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Minnu’s Minute: What Questions Do I Ask An Admissions Officer

What to ask & What not to ask
I have been travelling all over India with admission representatives in order to meet students and it has been a productive and fruitful week to say the least. Now, do you know what this means for you? It is the season for the university representatives, from all over the US, to visit your high schools and help you make a decision about studying abroad! As we go through the months of exploring universities and finding the right fit, I wanted to advise you on what questions to ask (not ask) when an admission representative comes to your school or when you visit them at a fair.
What to ask?

  • Many universities have over 200 programs to undergraduate students. That being said, the first question for you to ask is whether they have the program/major/subject of your interest.
  • You can also ask specific questions on the specialization of that particular study of your interest.
  • You can ask whether they require SAT and or TOEFL scores for admission and scholarships
  • Ask them about the life on campus, housing and student organizations and clubs.
  • Ask about the existing student organizations that are related to your hobby or study of interest
  • Definitely ask about the cost of studying in the university and the scholarships that are offered for international students
  • Ask about the strengths and the highlights of the courses that you are interested in
  • Ask about the experience of living in that city where the university is located
  • Ask about the top 5 things that international students do on their campus and the city in general. Don’t hesitate to ask the representative about their experience working with the university and the current international students!
  • Ask them about the different support services that are provided for international students
  • Ask them how they prepare their international students to do well on their campus

DO NOT ask

  • Do not ask about the minimum scores (SAT, High School) to get into a university.  Unlike India, the university looks at the overall application (TOEFL, SAT scores, high school transcripts, extra-curricular activities and achievements, essays and letter of recommendation) to determine your admission.
  • Do not ask about general rankings (you can always find such information on the internet)
  • Do not ask what the BEST program is offered in the university, or whether the university is the best in a particular program (there are about 4300 universities in the US, there are various programs that could be the best fit for you.)
  • If the university representatives are at your school to talk about undergraduate education, please avoid asking questions about their Master’s program. You have at least 5 or 6 years before you are going to apply for a Master’s program and at that point the requirements, there is a huge possibility that some requirements would have changed
  • If a student standing beside you has asked a similar question that you had in mind, do not ask that question again, unless you couldn’t hear what the admission representative was saying

Above all, understand that most of these representatives either read your college application or has the ability to recommend you for admission. That being said, please be mindful of the way you interact with them and be respectful of them and their time. Best of luck as you talk to the representatives and find the perfect place for you to spend the next four years of your life!

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