It’s important to know about students and the general student life of a college before you plan to join it. The admissions people will often be biased in providing these answers. So who to ask then?
What to Ask
I’m sitting here in the bookstore in the café of Sewanee University of the South, and it’s always hard to get a bead on what kind of students are on a campus. So I just got this cup of coffee and there’s a woman behind the counter who is from India, who was very kind to me, and so I just asked her I said, “Well so tell me about the students.” And she said, “Well there are lots of students here who are really serious about their studies, and then there are lots of students who are really just here to party.” And then she apologized, she was giving such an honest answer. And I laughed and I said, “No, no I really am very interested. What would you say is the breakdown of the serious students to the party students?” And she said really it’s about 65% are serious and that they really are into their studies, and then 35% are not.
Then I followed up with one other question. I said, “Well so look, this is not a very diverse community. This is a white community and she’s from India—a foreigner—speaking with an accent. And I said, “Well how do the students who come in here treat you?” And she said, “With the upmost respect; I’ve never had a problem.” So that speaks well even though it’s not a diverse campus, that it is a tolerant campus, and I was glad to hear about that. But sometimes when you’re visiting a college campus you should do these kinds of questions, ask the most random people about it because you’re going to get a different perspective than anything you get from the admissions office. So don’t hesitate, ask.