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For Parents and Students Making College Decisions—
A Pocket Guide to Choosing a College: Questions to Ask on Your College Visits

Pocket Guide Thumbnail Our newly revised pocket guide for parents and students is provided through school counselors, college admissions offices, educational organizations, and is also available for download on the NSSE website. The guide suggests questions students and parents might ask when visiting a campus or exploring colleges online that can help them make the difficult choice of the institution that best fits the student.

The Spanish-language version of our pocket guide Una Guía de Bolsillo para Escoger una Universidad: Qué Preguntas Hacer en Tu Visita a una Universidad, is available for download. Free copies are provided to high schools, colleges, and nonprofit educational organizations.

Learn more about the NSSE Pocket Guide in this short YouTube video


NSSE Pocket Guide Is Now Mobile!


Use the QR code below to access a streamlined mobile version of NSSE’s pocket guide. Have suggestions at your fingertips for questions you and your parents might ask as you tour campuses to learn more what students are doing and thinking at a particular college or university.

A Pocket Guide to Choosing a College: NSSE 2014 Answers from Students

Pocket Guide Report Thumbnail A Pocket Guide to Choosing a College: NSSE 2014 Answers from Students (this report was formerly named the Student Experience in Brief) provides a snapshot of the level of student engagement on campus and is based on student responses to selected questions from the pocket guide. The pocket guide brochure and report were designed primarily to aid prospective students and their families during the college search process, but institutions may also find the report a valuable resource for a variety of on- and off-campus constituencies.

View a sample of the Pocket Guide report.

NSSE and the VSA College Portrait


The VSA recently mailed out over 16,000 promotional packets and new College Portrait posters to high school counselors across the country. You can find more information and download the flyer (PDF format) from the VSA Web site.

What Educators are Saying about the NSSE Pocket Guide:

"I plan to give a copy to each junior and senior. We will discuss the survey, the colleges who have participated, and how to use the questions in the booklet. I teach a class called 'Senior Seminar,' which spends significant time on college research and application strategies. I also meet with juniors and their parents in the spring to officially open the college search process."

- Director of College Counseling, private school, Snyder, NY

"I will distribute them to the entire junior class when I make presentations to them in the spring. I would also like a few to have available for parents who drop in to my office and for younger students. I also intend to put the link to your website in my Junior/Senior Planning Handbook so that families can become familiar with NSSE."

- College and Career Advisor, high school, Pleasant Hill, CA

"I am very excited about getting these guides. They will be so helpful for our juniors and seniors who are beginning the college application process. Thanks!"

- High School and College Program Coordinator, youth program, Chicago, IL

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