(MoneyWatch) Which college to attend is a monumental decision, but all too often teenagers and their parents don't devote nearly enough attention to researching their options.
You are more likely to find schools that are the right fit academically and financially if you ask a lot of questions. Here are 50 questions to get you started:
1. What is the
2. What is the five-year graduation rate?
3. What is the six-year grad rate?
4. What are the main reasons why students don't graduate on time?
5. How many students transfer out of your school?
6. What are the major reasons why students leave?
7. If you are exploring transferring in ask: what percentage of transfer credits does the college take annually?
Professors and academics
8. What is the percentage of professors who are tenured or on the tenure track?
9. What percentage of the faculty is full-time?
10. What is the average class sizes for the major you are interested in pursuing?
11. What is the average class size for lower-level classes?
12. What is the average size for upper-level classes?
13. Do you have a learning community or other freshman experience?
14. What percentage of students study abroad?
15. How much interaction, if any, will the typical undergrad have with tenured professors? Will it largely be confined to lecture halls?
16. How widely are teaching assistants used?
17. How many undergrads get to conduct research?
18. What departments offer undergraduate research?
19. Are there restrictions on any major.
20. Are the admission standards higher for certain majors?
21. Is it possible to double-major at your institution?
22. How much reading and writing is typically assigned in class?
23. Does the school have an honor college?
24. What are the requirements to get into the honor college?
25. Do seniors complete a capstone experience or project?
Jobs and graduate school
26. What is the job placement rate?
27. How is that ? Are the figures self-reported?
28. What percentage of students go on to graduate school or professional schools?
29. What are your school's feeder institutions for graduate and professional degrees?
30. What can I expect from your school's career services office?
College costs and financial aid
31. At what annual rate has the tuition been rising at your institution in recent years?
32. What percentage of financial aid need does your school typically meet?
33. What is the typical breakdown of loans versus grants in your aid packages?
34. Does your institution dispense merit awards, and what about talent scholarships?
35. What are the requirements to receive these awards?
36. What are the requirements to keep these scholarships?
37. Does the percentage of aid that you meet typically shrink after freshman year?
38. Does your provide an accurate estimate of what your school will cost me?
39. What is the average that graduates leave with?
40. Does your institution give out athletic scholarships?
41. What is the student loan default rate at your school?
42. What is the average amount of debt that students graduate with?
43. What percentage of students are in the Greek system?
44. What health and counseling services are available?
Questions to ask current students
Here are five more questions to ask students during a campus visit or via phone or email:
45. Why did you decide to attend this school?
46. If you could change anything about the school, what would it be?
47. What do you like best about your school?
48. What do you like least?
49. What kind of students succeed at your school?
50. What students end up not fitting in?