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  • Debra M. Shively

What Questions Should you ask a US University Representative?

The number of US universities travelling to Australia to recruit students (like you!) is increasing every year.

In preparation for the upcoming college fair, below are questions to consider asking university representatives. Some of the representatives will be alumni (having graduated from the university they are representing) and live locally in Sydney and other representatives will be working in the admissions office of their respective university and have travelled to Sydney to recruit students and market their university to Australians. The financial commitment a US university makes by sending an admissions officer to Australia demonstrates the institutional enthusiasm for increasing applications from Australia and many offer scholarships to qualified international candidates.

One bit of information to keep in mind is that Americans interchange the words ‘college’, ‘university’ and ‘school’ all to mean studying after year 12. Most Americans would reference their undergraduate studies as either college or school to mean a four year public or private institution that offers a Bachelor’s Degree. Keep this in mind when speaking to university representatives when they speak about their ‘school’.

Below are questions you may consider asking US university representatives to learn more about their institutions.

General Questions

  • What makes your university/college unique?

  • What type of experience can I expect if I attend this university/college?

  • What course offerings/majors is this university best known?

  • How big is the undergraduate student body/how many students attend?

  • Is there on-campus accommodation?

  • Do most students live on campus all four years?

  • In what type of setting is it located? Urban, Rural, Suburban?

Academics & Campus Life

  • How large are the classes?

  • Are the classes more lecture or discussion based?

  • Are the classes taught by professors or teaching assistants?

  • Can undergraduate students work with professors on research?

  • What is campus life like?

  • Do most students live on campus?

  • Are they involved in clubs and/or sports?

  • Is there a lot of school spirit?


  • Does this university/college offer scholarships to international students?

  • Are they need-based (based on your parents income) or merit- based (based on your academic record)?

  • Are merit based scholarships competitive (i.e. do you only have a few to award or are all qualified applicants awarded the scholarship?)

  • To be considered for a scholarship do I need to submit an additional application or will I automatically be considered for a scholarship when I submit my application for admission?

Other Questions

  • How does your university support students after graduation?

  • Are there internship opportunities available while I’m still studying?

  • Are there opportunities to study overseas?

  • What is the most popular extracurricular activity?

The above questions will assist you in starting conversations with US university representatives and help to aligning questions between institutions for easier comparison.

Enjoy the College Fair at Redlands School on Monday 6 May. I will be there on the night visiting with university representatives as well. If you see me, come say hello.

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