I wrote a post about ten questions to ask when choosing a college here, and decided to expand on it some more. So here are ten more questions to ask yourself and others when choosing a college.
How far do you have to travel for classes?
Are the classes on campus centrally located, or so far spread out that it feels like everything is in the middle of nowhere? Also, is it safe to walk around at night? Check for things like police escort services or blue light security systems, and read more about how I navigate campus here.
What is the food like?
While it is important to listen to students, actually eating the food on campus on a visit is a great way to figure out if it's good or not. Whenever I show people around campus, I take them to one of the dining halls so they can see all of the food options available to them. If food sensitivities/allergies are a concern, schedule a meeting with the campus dietician.
Are the dorms air conditioned?
Okay, maybe this is just a Virginia thing, but there are many dorms at colleges in this state that do not have air conditioning. When I asked this question at my current college, they looked at me like I was nuts and said that of course they had air conditioning. Two other colleges I had visited did not have air conditioning in most of their dorms.
What is the average class size?
I tend to do better in smaller classes than the large 100 people lectures. My school had a small average class size, especially for classes related to my major, and the general education classes usually had no more than 40 people. Class participation was highly encouraged, and the teachers were easily approachable as well.
Is it easy to find internships?
College isn't forever, and it's important to start looking for a job before graduation. My school has lots of opportunities for internships, both in departments on campus and places off campus. There are career fairs and job shadowing days held frequently, so it's easy to get involved.
How are the area hospitals?
Students with chronic illnesses, take note of the area hospitals and how far away they are, as well as their services. I was in the ER at one point (more on that experience here) and was grateful to have a very nice hospital close by. For students studying nursing or another related major, definitely check to see how far away the hospital is, as classes and practicals will likely be held there.
Are buildings well maintained?
Are the buildings clean, air conditioned/heated, and at least somewhat quiet? No one wants to take a class in a room that smells, is freezing, and constantly has noises in the background. Looking at the different classrooms is a great way of judging how classes will go.
Is the terrain easy to navigate on?
Check for things like uneven terrain, busy roads, stairs, and main paths to get to class. One school I visited had an underground tunnel that students used to get to class, which would be inaccessible to me and my blindness cane.
How diverse is campus?
One of the things I appreciate most about my campus is how diverse everyone is. I'm not the only student walking around with a blindness cane, or even the only student with Chiari Malformation. Having students similar to me means that professors and staff are more understanding and willing to help me receive services- instead of panicking and saying I'm the only student with low vision, and they have no idea how to help me.
Will the campus continue to grow?
While the construction can be annoying at times, I like seeing that my school is continuing to grow and have new technology to accommodate the students of the future. This includes incorporating technology in classrooms, expanding their virtual class offerings (read more about virtual classes here), and having many research opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students. One school I had visited was about ten years behind in technology, which was discouraging. I appreciate that my school is thinking about the future.
I love the college I chose, and I never regret choosing it, because I asked so many questions beforehand. I have never had a desire to transfer or change my field of study, and it's an amazing feeling to be so secure in my college choice. I hope these questions help you find a college that makes you feel the same way!