What are some questions you should ask on an overnight stay?
Great Questions to Ask on an Overnight Visit
1. Is this how you typical spend an evening on campus?
2. Why did you choose this school? Where would you have gone if you didn’t go here? Why?
3. What is something you didn’t understand about the school before you enrolled?
4. Who are the campus resources you couldn’t live without?
5. What type of student wouldn’t fit in here?
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.
There are no questions off-limits when you visit overnight. You should ask as many students whatever you feel you need to know before making a final decision whether to apply or whether to accept an offer. You may ask how receptive professors are; what kinds of supports are available to help you be successful; what the social life is like; the political scene; how open and receptive the community is; town/gown relationships, etc. If there is a specific interest you have or a hobby that you want to pursue, you should ask about whether it is available, supported and accessible and if you can meet others who share your interests to learn more.
The overnight stay provides a wonderful opportunity to “try on” the college for a weekend – see what dorm life is like; taste the offerings at the cafeteria; talk to students; visit the library; use the gym facilities; see and maybe chat with professors; explore the campus and its surroundings. The overnight helps a student see if this is a place he can call home for the next four years and if the community is one in which he can feel he can contribute to and grow from.
It is one thing to read about a college or hear about it from a friend or a counselor, and though such input is valuable, it is somehow two-dimensional. An overnight puts the college in high def or 3 D and allows you to personally experience it. I have had students come back after a visit knowing that YES, this is where I want to live. I can be happy here, sharing the wonderful biscuits served at breakfast, being “green,” camping on weekends. I have found folks I can talk to whose opinions I respect, there are clubs I can join, and activities I can explore. I have had other students come back from an overnight with the realization that NO, my values and needs would not be served here, the community is too liberal or way too conservative; the Greek system is too strong or not strong enough; I just cannot feel comfortable in this community.
So think of the overnight as an opportunity to Test Drive the college – but also check your impressions with more than the person hosting you so that when you return and have to make up your mind, you feel confident that you have made the right decision.
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?
– What wrong with this college?
– How do you like your dorm and dorm room? What do you like most about your dorm?
– What’s your dorm’s personality?
– Is it easy to study in the dorms or are there lots of disruptions?
– Is it easy to find stuff to do in the dorms? Are there lots of activities?
– Is there a lot of partying that goes on? If so, is it easy to find people that do other things besides partying?
– What is the one thing that students complain about most?
– Is there a lot to do on-campus on the weekends? Like what?
– Do you go into town frequently? How often and how do you get there?
– Are there lots of places to get food that are close to the campus? Is it easy to get there? How often do you go?
– Are there on-campus places to get food that are close to the dorms?
– Are the professors/teachers nice and friendly?
– How difficult are the classes?
– Are students helpful to one another, or is it so competitive that students are cut-throat to earn the top grades on tests and assignments?
– How many hours per week do you study?
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:
? What does your typical week look like?
? How much time to you study each week?
? What has been the hardest part of adjusting to college life?
? How big was your largest class? What was it? How many large classes have you had?
? What has been your smallest class? How many students?
? How often do people skip class? What happens?
? How hard is it to get the classes you want? Do you have priority registration?
? Where else did you apply? (what other colleges?)
? What made you decide to come here?
? What would you change or improve about the school? Why?
? What do you like most? Why?
? What did you think you would like, but didn’t?
? Were there any surprises after you decided to enroll? What?
? Do people actually study abroad, get internships as freshmen, get to do hands on research, participate in service projects etc? (fill in any activity/ program of interest to you)
? What do people do for fun on the weekends?
? Do you think you are getting a good education?
? Do you have any advice for me as I’m applying to colleges?
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.
Ask about their study habits, weekend social life, clubs they belong to, favorite activities, best part of dorm life, what to bring to college and what to leave at home.
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!
Here are some questions to consider asking:
1. are you glad that you decided to come here?
2. what aspects of the school didn’t meet your expectations?
3. what aspects of the school exceeded your expectations?
4. what do you wish you could change about your school?
5. what are you looking forward to doing this school year?
I would also really recommend that you observe the living habits of the students around you. Do they seem to focus at lot on studying? Partying? Socializing? Working? What’s the atmosphere? Casual? Happy? Intense?
Staying overnight can be very eye-opening for high school seniors! However, remember that you are there for less than 24 hours so while you can get a glimpse of a school’s community — it’s only a snap shot.
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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