When you’re considering going to college, knowing where to start and even what questions to ask can be difficult. It’s normal to be unfamiliar with the college admission process and with what to expect from college courses. Researching college degrees and programs online is a good start, but it can only go so far. You’ll learn the most by talking with college admission staff. When you do, here are 5 questions to ask about the school and program.
- How will this program help me achieve my goals?
After you start your research online, Admissions can help you confirm whether a program’s outcomes actually match your professional goals. Your plan may be to enter an entirely new field or instead to grow in your current career.
“Education is an influential step in staying competitive while enhancing your knowledge in the field you are in,” says Orlinda Brown, an Enrollment Counselor for South University, Online Programs. “In any career path you choose, you have to put in the work to develop your skills.”
Whatever your goals, make sure you know the specific skills and abilities the program teaches and the jobs graduates are prepared to pursue. Ask about their alumni’s success and the career planning and job search services offered to students. For some programs, you may even get data on job placement or exam pass rates for recent graduates.
- What will my college courses be like?
Your college courses should be rooted in industry needs. They should teach practical, in-demand skills, with assignments, discussions, and case studies based on the real world.
In many careers, employers value hands-on experiences gained through practicums, labs, course projects, or internships. Another important aspect is how much you’ll interact with faculty and how experienced the instructors are in the fields they teach.
To get a feel for the college culture and courses, plan a visit to tour the campus and meet faculty and staff. If you’re interested in online classes, the school should offer an online demo or virtual classroom tour. At South University, after you are accepted into our online programs, your admissions representative can walk you through an online orientation course to help you get more comfortable and confident with online learning.
- How does your admissions process work?
The college admission team will likely be your first contact with the school. They should be friendly, helpful, and take the time to learn about you. Having one dedicated admissions contact to assist you is best, so that you don’t have to keep repeating your background to different people.
“I like to build rapport and get to know my potential students before they apply. We chat a bit and I learn what program you are looking for, how it will benefit you, and your 5-year plan,” explains Brown. “This process helps me get you on the right track towards obtaining your career goals.”
Once admissions helps you select a program and answers your questions, schools typically need a completed college application and proof of prior education. Graduate programs may have more complex admissions requirements. At South University, your admissions representative will guide you in acquiring all required documents, including transcripts, at this stage. “My goal is to make this process as smooth as possible for all of my students,” Brown says.
- How will this program fit into my life?
If convenience and flexibility are important to you, this is a must-ask question. Look for schools that are used to working with students with family and professional commitments. Search for evening and online course options. If you prefer fully online classes, find out whether you’ll be required to attend classes at set times or on your own schedule. For example, our online classes let you login and learn anytime, with 24/7 access to your syllabi, discussions boards, and course content.
“Because of our asynchronous environment,” says Brown, “school can coexist with your job, family commitments, and other daily responsibilities.” In addition to our fully online programs, many on-campus classes include online components, and students often take both in-person and online courses.
- What will the school do to help me succeed as a student?
This question is key to knowing that your school will support you throughout your academic journey. Listen to see what student services they mention. You want things like library resources, academic advising, tutoring, faculty office hours, financial aid planning, career planning, and job search assistance. At South University, we provide all of these resources as well as assign dedicated staff to assist with everything from the admissions process through to finding and pursuing the right job for you.
Want to learn more about South University?
Explore our programs or contact our admissions team at 1.888.444.3404.
For tips on what to ask about financial aid, stay tuned for our next blog post.