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Higher Education in Maryland

Questions about College --  Living There

college hall

Whether a student plans to live on campus or to commute to college, the student needs to consider what his or her daily life will be like.  Here are some questions to ask related to life at a college (again, talk with your son or daughter to decide which are most important):

Health and Fitness

  • Colleges have staff dedicated to the physical and mental health of students.  The types of services available will depend on the college.  Staying healthy is a first step to college success!
  • Many colleges offer free classes in sports or other exercise, in study skills and test-taking and in managing stress.
  • Is there a gym?  Is there a pool students can swim in even if they're not on the swim team?
  • What intramural sports are offered?  Can students always participate for free?

Transportation

  • Is there a college bus service for students?  Is bus service provided on campus as well as off campus?  What are the hours of operation?  Is bus service free?
  • Can students have cars on campus?  (Some four-year colleges do not allow first-year students to have cars.)
  • Are there places outside the classroom to lock bicycles?
  • How much does a parking permit cost?

Safety

  • How safe is the campus?  Where can I find crime statistics for the campus and area?
  • Are the first-year residence halls ("dorms") locked at all times?  Who has access to them?
  • Is there a student escort service to accompany students home from the library or other locations at night?  What hours does it operate?

Employment

  • Are there many jobs for students on campus?
  • How much do campus jobs usually pay?
  • What kind of jobs are locally available for students?
  • Does the college help students find  paid internships or externships?

Social Life

  • What clubs, volunteer groups, and other extracurricular activities are available?
  • Where do students socialize on campus?  Off campus?
  • What are weekends like on campus?

Food

  • What kinds of dining facilities and meal plans are available?
  • How are special diets accommodated? (for example, food allergies or diabetes)
  • How close is the nearest grocery store?

Housing

  • What percentage of undergraduate students live off campus?
  • Is there a service that helps commuters find housing?
  • Are students guaranteed housing on campus the first year?  Is housing also guaranteed after the first year?
  • What is the average size of a first-year student's residence hall room?
  • What is the maximum number of students who might share a first-year dorm room?
  • How many people share a bathroom in the typical first-year residence hall?
  • How much storage space is in a first-year room?  Is there a desk in the room?
  • Do students rooms have Internet access?  Telephones?

Religion

  • If a student practices a religion, there may be a place on or near campus where people of the same religion gather for services/meetings.
  • A student may attend a college that is affiliated with a religion even if s/he does not share the beliefs.  Depending on the campus and on the student, this may or may not be comfortable for the student.

And Before College Classes Begin ...

  • Students who live on campus need to have bed linens and easily portable toiletries.  Check out living arrangements and room and bed size before shopping.
  • Watch for tax-free sales days--sometimes you can save a bundle on school supplies.
  • Who will the student's roommate or roommates be?  Students should contact each other before school begins to get acquainted.
  • Orientation will be offered, probably during the summer or just before classes start.  This is a great opportunity to meet other students and for receiving valuable advice from college staff and other students.  Students might also be registering for classes during orientation.

Tips for applying to college

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