On your campus visit, there's a lot to take in—from campus buildings and residence halls to dining options and activities, it's the best kind of crash course into what a college or university experience will be. One interaction you will likely have on your visit is with a faculty member or department representative in your chosen field.
Here are seven questions you should consider asking a professor or instructor to make the most of your campus visit.
Can I Get Hands-On Experience?
There's no better way to dig into a career experience than some hands-on learning. SDSU emphasizes this across all of its colleges—experiential learning is a critical part of every program, whether it's a science lab or traditional classroom setting. You can get a sense of what sort of opportunities are available to you in your chosen department by asking a faculty member or department rep on your visit about how this might work in his or her specific field.
How Are Classes Structured?
A faculty member or department rep in your major of choice is going to be the most likely person to paint an accurate picture of the classroom setting. Does the program lean more heavily toward lecture-based courses with larger class sizes or does it put more emphasis on small-group, open-forum-style classroom settings? Talk to leadership in the program on how classes might differ so that you can get a sense of what style of course will be your best fit.
Why Should I Earn a 4-Year Degree?
Asking a professor or instructor about the importance of a 4-year degree in your desired field is a great way to earn valuable insight on opportunities post-degree. With many 4-year degrees, you are not tied to your major. The skills gained from a four-year degree extend into our everyday lives, providing you with more flexibility than you would typically see with a two-year degree. A faculty member is an excellent resource for what the job field looks like post-graduation, and they can even recommend career and volunteer options that you might never have known existed.
Can I Go Above and Beyond?
Each college at a university will likely have opportunities to expand your experience in ways beyond the campus. Talk to a professor or instructor about what academic enhancement avenues are available in his or her department, from research opportunities to study abroad experiences to internships. How are these incorporated into your program, and how can they help a given student gain a broader perspective on his or her future field.
What’s Your Experience?
Asking about faculty members' or reps' past work and life experience can be a valuable way for you to gain insight into their strengths and background. Have they conducted research or published papers that might be pertinent to your interests, and how might you use that to your advantage in a classroom setting? Get to know them—they'll be guiding you through your years on campus, so their lifetimes of experiences are incredibly valuable to your future career prospects.
Do You Hold Office Hours?
Every professor or instructor has them—you just have to ask. Find out how available a given faculty member or department rep might be to you, particularly your academic advisor and particularly during your first semesters of college. Ask about office hours and how often these professors typically interact with their students outside the classroom. You can get a feel for whether or not your major's team prefers an open-door visit policy or an appointment-based visit policy.
What Sets You Apart?
During the college-selection process, getting a sense of what makes the program in your chosen field unique among your options is key. Talk to a professor or instructor about what makes his or her program special—how are they different or exceptional compared to other area schools, and what opportunities does the program offer both during and after college for its students and alumni?