Best Questions to Ask College Admissions Officers

Two people in a meeting
April 26, 2024
5 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 11/14/23

Everyone knows you’ll be asked questions by college admissions officers, but have you considered what you’ll be asking them? Here are the best questions to ask college admissions officers!

When preparing for the college application process, a lot of focus is placed on having the right answers. You’re ready to be asked all kinds of questions – “what makes you unique? What are your study habits?” And, of course, the dreaded “tell me about yourself.”

It’s vital to prepare answers to all these interview questions and more. But you can’t forget that answering questions is only half the battle! The other crucial part is deciding what questions to ask college admissions officers.

There are many benefits to coming up with genuine questions during your admissions prep. For one, it’s a great chance to learn more about the school. But it’s also a fantastic way to show off your insight and curiosity – two important traits in a great college applicant. Here are the best questions to ask college admissions committee members!

Questions to Ask College Admissions Officers

Obviously, you want to put your best foot forward when applying for college. That’s why covering a breadth of topics in your questions is such a great idea! It shows off the facets of your personality and lets the admissions committee know you’re interested.

Questions About Academics

As a prospective student, the number one thing to ask about is academics. Find out about programs that are unique to that particular school. Ask for their program recommendations based on your favorite subjects from high school. 

Other academic-related questions to consider are:

  • What kinds of support (tutoring, writing assistance, etc.) are available for freshman students as they transition to college?
  • Does this school offer research opportunities for undergraduate students?
  • Is it easy to get my first choice for course registration?
  • How are the academic advising services at this school?
  • How many classes are taught by professors versus teaching assistants?

Some may be hesitant to ask about academics, fearing it will make them look indecisive or uncommitted. However, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions about your academic life. A 2017 study by the US Department of Education found that almost a third of US college students switch their majors within the first three years.

Questions About Career

The main reason people go to college – besides self-discovery and maybe the odd party – is to set themselves up for professional success. Asking about careers is a great way to show that you’re thinking seriously about your future.

Different programs will have their own career opportunities, so be sure to do your research before speaking with colleges. With that said, here are some great career questions to ask:

  • What kinds of jobs do students find after graduating from my program? 
  • What kinds of internships are offered for my program? 
  • What’s required to get an internship?
  • Does this school offer co-ops for my program?
  • What opportunities are there to build my professional skills on campus? 
  • Does this school help students find part-time or summer jobs?

Questions About Social Life on Campus

College isn’t all about academics and professional development. It’s also a place to meet new people, try new things, and grow as a person! Asking about campus social life is a great way to show that you want to engage with the community.

Consider asking admissions officers questions like:

  • How many active clubs are there at this school? Which are the most popular?
  • There’s something I’m interested in that doesn’t have a club. What’s the process like for starting my own?
  • What’s the typical freshman experience at this school?
  • How much studying does the average student do in a week?
  • Do a lot of students show school spirit at sports games and events?
  • Are the campus dorms social? Are there events for students in residence?
  • What kinds of things do students do in the town/city around the campus?

For social life questions, there are more benefits than simply appearing interested. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average time to get a degree is on the rise from the typical four years. You’ll likely be spending a lot of time on campus – why not make sure your school’s social life will be a good fit?

Questions About School Culture

When you mesh with a college’s philosophy, culture, and overall vibe, you just know! If you know which school culture questions to ask, an admissions officer can help you decide if you’re going to enjoy the atmosphere on campus.

We recommend asking:

  • Why do students come to this school?
  • Are the students friendly?
  • Is the student body diverse?
  • What kinds of philanthropic or community work does this school do?
  • What is this school known for? What’s the reputation of students who graduate here?
  • Where do you see this school in ten, twenty, fifty years?

Questions to Avoid Asking College Admissions Officers

Asking questions is a great way to show that you’re putting thought into college applications. But it’s also a balancing act. Too few questions will make you seem disinterested. And too many can be annoying for admissions committee members, who have dozens of appointments each day.

There are a few general rules to keep in mind about which questions not to ask, such as:

  • Questions you can look up yourself. There’s no such thing as a stupid question, but it’s a good idea to do some research to make sure it’s a necessary question. Check the college website and other resources for FAQ pages for applicants.
  • Questions about the status or odds of your application. The truth is, your college admissions officer probably doesn’t know your precise odds of acceptance. They likely have to deal with people asking these questions every day – so don’t be one of them.
  • Unprofessional questions. What you do when you get to college is ultimately your business. But all the same, it’s not a good idea to ask about the school’s party culture or anything related to drugs and alcohol.
  • Questions that make you seem uninterested. Don’t ask the admissions officer questions that compare them to other schools. To improve your odds of a successful admissions interview, it’s a good idea to frame the school as one of your top choices.
  • Questions that criticize the college. Your admissions meeting isn’t the time to get to the bottom of rumors about their application process. Questions like “is the admissions process different for certain backgrounds/ethnicities?” have their place, but this isn’t it.

How to Prepare for a Meeting with an Admissions Officer

Interviews are always stressful and can even be overwhelming sometimes. That’s why, to minimize your anxiety, it’s a good idea to prepare well before your meeting. With proper preparations, you can be sure that you’ll make a good first impression. 

Here are some tips on how to prepare for your admissions interview

  • Dress appropriately: Putting effort into your appearance shows that you care about the interview and, by extension, the school you’re applying to. You don’t need to wear a ball gown or tuxedo, but you should dress in business-casual style to make the best impression. 
  • Be friendly, but polite: It’s important to strike a balance in your mannerisms. You want to come off as personable but not overly casual. However, you also don’t want to be professional to the point of being cold. Treat your interviewer with respect, have good manners, and remember to smile! 
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm: It’s important to stay engaged during the course of your interview. It shows the interviewer that you want to be there and that you care about getting accepted to this particular college. 
  • Go beyond your application: Your interview should provide the admissions officer with new information that can’t be found on your application. In your responses to their questions, don’t just re-state what’s already on your application. Instead, give insights into what you learned from certain experiences. 
  • Don’t over-rehearse: You don’t want to sound robotic or impersonal. While you should prepare answers to possible questions beforehand, don’t rehearse them so much that you sound like you’re reading from a script. 

FAQs: Questions to Ask College Admissions Officers

Still have questions about the best questions to ask college admissions committees? We don’t blame you, and you’re certainly not alone. You have a lot to think about prior to your admissions interview, even before taking questions into account. So here are the answers to some of the most common things people ask!

1. What Questions Would You Ask A College Admissions Officer?

As you’ve seen, there is a lot to consider asking when speaking to college admissions committees. The best questions will vary depending on who you are and what you plan to study, but it’s generally a good idea to ask about your program of interest and the school as a whole.

2. What Should I Ask in My Admissions Interview?

If the school you’re applying for holds admissions interviews, this is the time to make questions truly count. Many of the above questions will signal that you’re seriously interested in this school and will help your application stand out from the rest.

3. What Are the Risks of Not Asking Questions?

If you don’t ask enough questions, or your questions aren’t the right ones, it can hurt your odds of getting accepted to your dream school.

4. When is the Best Time to Ask Questions?

If you ask us, anytime you speak with an admissions officer is a good time to ask questions! These can include visits to your high school, visits you make to the campus, college fairs, and, of course, admissions interviews.

5. What Information is Most Important to Ask About?

When coming up with questions, be sure to ask plenty that are useful to you and not just questions that make you appear interested. Decide what’s important to you about a school’s culture, social life, and academics, and ask genuine questions about them.

6. Is There Anything Else I Need to Prepare for My Admissions Interview?

Absolutely! From the research you do beforehand to the way you correspond with admissions officers to how you answer questions on the day of, there’s a lot to consider before your admissions interview. 

Final Thoughts

Getting into your first-choice college normally isn’t easy, but it’s certainly not impossible. And the more thought and preparation you put into the admissions process, the more likely you are to receive that all-important acceptance letter in the mail. 

Questions are one of the best ways to show off your insight, curiosity, and serious investment in a college. Preparing the right questions to ask admissions committees, whether they’re about the school’s culture, academics, career opportunities, or anything else, will go a long way in setting you apart from other applicants. 

As an ambitious applicant yourself, you’re looking to improve your odds of success as much as possible. For more tips and guidance on wowing college admissions committees and getting into your dream school, you can always speak with an expert admissions consultant!

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