Get the most out of your boarding school visit by asking questions while on your campus tour. Don’t just aimlessly follow your tour guide around listening to her talk about the school; ask questions that target the aspects of the school that most interest you.
Here are some key questions to ask:
1. Why did you choose this school?
Your student tour guide went through this boarding school application process just like you, and has made the final decision to attend the school. Find out why she chose the school, and what it was like making the ultimate decision of where to spend the next four years of her life.
2. What is it like to live on campus?
If you’re applying to boarding school, find out what it’s like to live on campus. What are the rules, restrictions, and best parts of living on campus? Ask about dorms, dorm parents, mealtimes, and general schedules. When would you have free time? What are the weekends like?
3. What is it like to be a day student here?
If you’re a day student applying to a boarding school, find out what the day student experience is like. Would you have lockers, or a day student lounge area to hang out? How involved are day students in the after school and weekend programs? Can you stay in dorms overnight from time to time? Are day students and boarders close?
4. What do students do for fun?
This school could be your home for the better part of the next four years, so make sure it’s a place you could see yourself having fun. Find out what weekends and evenings are like, what students do to relax and unwind, and how often you get to go off campus. Learn about things to do within walking distance of the school, and the opportunities you may have to go off campus to explore nearby cities, museums, sporting events, shopping, movies and whatever else might interest you.
5. What is your favorite thing about this school?
Ask your tour guide her opinion. This is a great way to get to know a current student and find out what she values most about the school.
6. Where are students from geographically?
Find out how diverse the school is by asking where students come from - both states and countries. Attending a diverse school will give you a rich experience, introducing you to people from all over the world. Plus, if you’re looking at a school far from home, it is often helpful to have peers from your hometown state to connect with and reminisce.
7. Can I see …
This question can often be the most important one of all, and should be asked in advance. If you’re looking at a school for a particular program, be it academic, artistic, athletic or otherwise, it’s important to make sure you ask to see the appropriate facilities and meet the appropriate people. Asking in advance is important, as special arrangements may be necessary to coordinate schedules and facility visits. If your ultimate goal is to see the baseball field and meet the coach on this visit, make sure you coordinate with the admission office to do just that, long before you arrive for your campus visit.