College Information

Ask the Professor – before you start attending college classes

Want to know more about your a college’s or university’s program of study but aren’t sure where to find the answers? Why not call a professor at the college or university you are interested in attending?
Many college professors help recruit good students and provide advising. And, since professors are the ones teaching the courses in your area of interest, they may have the most complete answers to your questions. Before you start dialing the phone, here’s some tips to remember:

  • Do some research first. Visit the school web site and find out about the program to make sure first if you are even interested in attending the school. The web site will also provide you with basic information so you can ask more specific questions, and you may also find the contact information for a professor.
  • Be polite. Introduce yourself, say why you are calling (especially important if you have to leave a message).
  • Tell the professor what high school you attend (he or she may know other students from your high school that you can also ask questions).
  • Be prepared with your questions. You may want to ask about the program of study requirements, the typical class size, and what makes the university’s program unique.
  • If you think you might have follow-up questions or want to schedule an appointment, be sure to ask the professor’s hours. Many professors do not work 9 to 5 business hours. Many teach courses throughout the day or evening or do off-site research.
  • Keep your appointment. If you make an appointment, keep it or make sure to notify the professor if you can’t keep the appointment for some reason. Don’t assume that the professor is there anyway so it doesn’t matter. Professors do have busy schedules, and it’s just plain rude to not show up for an appointment.
  • Say thank you. Let the professor know that you appreciate the time he or she has spent to answer your questions. If you just have a phone conversation, a verbal thank you is sufficient. However, if the professor takes time to meet with you (and possibly your parents), be sure to send a written thank you via email or regular mail.

Choosing a College/University/Institution

Here is a great list of questions for your student to think about, whether at a college visit here on our campus, or at a college fair.

College size:
Would you be comfortable in a college of more than 15,000 or less than 1000 students?
Are diversity and gender balance important to you?

Questions to ask:
How many students are at the college?
What type of student attends? (gender/race)

Geographic Location, housing and campus life:
Do you prefer to be in the city or country?
Do you want to be close to home or are you ready for a change?
What about climate, recreational options, culture, food and housing?

Questions to ask:
Do freshman get priority housing options?
Is there safe housing close to campus that is affordable?
Is there transportation available if I live off campus or if I am far from home?
Will I enjoy being in the city/country year round?

Method of Instruction:
Is a competitive or relaxed learning environment more attractive?  What is the best class-size for your learning style?

Questions to ask:
How large are the classes freshmen are most likely to take?
Will I be taught by a professor or teaching assistant?
Will I have access to the instructor on a regular basis if I need help?
What type of tutoring or assistance is available?

Length of Program:
How long do you want to be in school?  Programs may be 1 year, 2 year, 4 year or more.

Questions to ask:
Will I be able to get into the classes I need to graduate on time?
How many students graduate in 4, 5 and 6 years?
Will there be assistance with finding a job after I graduate?
How often are the graduates of my program placed in jobs right after graduation?  Six months later, 1 year later?

Many college cost options are available.  Remember, cost is more than just tuition and fees; it can also include books, supplies, transportation, housing, food and additional expenses, such as laundry.

Questions to ask:
What is the expected total cost of attending the institution?
What percentage of students receive need based aid?
Are merit scholarships available?  When do you have to apply by?
Does the institution have on campus jobs available?
Compare schools and graduation and job placement rates to see if your money is going to be well spent for what you receive from your education.  Finally, visit the schools and talk to students and professors.  How they treat you and respond to your questions will give you the feel of the school.

Getting in to that College/University/Institution

Now that you have an idea of the school you’d like to attend, what can you do to increase your chances of acceptance?

1.  Know your goals and interests and be able to articulate them.

2.  If you know what type of career interests you the most, find out what kind of education and training you’ll need to work in that field.

3.  Make sure you are academically prepared for college and that you have taken the standardized tests that may be required for admission.

4.  Be involved in high school.  Join a club, volunteer, get a job, play a sport or participate in a play, musical, choir or band.

5.  Give plenty of thought about asking for a recommendation:

6.  Gather information about the school; let the college counselor know it is important to you to attend their college.

7.  Apply to four to six schools you like.