I’ll be the first one to say that searching for a college isn’t easy. There are a lot of factors to take into account, and no one wants to move to campus and realize in the next few weeks that their college isn’t the right fit for them.
That’s why it’s so important to talk to an admissions counselor. They’re the ones who know the ins and outs of campus life, socially and academically. They can answer any questions you have about a college.
Remember, there are no dumb questions. Seriously.
When I was searching for a school, I had a one-on-one with an Augustana counselor over the phone. He asked me questions, and at the end, I was able to ask mine. I come from a military background and moved around a lot when I was younger, so the first thing I asked was, “What’s there to do for fun in the Quad Cities?”.
Turns out the answer is a lot. In the past three years, I’ve gone to three different trampoline parks, visited multiple haunted houses and corn mazes, and more. These were all recommended to me by my admissions counselor.
If you’re worried about what questions they might ask you or that you might seem unprepared by having no questions of your own, allow me to show you some possibilities.
They might ask you:
Why are you interested in Augustana?
It’s pretty likely they’ll open up the conversation with this question. It’s the quickest way to get a few important aspects of who you are.
Whether you’re interested in Augie for your intended program of study, sports, financial aid or location, your counselor wants to know why Augustana is on your list of colleges so they can better answer your questions and give you advice that pertains to you.
A common theme I’ll be pushing is honesty. There’s no need to add flourish to your answers or try to tell them what you think they want to hear. It’s not a job interview. Counselors genuinely want to help you in your college search and find out if Augustana will be a good fit for you.
If you’re interested in Augustana just because it’s close to home, then say so. This will help both you and your counselor figure out what aspects of Augustana excite you.
What are you thinking about studying?
Expect this question if you didn't list your intended major as why you're interested in a school.
If you don’t know, that’s okay! There’s plenty of time to figure it out. Your counselor might ask you what classes you liked best in high school or what you enjoy doing. If you’d like some additional tips on how to choose a major, check out this blog.
If you do know, expect a follow-up question on why it interests you. If there’s a specific career goal you have in mind, they might have some recommendations.
What are you looking for in a college?
This honestly might be the most important question you could be asked. Essentially, what are you looking for in regards to student life, classroom size, campus size, etc.? It’s critical that above all else, you feel at home on your campus.
With about 2,600 students, an average student-teacher ratio of 11:1 and average class size of about 18 students, Augustana is a lot smaller than public universities. So if you're looking for a tight-knit community and one-on-one communication with professors, Augie might be a great fit. If you're hoping for large classes, a bigger community or anonymity on campus, you might want to broaden your search.
It’s important to discuss your ideals for a college with an admissions counselor to better figure out if a school is right for you. Don’t be afraid to talk about what you want to get involved in when coming to campus. Counselors want to get a sense of what you’re passionate about outside of class.
If you want to start something new, share that. Your counselor is there to guide you and can suggest some student groups you might be interested in.
Now that we’ve discussed some questions you might be asked, here are a few ideas for when it's your turn to ask questions.
You might ask:
How do you help students prepare for a career or graduate school?
Whether you’re looking to go here or elsewhere, this question lets you know how much a school invests in students. This will give you insight into whether a college will leave it to their students to figure out their paths or if they have a network of resources to help guide their students through their years at college and beyond.
This might look like having advisors to help build résumés, job interview practice, appointments to take professional headshots or graduate school fairs to connect you with schools across the nation. Augustana offers all of these and more, and your admissions counselor will give you more details on your call.
What types of support are offered to struggling students?
It’s perfectly normal for students to encounter a few hiccups on their journey through college. So you should enroll in a college that will help you get back on the right track, whether you're struggling mentally or academically.
As important as tutoring services are, don’t forget to ask about counseling services. You may not need them, but in case you experience a personal tragedy, have trouble with homesickness or just have a rough day, it’s good to have a college that offers resources to help keep you mentally healthy
In conclusion, you should schedule an appointment, if I haven’t made that clear. Go in with questions that you can’t find an answer to on their website and be honest with yourself and your counselor about what you’re looking for and who you want to be when you start college.