Great Questions to Ask on an Overnight Visit
An overnight stay can give a student some really good insights as to what college life is really all about. Hopefully the student hosting you is eager to do so but also forthright and honest and willing to share his/her experiences and opinions about life at the college. It is best if you can combine an overnight stay with an opportunity to attend a class in the area you hope to study. It is also good if your stay provides you with the opportunity to attend a college play, see an a cappella group, go to a sporting event or take part in a club outing. The more you can experience and interact with a variety of students and activities, the more you will take away from the overnight stay.
While an oversight visit will provide an opportunity to see a different side of the school–admittedly an important one–the questions (and they should be additional ones—don’t forget the basics that should be a part of any visit) you will want to ask are simply going to focus on the additional perspective that you will be privy to on this type of visit. You do want to get a sense of the social life—is it a “party school”? Can one be comfortable and have a good experience if they are not into that? You will get a different perspective on the on the academic/social balance, but ultimately you need to ask the questions whose answers will be crucial to your determining whether you will be comfortable, whether you can live there happily for the next four years. In general, there are no general right or wrong answers, but there can definitely be personal right and wrong ones depending upon the kind of experience you seek. Be sure you are clear on what you want and then see if it is there.
What’s your favorite part about being at this college?
Yes, you should do some advanced planning for an overnight stay. Once you know what to bring, where to go, and when, start thinking of the questions you should ask your host and any other students you get to visit with. Here are some ideas:
The students that you will be staying with will be at a different point in their lives than you are. They are already in college. They may have a social life that is unfamiliar to you and they are accustom to college academics. Remember this when you ask questions because if your have never been on a college campus overnight or if you don’t have older siblings who are currently in college their answers may seem intimidating or just sound like something you have never considered. Take it in stride. Do trust your feelings, if you rather hang out with the film club or read a good book on a Friday evening and the entire campus seems devoted to bringing down the walls then compute that into your good fit calculation.
Is this a typical night in the dorm, or do other things happen I’d be surprised to see?
Is the campus safe to walk day or night? Are the dorms/campus “dry”? Do students support the athletic teams and attend games? How late are libraries open? Who has been your favorite professor and why? How does the housing monopoly work? Are you guaranteed four years of housing? Why did you decide to attend this college? What do you know now about the college that you couldn’t have known before you arrived in September?
Overnight stays are a wonderful way to get a feel for the campus, beyond the classroom. After a full day of classes, students need to chill and this is a perfect time to get your questions answered. Find out if folks stick around on the weekend, observe how quiet/noisy the dorm. Does the campus feel busy in the evening, what is everyone doing: studying, exercising, goofing around, etc. I’m always curious what other schools people considered before they chose this one and how they made their decision. If student/faculty interactions are important, ask. If community service opportunities are important, ask. The student hosting you for the evening was in your shoes a year ago, they volunteered to host you, they get it; so make the most of the time and ask away!
During an overnight stay, you will be around many current students attending school there so you can really get the inside scoop!
Colleges offer open house to accepted students. Overnight staying is one of the options for students. you should ask for the right place to stay and ask for night events on campus.
If you can help it, don’t do it. From a recruiter’s point of view, online schools don’t carry the same weight as a traditional four year institution. Your experiences will obviously be different too. In my opinion, if the school that you attend cannot place you in a job, it’s not worth the money.
Use it to experience the social life of the school and visit classes.
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