Project Opportunity: Access to Washington's Colleges'

“Circumstances typically considered obstacles to obtaining a four-year degree have proven inspiring to me.I've gained a breadth of experiences that will aid in my career.”

— Denise Bowers
Pacific Lutheran University


 

Visiting Campus: 11 Questions to ask

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What makes this college unique?

The character of a school is an important aspect to consider when choosing a college. You should go to a college with a message and dedication which resonates with you.

What types of activities are offered on campus?

If you go to college here, you'll want to make sure the kind of activities you enjoy are available. If the activities are offered, that's a good indication that there is a group of people at the college with similar interests with whom you can make friends. Don't forget to explore new activities, too.

What are the college's strongest programs?

Knowing what programs each college likes to emphasize will help you decide if the college is right for you. If you study science you may not want to attend a college that focuses on the humanities.

What kinds of resources are available to me on campus?

Does the college have a good library? Does it have a computer lab? What are the buildings like? These questions and more can help you figure out whether a college is right for you.

What's the largest class I would be in as a freshman?

You'll be more challenged if you're in small classes. You'll also get to know the other students more easily. In small classes the professors have more time to know you and your strengths and weaknesses. They can find ways to get to know you personally and to challenge you more. Classes in your junior and senior years will likely be smaller because you'll be spending more time just with people in your major.

At some colleges, freshman classes are very large, making learning more difficult. Learning is much more than just listening to a lecture or reading a book. In a smaller class you'll learn from questions other students ask during discussions, from conversations you have with the professor outside of class, and from your classmates outside of class.

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Are professors available and easy to talk to? Do they teach most of the freshman classes?

Since much of your learning will take place outside of the textbook, it is important that professors are approachable and available. Your student guides on campus will be able to tell you if they know any of their professors outside of class. That's a terrific opportunity. At smaller colleges, these people will often become friends and mentors for life.

Are there club sports?

Fewer people participate in varsity sports in college. If you've been active in high school, you'll probably want to continue — that may be on the college team, but you may want less pressure and enjoy club sports.

Do students organize volunteer activities?

This may be an area you're interested in. If the students organize the activities, there's probably a good chance that you could do that, too, if you're interested. It can be a successful leadership opportunity for you.

What are the leadership opportunities?

There are other ways to explore or exercise your leadership skills. At smaller colleges more students tend to have leadership roles. Your leadership activities will be important as you look for jobs. College is a great place to get some experience.

What kind of support is there for me if I'm having trouble in a class?

You'll be challenged in college much more than you were in high school. You'll want to ask for help. Is it easy to get? Are there people on campus available for tutoring or to help with a difficult concept? Make sure these resources are easy to find.

What is the social life on campus like?

You'll want to make sure that the social life on campus agrees with you. If you prefer a quiet and peaceful campus it's important that you attend a college that can provide that.

 

Funded in part by a grant from
the Ben B. Cheney Foundation
published by Independent Colleges of Washington