Questions about College
-- Choosing a College
A college should match student's needs. Colleges offer
different types of degrees, majors, social and physical
environments, and support services. The student should
feel challenged but also comfortable. Ask questions and
compare! Find the best fit. (See the "Maryland
Colleges" section for more information about types of colleges).
The topics below pertain to most colleges, including community
Do the degrees offered by the school meet my career goals?
- Some jobs require specialized degrees. To become
an architect, a person must have a degree in
architecture--however only some colleges offer architecture
programs. To be a nurse, a person may need an
associate degree, a bachelor's degree, or a graduate degree.
Not all colleges offer nursing programs, and those that do
offer different kinds of programs.
- Students should work with their school counselors and
research so they find the colleges that have the academic
programs that interest them.
- Students can search for academic programs available at
Maryland colleges at
What if I don't know what to major in or do for a career?
All students should be encouraged to speak with school
counselors, academic advisors, and career services staff about
possible careers and jobs in those fields. They should
also talk to people who work in fields that seem interesting to
For a start check out
What high school grades are required for college?
- This depends on the college. The high school
counselor can make some recommendations and college
admissions staff will offer advice about their own colleges.
- Some people become much better students in college and
transfer to more competitive colleges after a year or two.
Always keep in mind that college is possible (See also
"Steps for Applying.").
Make sure the college is properly accredited!
Colleges can be accredited in different ways, but they
should at least be accredited by an agency recognized by the
U.S. Department of Education. Type in the school name at
What do students say about the college?
To learn what a college is like in and out of the classroom,
it's best to visit and talk to students and staff. (See
"Visiting Colleges.") Are students happy with their
college choice? What do they like best? What do they
wish they could change?
Will I feel comfortable on this campus?
- Research the college online and visit it, whether it's a
two-year or four-year college.
- Check out "Studying There" & "Living There"
for questions to help guide your decisions. Don't
feel that all questions have to be answered--discuss which
ones seem most important to your success.
- If the college offers interviews, the student should
take advantage of this opportunity to learn about the
college and to have the college staff learn about the
Some colleges offer or require interviews.
Admissions information will explain if an interview is
required for admission. Some colleges offer informational
interviews that are not part of the admissions process.
The college website may have information about interviews.
Contact the college admissions office if you have questions
about interviews with college staff or about alumni interviews.
What are college interviews like?
Interviews help students learn about colleges and college
staff to learn about prospective students. Both the
student and the college are looking for a good "fit."
Students should research the college before the interview.
Interviews are usually held in the admissions office with
members of their staff. Here are a few quick interview
pointers for students:
- Be on time. Try to arrive about 15 minutes
- Be honest. The students and the college
want to find the right fit.
- Speak, dress, and act professionally. Don't
be overly formal, but don't use slang. Business casual
dress is appropriate (conservative skirts or pants and
blouses or sweaters for girls and slacks with a polo shirt,
sweater, or jacket for boys). Offer a firm handshake,
make eye contact, show interest in the conversation by
responding appropriately and asking questions, and speak
with confidence (but not arrogance).
- Be prepared to ask questions. Students may
take a list of questions to the interview to help them
remember what they want to learn about the college.
It's not a good idea to take notes during the interview, but
the student should make notes just after the interview to
remember important points.
- Be prepared to answer questions. Some
questions may be specific ("What do you want to major in?")
and some may be general ("Tell me about yourself").
Students may be asked why they want to attend the college,
what majors interest them, and what their long-term goals
are. They may also be asked about their academic
record, strengths and weaknesses, and what they can
contribute to the life of the college. Students should
be familiar with admission requirements before the
- Send a thank-you note after the interview.
Ask for the interviewer's name or business card so you can
address the note to the right person.
Can the college put you in touch with one of their local
Some colleges offer alumni interviews. These may not
officially be part of an application process, but students
should take them seriously and use them to learn about the
college. Keep in mind that these interviewers are
volunteers and will be positive about college.
More information on Maryland