When my parents and I were touring universities a few years back, we were all completely lost. Neither of my parents had gone to college, and all of my older cousins had gone somewhere relatively close to home. When you’re in that situation where you’re starting from scratch, it can be hard to find out where to even start. Here are some questions my parents and I asked (or wish we had) when we were searching for my new home:
1. What is the cost of living?
Sure, going to NYU sounds great until you don’t have money for food, work 40 hours a week on top of classes to pay rent, and graduate with mountains of debt.
For this question, you might not have to ask an actual person. Before choosing where to go to school, take a look at what rent might cost once you or your child moves off campus. This played a huge role in when I chose Virginia Tech. Believe it or not, the price was comparable to what I would be paying at an in-state institution. However, the cost of living is far lower than most places in the Northeast.
2. What is the worst thing about this university?
Be sure to ask multiple people this question. If the answer between those various people is consistent, that can show that there is a big issue around campus. Also, if the answer to this question is usually something relatively small, like the food isn’t great (this is the case for most colleges, unless you go to Virginia Tech), then it is helpful at the very least.
Use those answers as a guide to what to invest in once you’ve committed to a school. If a common complaint was transportation, then you might want to buy a parking pass. Or on the flip side, if a common complaint was lack of parking spots, now you know not to purchase a pass.
3. What is the average class size?
Some students take comfort in being just another number in a large lecture class. However, there are some who need personalized attention to thrive.
When asking this question, be sure to ask someone who is involved with the specific major or department you are hoping to study with. Each major has different requirements and class structures, so normally this answer does not apply to all paths.