until it is fully paid off. Ask the college or university what will happen if your financial circumstances change while your child is attending their school. Some will give you some time to appeal, whereas others will re-evaluate the financial aid. Some things to inquire about include:

  • Loss of employment
  • Death in the family
  • Significant injury or illness

4. What Happens with Financial Aid After the First Year?

Each year provides the perfect opportunity to readjust things as needed, depending on the financial aid you’ve been awarded. Some are only one-time-only awards, whereas others remain throughout the course of enrollment. Discuss the different avenues that are available for your child’s financial aid after the first year to see if there are any better options. Maybe they have to maintain a certain average in order to keep the financial aid, or stay in a specific major. Additional things you may want to consider include:

  • What could stay the same
  • What could increase
  • What could decrease

5. How can my Child Graduate Early?

While this may not seem like a financial question right off the bat, you must remember that the longer your child is in school, the more money will be required. Generally, the fewer years it takes the graduate, the less borrowing and tuition increases you have to endure. Again, this depends on the school, major, and courses they’ve enrolled in, but it’s certainly worth asking. Once you have the information needed, you may want to take the time to discuss the following with your child:

  • If they take longer to graduate, the loan borrowing potential could run out
  • Tuition and loan costs could increase over time
  • If your financial circumstances change, your child may have to become more responsible for the finances of his or her schooling

Post-secondary education and finances – two things that go hand-in-hand with one another. However, with the right questions you can feel more confident about this significant yet important investment you’re making for your child’s education and future.

Differences Between College and University

College and university – two terms often mistaken for the same thing. But the reality is that, although they are similar, both have their own set of distinct purposes that separate one from the other. From learning styles, degree values, courses, and much more, there are some major differences between college and university. Evaluating the characteristics of each can help you find the best option to advance your education – so as you begin to explore the available opportunities for your postsecondary education, there are some things to consider.

What is College?

There’s a common misconception that colleges are less valuable than universities, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Colleges are simply different from university programs, and depending on the educational and career path you’re pursuing, college could very well be the better option for you. In fact, college is more career-oriented than other options, and as such, they typically offer more hands-on training – and that’s only naming a few reasons why people choose college over university. Here are a few of the major distinctions:

  • Education and training in trades, apprenticeship, language, skill upgrading, entry-level and vocational positions, etc.
  • Hands-on learning
  • Full and part-time study opportunities
  • Smaller class sizes
  • Three levels of certification
    • Certificates
      • Takes 1 year to complete
      • Sometimes required for employment
      • Typically taken to advance in their field
    • Diplomas
      • Takes 2-3 years to complete
      • More general than certificates
    • Bachelor (Associate) degrees
      • Takes 3-4 years to complete
      • Training for entry-level positions and vocational fields
      • Some courses can be considered (and transferred) at par for a 4-year university education

What is University?

There’s no denying that universities are different from colleges, with one of the main distinctions being that universities offer more academic and professional programs. For example, you can attend college for nursing, but in order to be a doctor, you would have to go to university. The education and training tends to be broader than college, and focuses more on critical thinking and independent learning. You also have the option to major, minor, and specialize in different fields, depending on the courses you take. For example, you can major in Psychology but specialize in Social Work. There are also many other programmatic differences that set university apart from college:

  • Specialization in different programs with a major and minor
  • Education and training are less hands-on
  • More diverse classes and programs
  • Larger class sizes and enrollment
  • Three levels of certification
    • Undergraduate (Bachelor’s) Degree
      • Takes 3 years to complete
      • Involves a major field of study
      • Qualification for entry-level and management positions in their field
    • Master’s (Graduate) Degree
      • Takes 1-2 years to complete
      • Qualification for those with high level of expertise in respective field
      • Study is completed with a thesis
    • PhD (Doctoral) Degree
      • Takes 4-6 years to complete
      • Master’s degree must be completed prior to obtaining PhD degree
      • Most advanced level of degree
      • Qualification for being an expert in respective field

Neither college nor university is better than the other. It ultimately comes down to the actual career path you’re pursuing. Additionally, the education and training is provided differently in each setting. It’s important to evaluate and understand the differences between college and university, and research the different programs available. Doing so can help you decide which option is best for you to pursue. Both are reputable, prestigious ways to advance your education, and can land you that dream job.