40 Awkward Questions for College Tours

Peter Wood

For parents of rising juniors and seniors in high school, college visits are on the horizon for the summer. And admissions offices are lying in wait. They know the questions you will ask and they have the answers they want you to hear. But wouldn’t you like to ask some questions they’re not expecting?

NAS has some suggestions. We have two options. In the first, you get to play the role of an über-progressive parent eager to ensure that the college hits all the right PC notes. This should be fun:

1.       Does your college have a commitment to social justice? 

2.       What courses on post-colonialism do you offer?

3.       Will Ward Churchill speak on campus next year? How about Bill Ayers? What about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

4.       Has the college signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment? Well, what have you done so far to achieve your goals? Isn’t there a deadline coming up soon?

5.       Do you have safe spaces?

6.       Will Alex be forced to choose gender-specific bathrooms? What accommodations does your college make for transgendered students?

7.       What family planning services do you provide?

8.       Does your campus prohibit bottled water?

9.       Does the campus grow its own food? Does it use pesticides?

10.   Does the campus provide a vegan alternative? I know some of the books in the library have leather bindings. Will my daughter be forced to touch them?

11.   Does the university engage in animal research?

12.   I’ve heard that there is a possibility of your college allowing ROTC back on campus. That’s not true, is it?

13.   Are Christians and other bigoted groups allowed to use the college chapel?

14.   Does your campus have a system to report offensive speech or actions? I worry about retaliation. Is it anonymous?

15.   What is your commitment to global citizenship?

16.   What do you do to ensure that faculty members are truly and deeply committed to diversity, inclusive equity, access, economic justice, fair trade, the climate, and the fight against global warming?

17.   I’m concerned that attention to climate change is diverting resources from the fight against AIDS. How is your campus responding?

18.   Do you give academic credit for political campaigning?

19.   Do you have a tunnel of oppression?

20.   Do you have Intergroup Dialogue on your campus?

Be sure to keep a straight face. Extra points if you can elicit answers that appall other parents and cause them to head for the parking lot with junior firmly in tow. Keep track of the best answers and send them to us!

Option two – The questions they never want to hear:

1.       What specifically happens in freshman orientation? What sessions are mandatory?

2.       Who teaches the freshman writing courses? 

3.       Are freshmen required to read any particular books? Plato’s RepublicThe Federalist Papers?

Toni Morrison’s Beloved

4.       You don’t assign Howard Zinn’s propagandistic textbook, A People’s History of the United States, in any course, do you? 

5.       What courses are required for all undergraduates? 

6.       Do you have courses that explain why the free market is so much better than state control of the economy?

7.       Are single sex dormitories available? What are the visiting hours?

8.       Are there separate living facilities for members of minority groups who want to live together?

9.       What public debates did the college sponsor last year? 

10.   Is this a right to carry campus?

11.   Is the campus Christian group funded by the college?

12.   What percentage of your faculty are registered Democrats and what percentage registered Republicans? 

13.   A new survey by the Higher Education Research Institute shows that more faculty members are interested in teaching students to be social activists than in teaching them the great books. How do you think the faculty at this college would divide up on this question?

14.   What is the teaching load of full-time faculty members? What percentage of courses is taught by full-time faculty members? By adjuncts? By graduate students?

15.   How much money does your college spend each year promoting “diversity,” via diversity programs in student affairs, faculty appointments, diversity-themed courses, and administrators whose job is diversity-related? 

16.   What percentage of tuition goes to promoting “sustainability?”   

17.   What is the college’s credit rating?

18.   Did your school ever change its mascot to appease critics?

19.   Were any conservatives invited to speak on campus last year? If so, were they able to speak? What steps do you take to ensure free expression of ideas?

20.   How hard is it to get an A? How hard is it to fail a course?

Of course, in many cases the college spokesman will confess ignorance and promise to get back to you. You will, however, have done your part to ruffle the settled complacency of the system. The answers—or the evasiveness that you get in lieu of answers—will help you to determine whether this is the right college for your child. You will also set a good example for your child, who can only benefit by seeing firsthand that the stultifying regime of political correctness on campus can be questioned. 

Image: Pixabay, Public Domain

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