Pocket Guide

A Pocket Guide to Choosing a College: Questions to Ask on Your College Visits

A Pocket Guide to Choosing a College: Questions to ask on your college visits, was created as part of an ongoing public awareness campaign to refocus the national conversation about what constitutes quality in the college experience.

See what people have to say about it!

Finding a Good Fit

Selecting the right college is one of the most important decisions a student will make. Parents and school counselors play a major role in helping students gather and evaluate information on potential schools. To get a sense of how likely a student is to learn, grow, and develop at a given institution, parents and students need to ask the right questions about the schools they visit or explore on the Web. To help them, the NSSE pocket guide includes suggestions for questions to ask of key people that they will meet - the tour guide, admissions staff, and currently enrolled students. A Spanish version of the pocket guide, Una Guia de Bolsillo Para Escoger una Universidad: Preguntas a hacer en tus visitas universitarias, is also available.

Questions Based on NSSE

The majority of questions in the pocket guide are aligned with survey items from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). Each year NSSE collects information directly from thousands of students at hundreds of colleges and universities. Responses to the survey provide valuable information about what is actually going on in the lives of students and the quality of their college experience. Although our agreement with schools prevents us from reporting the results for specific colleges and universities, many schools provide their NSSE results to prospective students if asked, or post results on their institutional Web site. NSSE also provides a list of colleges that have participated in the survey.

For more detailed information on the NSSE survey that may be of help to your students and their parents, see the FAQ for parents and students. Even if a school does not participate in NSSE, the pocket guide is still a very useful tool for getting answers to questions about the college experience.

How to obtain copies of the Pocket Guide

NSSE offers free copies of the pocket guide to high schools, colleges and non-profit education organizations. Professional consultants and for-profit organizations are charged a small fee. Parents and students can either check with their counselors for a copy or download a copy in English or Spanish.

Order Copies of the Pocket Guide

Evidence-Based Improvement in Higher Education

Center for Postsecondary Research
Indiana University School of Education
201 N. Rose Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405-1006
Phone: 812.856.5824