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Ask these questions to get the most out of a college tour

Lipscomb UniversityBy Johnathan Akin, Associate Director of Admissions at Lipscomb University

  • Is David Lipscomb buried on campus?
  • Do we name the cadavers?
  • Where’s the closest bakery to campus?

Here at Lipscomb University, our student tour guides have heard it all! Fifteen student tour guides give campus tours to around 3,000 prospective students a year, and they have heard the best and worst questions from visitors from all across the country.

“I always laugh when someone -- primarily the gentlemen -- asks how good-looking the opposite sex is at Lipscomb,” says Taylor Cao, a sophomore tour guide from Knoxville. “After a good laugh, I always reply by saying ‘Very. You probably will find your wife or husband here.’”

Brennan McNeil, a tour guide from Charlotte, N.C., reports that once he was asked, “Does anyone ever go to class without pants?” He was shocked. But then he realized that the student was actually asking about Lipscomb’s dress code policy regarding shorts.

While such topics make a campus tour quite entertaining, they aren’t really the best questions to ask when hunting for a college.

On a campus visit, you have only a limited amount of time to find out the things that are really important. The campus tour, usually led by current students, is the perfect time to get the real lowdown from someone close to your age, who shares your experiences and can relate to what is really important to you.

So maximize your time by asking your student guide some good, thoughtful questions! Here are some suggestions from the 2013 Lipscomb University tour guides:

  • If you could say only one thing that is best about this university, what would it be?
  • Do you enjoy working with your professors?
  • Who teaches the classes? Teaching assistants, graduate assistants, etc.?
  • What is campus like on the weekends?
  • What is the spiritual life like on campus?
  • How can I best prepare myself to be ready for college?

And the most recommended question:

  • Why did you choose this university?

“I would recommend every student to ask his or her tour guide why they chose Lipscomb,” said Leah Gwin, a freshman from New Hope, Ariz. “(All the tour guides) come from so many backgrounds, and we all had numerous options for college. There’s a high chance that one of us can relate to the (inquiring) students. We have been in their shoes before.”

“The question that I think should always be asked is, ‘Why did you choose this school?’ because if they are asking a student who loves it, we will tell them how this school has turned into our home away from home. That's probably what they are looking for,” said Matthew Samek, a sophomore from St. Petersburg, Fla.

Read more college tips from Children First