What Questions Should Be Asked on University Opening Day?

Written by K Fisher on December 12, 2021

8 min read
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It’s the best time of year, university campus Open Day? Or also called New Freshman Day. Where the soon-to-be college freshmen can attend a 48 – 72-hour weekend at the college of their choice to gain a feel of the place. The deciding questions to ask however, are many. Deicing on what questions to ask and what questions will automatically be answered need to be paired down to what an individual student should know. Instead of waiting on the official first day of a student’s college day, how about we break down what questions should be asked.

Ask: When Is the Admissions Deadline?

Don’t feel ridiculous for asking this question, even though some may thing this is an obvious “check the website” question, never doubt that this timeline has switched around. Especially with the last few years, admissions deadlines have either been extended or have stopped altogether. As 2023 approaches and the new generation of college freshman approach, ask this as one of the top 5 important questions on the list.

Ask: Will classes be offered in a traditional classroom on campus, in a location off-campus or online?

Honestly, this is a great question to ask and the supervisor who will be showing you or your group around would say so too. If you’re a student who has to juggle a life at home and on campus, having locations off of campus that happens to be closer to home would be incredibly flexible. What about if you can’t leave home or don’t want to stay in a dorm (anymore universities don’t require students to spend the traditional first year in a dorm anymore) then online classes would be the best option.

No matter what the circumstances may be, if the student is a stay-at-home mom, a single working parent, a child who is caring for a parent, sibling, or grandparent… colleges will try to find an online flexible schedule to fit the needs of the student.

Ask: Will job placement offered?

This is a huge question and one that should be asked each year. Employment after college is not brought up a lot because we all think of having a degree as an automatic employment stamp. That’s not always the case. Because in recent studies, 53% of individual who hold an Associates, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degree cannot find employment within the field study that student has a degree in. This means finding other employment to satisfy as enough pay to pay off student debt and living expenses comes into view. Ask if the university or community college being attend to has ideas or opportunities for job placement within your field study. If so, join the program that is associated to ensure you as a student can become employed whether in the senior year of college or right after graduation.

Ask: Is career guidance available and is that advice available to talk about changing majors?

The percentage of students suddenly switching majors is so high that career guidance advisors have a required task to help those students to find a balance once they start to switch and start from scratch. No one wants to lose interest in their field study but sometimes students will discover that for example, criminology just is not for them but psychology is exactly what they were looking for. This narrowing down of a subject can be the reason a student changes major. University advisor or more than equip to help students who want to switch up their career destination path.

By the way the full percentage of students that changes their major is 80% either in the 2nd to last year or their senior year.

Ask: Do I choose a roommate? Is it possible to stay at campus during the holiday and break seasons?

Ironically enough these questions are haphazardly asked but because students tend to be afraid to ask. It comes from wanting to be polite but wanting to know if they can either stay or have input on who rooms with them.

Now as for picking a roommate, this varies from institution to institution. Some colleges follow strict policy rules which regards an alphabetically order format. Then some institutions will not allow any student to pick a roommate. Also, checking with the university first is ideal. No one wants to end up making arrangements with someone and finding out that a university has restrictions for first year students to live off campus in a rental house.

Co-ed living is now more common but in the sense that opposite genders will live across the hall from one another. Colleges do not allow the opposite gender to be roommates with the other.

Ask: What are the best and worst aspects of this college?

Don’t be ashamed to ask the tough questions. Another student will openly tell another what the best things are about the university. Like the university has great café capabilities or happens to be close to a certain district. To the worst attributes like sharing showering facilities, no full fridges in the dorm room, to overpriced meal/cafeteria plans.

Ask: What part-time jobs are nearby or in the same city where new college students can apply to?

The unsaid aspect of being a college freshman is that typically certain restaurants, books shops, or cafes will hire only college students. This offers college students to have a little money in their pocket and start saving a bit or paying towards excess university fees, such as textbooks and laptops.

Always check with an advisor or another college student who already has a part-time job. Now, fast food jobs tend to be flexible with college schedules that’s why they a sought after.

Ask: Will I have culture shock?

Simple answer is yes. If this is the first time as a student you’ll be living out of the childhood or high school home where you won’t have family in the next room. Don’t be afraid to ask this question to, because all students go through the college culture shock. That’s where the whole myth of the freshman 15 (gaining 15 pounds in the first few months because having a schedule outside of the typical and strenuous class times with project work can take longer than the normal high school homework pattern).

Culture shock will be experienced in one way or another. Students who move to another state or country. Transferring from one college to another. Going to the same university as high school friends or not.   Adjusting to college life is no laughing matter and honestly, no one is laughing.

Students will start to understand how fantasied college life is from t.v. shows and any movie. The long school hours that don’t seem to end and early morning lectures will be a real wake up call for all of people.

Ask: How do I know if I’m experiencing college burn out?

As of the last 5 years, this is a question that should be asked. Because asking another student who has already gone through the trials of college burn out will be able to give another student a bit of advice. College burn out comes with fatigue, the feeling one is never catching up, and depression. If a student is experiencing any of these symptoms, they should go to the guidance advisor. Some students have to take a temporary school break just to regain their aspect on life. There is nothing wrong with having college burn out, it happens to each student eventually.

Ask: How hard was it to make friends?

Let’s face it, going to college feels like starting over in grade school when it comes to being the new kid. But every freshman in college is the new kid. No matter what, making friends seems impossible but understanding that everyone is going through the same thing, makes things a little easier. Friendships will happen, don’t worry.

Ask: Are there any non-academic experiences that would improve my application?

Want that application to look appetizing and that you’re the student to choose from the application judges? Oh, yeah, make sure to ask about those non-academic experiences. Anything from volunteering, to creating something for the community, to childhood experiences should be written about. Depending on the college or university a student is experiencing their Opening Day at, but certain institutions want to know what makes you… well you. This involves activities that doesn’t involve academics at all. Are you a natural born writer, comedian, dancer, athlete… etc. These are important to note and write down.

Ask: What grades do I have to achieve to pass the class?

Now as a college graduate, as long as you had a 70% passing grade, that meant you were passing. Times have changed though and there has been talk that universities as well as schools will do away with the regular grading system. Ask the advisor that is leading the group this question because another student should know to whether they remember to ask or not. A passing grade for an ivy league university will be different to a community college. Ivy league schools have a system called pass/fail. Which has become a direct approach and alternative form of grading. Community colleges may still use the traditional grading A – F approach.

Ask: Professor teaching methods? What are they?

Yes, each professor at a college will have their own teaching style. This means freshmen will need to learn on the fly about how to translate what the professor is teaching to what works for you as a student to take in this information. Some professors prefer to lecture with examples without asking too much of the student’s participation. Other professors may want students to engage with a work-study program where students will be able to involve themselves within the learning course.

Either way, professors are the ones who can pick what works for themselves, students just have to fall along. In this case, the best route that always helps new students is to take notes, and a lot of notes. At least students this way can refer back to what they had to learn in a 40 minute to 2-hour class. At times the brain does not take in all the information it is given in one sitting. Sometimes it takes multiple times of reading a sentence to really take in what that information is, allow yourself time to adjust. Take notes.

Ask: What are alumni doing five years after they graduate?

See what the alumni have been able to do when it comes to landing employment. By asking this question, a previous question from above can be answered along with it. If an alumnus has a prestigious career, it may be because they were part of a program that allowed them to land employment whether as a student or as a recent graduate. The best example to use would be the alumni of Julliard are far and among the best actors the world has been graced with, for example Robin Williams was a Julliard gradate and became a household name for generations.

Ask: What’s the actual breakdown of costs for classes, housing and other expenses? Any hidden fees that students should know about?

Ask the price of everything, because it’s guarantee that finding food outside of the university café may be cheaper. When it comes to hidden textbook, laptop, lab equipment fees, it’s a shock to some students. But the reality of college life is that everything that institution asks their students to have with them will cost something. There is such a thing as being able to rent electronics and lease textbooks when it comes to it. And note, textbooks are not cheap. Textbooks tend to be an easy $500 for just a few books that might be for one class. This is why some scholarships exist just to pay the hidden fees colleges don’t package in with tuition.

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