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George Kuh

Richard Doty
Media Relations

Last modified: Monday, May 12, 2003

Free pocket guide from IU helps students with college selection process

A pocket guide to help prospective college students ask the right questions during a campus visit is now available at no cost through the National Survey of Student Engagement at Indiana University Bloomington.

George Kuh, director of NSSE and a Chancellor's Professor at the IU School of Education, said, "There are some key questions that entering college students need to ask to maximize how much they will learn, grow and develop during their collegiate years. How engaged a student becomes in the educational process is a key to college success but, surprisingly, students generally hear little about student engagement from tour guides and admissions staff when they visit campuses. Our new pocket guide titled 'College. What you need to know before you go' addresses this issue."

An easy-to-print version of the guide is available at the Web site

Questions in the pamphlet include: How much writing is expected? How do students receive help selecting classes? How many students do research with faculty? What kinds of leadership opportunities are available? How frequently do students make class presentations?

"Answers to questions like these -- focused on such areas as academic challenge, campus environment, out-of-class experience, active learning, student-faculty interaction, diversity, and technology -- will reveal things about a college that you probably won't learn otherwise," explained Kuh. "The answers will give students a more realistic basis on which to compare institutions before they decide to apply or where to attend."

Several hundred thousand copies of the brochure have been distributed nationwide to high school counselors and interested parents as well as to all high schools in Indiana.

Kuh and his colleagues have received many appreciative comments

Rev. Mike Hilderbrand, director of guidance at Our Lady of Providence High School in Clarksville, Ind., termed the format and questions "outstanding." He said the questions asked were "to the point and covered a broad range of concerns. I've had students say they wished they had asked those questions when they visited colleges." He has requested an additional 200 copies of the guide to distribute to students at his high school.

Pam Lee, director of guidance at Center Grove High School near Indianapolis, said, "This is a great tool for us to use with the students. It is pocket size and very well organized. For example, under academic challenge, you might expect prospective students to ask how much time is spent on homework but most wouldn't ask what types of assignments are given, such as papers, exams, research projects, etc." She has asked for an additional 500 copies to supplement the 200 she already has distributed.

Kuh said the questions in the pocket guide are based on extensive research by NSSE, which annually surveys students at hundreds of colleges and universities on how involved they are in the learning process and the extent to which institutions use effective educational practices.

The project is supported in part by grants from Lumina Foundation for Education, The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Wabash College Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts. The Web site for NSSE is

For more information contact NSSE toll free at 866-435-6773 or