Chat with Students: a New Tool to Support Your Search for the Right School
You'll have the chance to connect with students online, one-on-one, to learn what life's really like at the schools that interest you.
One of the best ways to learn is to ask questions. Whatever school or program you're considering, other students have been through it before, and can help you if you ask.
The new Chat with Students tool on SchoolFinder is meant to help you make these connections so you can get your questions answered.
Powered by Unibuddy, a leader in student communication tech, the tool puts you in touch with a student so you can learn about their experiences. These students, who act as ambassadors for their schools, are online because they want to help new students like you, so don't be shy!
Filtering to find the right fit
You can filter students by:
- subject — that is, the program that they're taking
- location — where the school is located
- country of origin — where the student originally comes from
Together these filters let you narrow down the field until you find a student with similar interests to you — or you could ignore them completely and just chat with whomever's available!
Student ambassador profiles
Here's a quick look at the info you can find on a student ambassador's profile:
- where they come from — city, country, and province/state, as applicable
- languages spoken — from English to French, Russian, Hebrew, and beyond
- currently in — what stage of their education the student is currently pursuing
- favourite modules — areas of interest that really appeal to the student, like anatomy or classical music
- previous studies — the education the student completed before getting to where they are now
- hobbies and interests — what the student gets up to outside of schoolwork
- societies — clubs and organizations the student's affiliated with
- about me — the best part: a short paragraph written by the student to let you know what they're all about
Questions to ask student ambassadors
Feeling a little tongue-tied? Here are a few questions to ask to get the ball rolling. Don't feel obligated to follow this script; if you're comfortable, be sure to improvise.
Open vs. closed questions
First up, a quick primer: questions can be "open" or "closed." Open questions demand elaboration, and usually include one of the journalistic Ws: "who, what, where, when, how, and why." Closed questions, on the other hand, are usually "yes or no." For example:
Open: "What's your favourite place on campus to study?"
Closed: "Do you have a favourite study spot?"
Usually, open questions get better answers than closed questions.
- Which professors and instructors stand out to you, and why?
- How much time do you spend with instructors in lectures or labs? How much of your program is taught by TAs instead?
- How often do you take advantage of office hours?
- What sorts of co-op or internship opportunities do you have access to?
- How would you describe the campus feel?
- What's the school's general reputation among its students?
- What are some of your favourite clubs or associations?
- How do you typically spend your free time?
- What sorts of part-time student jobs are available on or around campus?
Housing and acommodations
- What's the local city or town like?
- What's the cost of living on- or off-campus?
- What's your housing situation like? Was it easy and affordable to find a place?
Student services and supports
- What services (academic, health and wellness, etc.) have you taken advantage of? What were they like? How much can be done online vs. in-person?
- Who would you reach out to if you need support in the future?
- What was the application process like for you? Did you need outside help to apply?
- What supports have you received around planning for graduation, and perhaps employment afterwards?
Scholarships and student loans
- How much do you pay in tuition each year? How about extra materials and books?
- What sorts of scholarship opportunities did you get? How much did you take home in total, if any?
- Were you assessed for provincial or federal student loans? Was the amount you received enough to cover your expenses?
- What supports are available if you have a financial emergency?
- Why did you choose this school and program?
- Would you do it all again the same way if you could? What would you change, if not?
- What would you do differently if you were in my shoes?
- How ready do you feel to start your career?
This is just a sampler! You don't need to ask all (or even most) of these questions — just get the ball rolling on your conversation and you can probably handle it from there.
Be sure to ask clarifying follow-up questions, too, if you don't fully understand the answer, or you want more info. More questions > fewer questions.
Good luck, and have fun chatting!
Try out the Chat with Students tool