While Jewish life on many college campuses today is thriving, there are challenges as well. Some campuses have experienced vitriolic condemnations of Israel, seen professors refuse to write letters of recommendation for students contemplating studying in the Jewish state, and even been the site of anti-Semitic vandalism and attacks.

Here are 13 questions every Jewish student should ask when visiting colleges to help them get a sense of what lies in store.

1. How big is the Jewish community on campus?

Note that even smaller Jewish communities can be dynamic and welcoming. “A bigger observant community doesn’t always equate with a ‘better’ experience for students,” observes Dr. Rebecca Cypess, an Associate Professor and the Associate Director at the Department of Music at Rutgers. “Smaller communities can prompt students to develop leadership skills that they might not otherwise find in themselves. Those skills, and the self-confidence that they inspire, can serve us for a lifetime.”

2. What Jewish organizations are there on campus?

Is there a Hillel on campus? How about a Chabad, Aish, Meor? Ask about Jewish clubs and organizations, then make time to visit. See what the buildings are like and meet the staff. Are there students hanging out in the Hillel or Chabad? Take a look at their weekly schedule or, better yet, attend an event. If you can, arrange to eat a meal or attend Shabbat services on campus to get a real sense of what it’s like.

“I would want to speak with the Hillel Director and arrange a meeting and a private tour with a current Jewish student,” explains Jake Kaufman, Director of the Hillel at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

3. Are there Jewish fraternities and sororities?

If you think a frat might be for you, ask to visit some of the Jewish sororities and fraternities and speak with members too.

4. What kind of diversity is there in the Jewish community?

Rabbanit Ahava Schachter-Zarembski, the OUJLIC Senior Educator at the Hillel of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, suggests prospective students ask where Jewish students come from and the different ways they express their Jewishness. Do Orthodox Jews participate in the same activities as non-Orthodox Jews? Be sure to speak with current students and the administrators in Jewish organizations.

5. How can I become involved in Jewish campus life?

“We know that people who get involved in building community make their own personal university experience more enriched,” explains Rabbi Aaron Greenberg, Director of the Orthodox Union’s Seif Jewish learning Initiative on Campus – Canada. See if you’ll have the chance to get involved and how easy it is to adopt leadership positions.

Some Jewish organizations even offer formal internships. Ask if these exist on the campus you’re visiting too.

6. Are there residence halls which typically have larger numbers of Jewish students?

Check out where Jewish students live to get a sense of what it would be like to be a student.Take a look at rooms and common areas. Ask to speak with current students and spend time with them hanging out if your schedule allows.

7. Where can I get kosher food?

Is kosher food available in university dining halls – or do you have to go off campus? Is kosher food available at each meal? Every day? If you want to truly sample a college’s kosher options, ask to have a meal on campus. As an added bonus, you’ll get to meet current students and see what a typical meal is like.

8. Is there a local Jewish community nearby?

There are times when you might feel like getting off campus. Ask about synagogues, kosher restaurants or Jewish cultural life in the area.

9. Are there Jewish services on campus?

Are there Jewish religious services on campus? Find out where and when. Whether you’re not a big synagogue-goer or you never skip a day in shul, it’s important to know when and where services are for those times you want to tap into them and pray as part of the Jewish community.

10. What is Shabbat like on campus?

Consider asking to spend a Shabbat on campus. Nothing beats experiencing a Shabbat to give prospective students a sense of what it’s like to live on campus as a Jewish student. Contact the local Hillel, Chabad or the university itself to help arrange a Shabbat meal or even a complete Shabbat.

11. Has there been anti-Israel or anti-Semitic activity on campus?

Which groups were responsible and how active are they today?

12. How does the university administration respond to anti-Semitism?

Anti-Semitic incidents can happen on many campuses and it’s crucial that universities handle them with sensitivity and reassures Jewish students. It’s a good idea to ask about the university’s relationship with Jewish organizations overall: are they broadly supportive? If not, what are the areas of tension?

13. How many students went on Birthright from this campus last year?

Also consider asking if there be a set Birthright bus from this school? That requires that 40 students sign up together.

Finally, as you tour prospective colleges, keep in mind that not only are schools interviewing you to see if you are a good fit with their student body, you are interviewing them! That means you shouldn’t worry about expressing your Judaism – nor any other part of your personality. As Rabbi Aaron Greenberg notes:, “Jewish students should be proud of who they are and use these years, not just to study their academic courses, but also to grow as a person and as a more knowledgeable and active Jew.”