The summer season has arrived at UW Oshkosh, which can only mean one thing: college visits! While you are out visiting schools it can be difficult to think of important questions so, being a tour guide myself, I have compiled a list of the top questions that I receive while giving tours at UW Oshkosh. These are in no particular order.
PS: Before I start the list… shameless plug to come visit me this summer by taking a tour! You can sign up for your visit online or by calling (920) 424-3164.
OK, here’s the list:
Can I bring my car to campus?
This is a great question to ask on tour because the parking policies on various campuses can differ. Some universities may have limited parking — or freshmen may not be able to bring a car at all. If a car is a necessity for you, make sure to ask about the parking options available to first-year students.
Are there campus activities on the weekends? What goes on?
You will want to make sure that there are activities going on not only during the week, but also on the weekend. It is important to have options to choose from so that you can stay on campus, meet new people in the campus community and have a great time. See if you can get a few examples of activities as well. (Keep an open mind with the examples! Many events you have to see for yourself to understand how fun they really are.)
How do meal plans work/do you like the campus food?
Meal plans and campus dining play a large part in the first-year experience. Makes sense, right? When you’re living on campus, you’ll be eating on-campus food every day, so you want to know that there will be a meal plan fit for you (e.g. enough food or options) AND… most importantly, that you’ll like the food. If you want some examples of the food options, ask your tour guide what their favorite on-campus food is and why. Also, you can ask what other restaurants or food is in the immediate vicinity in case you want to venture off campus with friends for a bite to eat.
Can I still play sports if I don’t want to join a university team?
Want to stay active but maybe not on an NCAA level? See what other options the school offers in the way of intramurals or club sports! Intramurals are sports that are not affiliated with the NCAA, but rather exist just for fun and recreation–they are perfect for students who don’t want to play on a university team but still want to play. Intramurals can vary from things like basketball and soccer to badminton and bean bag toss. Club sports are also an option. They are slightly more competitive than intramurals and may include some informal practice and travel around the state for competitions. See what the facilities are like for sports like this and what type of opportunities are available for you.
How do I get a roommate? What if I don’t like my roommate? How do you share a small room with someone? Can I live with someone I know?
Usually one of the things people are most worried/concerned with is roommates. After all, you might not have ever had to share a room before — let alone with a “stranger.” So asking questions about roommates and residence life is totally normal and tour guides expect it. Try asking about the university’s roommate policy: can you live with someone you know? Is there a system you can use? What is the policy if you don’t get along with your roommate? Don’t worry if you don’t find out everything right away on the tour – just ask some of the ones you find most important first. Your tour guide has been in your place and was probably just as worried about roommates as you, so don’t be afraid to ask whatever comes to your mind.
What is safety like on campus?
It’s always a good idea to see what sort of safety measures the campus has in place to help you feel comfortable and at ease while you’re studying. Particular areas to ask about might include: residence hall safety, general campus safety, surrounding city/area, etc.
How long is your semester and breaks from class? Do you have an interim program?
Although it is usually pretty similar, different universities may have different schedules and semester lengths. Ask about how long classes are or when each semester starts and ends. You can also see if the university has opportunities to take classes during traditional “break” times. For example, you might see if the school offers “interim,” which is usually a class that happens during breaks. Not every university offers it, and if they do, the way in which they offer it may differ. For example, UW Oshkosh includes a fall/spring interim class with each semester, and it doesn’t cost any more to take (unless you go over 18 credits for the semester) and isn’t a separate term. If the school does offer interim, ask what it costs and what classes are usually available. This is also a good chance to see if your school offers an assortment of summer classes.
Of course, there are a ton of other questions you can ask:
- How are the residence halls set up? Can you select which hall you live in?
- What functionality is included on the school ID card? What can you use it for?
- How are textbooks handled? Do you purchase / rent?
- How many students attend the university?
- Does the university have teaching assistants or do faculty/professors teach every class?
- Is there Wi-Fi available on campus?
- What is the student involvement level on campus? Do students actively participate in events?
- Is there a place to work out?
- What is there to do in the city surrounding the university?
- What academic resources are available for students? (e.g. Tutoring, counseling, etc,.)
- Are there jobs available on campus?
- Does the campus have an assortment of resources for a diverse group of students?
- Are people friendly?
- Why did you (as in, your tour guide) choose to attend this school?
- If you (your tour guide) could change one thing about this school, what would it be and why?
- What are class sizes like?
I could probably go on forever with the questions, but I think I’ll stop there for now.
The most important thing is to identify what areas are of most concern to you and make sure you ask those things on tour. If you’re nervous to ask in front of the whole group, try to chat with your tour guide either before or after the tour. There might be opportunities to ask your guide while you’re walking from place to place as well. We, as tour guides, want to make sure that you get all of your concerns addressed, so we will do whatever we can to help you out.
And remember, like I said at the beginning, I’ll be giving tours all summer, along with some other awesome students, and we’d love to meet you!! You can set up a visit to campus online here. Or you can call us at (920) 424-3164 and we’ll set something up for you.
Can’t wait to meet you–good luck with your college search!