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Admitted-Student Day vs. Ordinary-Day Visits?

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Replies to: Admitted-Student Day vs. Ordinary-Day Visits?

  • billcshobillcsho Registered User Posts: 16,114 Senior Member
    We visited the same school several times before and after my D's admission several years ago. The pre-admission visit and admitted student visit have somewhat different focuses but also with some overlapping. The same school has even extra events to welcome scholarship winners. Obviously, the school would have different levels of attention to the attendees in these different events. The pre-admission visit will tell you more about the application process and admission requirement. The admitted visit will focus on the class registration process, orientation, housing info, etc. The scholarship winner welcoming visit will treat you even better (e.g. hotel stay, private tour, dinner, evening program, and sometimes even airfare included).
  • OttermaOtterma Registered User Posts: 1,009 Senior Member
    Admitted students days are great for kids who are shy about attending classes or doing an overnight individually. My kid never wanted to do either of those things on his own but he enthusiastically embraced the same opportunities when offered as part of a program.
  • i_wanna_be_Browni_wanna_be_Brown Registered User Posts: 7,771 Senior Member
    At my fancy pants private school, they always told us ordinary day visits were superior for actually getting a good sense of the school. We had the luxury of being a small school and young alumni were happy to host current students for an overnight visit. If at all possible that's what I recommend. A random 2 day, 1 night visit. Do the tour/info session, drop in on a class or two, hang out with the host and their friends, even if it's casual (I feel like at one visit I even just went to someone's room with my host and sat with them and did some homework while they did the same). The goal is to get a sense as to what your day to day life will be like, and the 2nd looks can certainly provide a lot more than nothing, but the ordinary day will always be superior.
  • ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad Registered User Posts: 5,778 Senior Member
    It's much easier to do things like arrange a meeting with a professor or attend a small class as an observer on an ordinary visit. Admitted students days are for bonding. Both of my kids did overnight "due diligence" visits off the radar. D1 was able to arrange a coffee with a professor who eventually became her mentor and research advisor. He wrote one of her grad school recs. On D2's visit to a school she was going to ED to, we had a professor walk up to us and talk to us as we were roaming the halls "reading the walls". It was the second visit for these schools with a different, more focused, mindset than a "should I apply" visit. In all cases, their overnight hosts were really helpful in getting a truer picture of the school as they all sat around doing homework. I don't think an organized admitted students day visit would have provided the same info because it would have been too hectic.

    D1 did an admitted students visit at a school nearby even though she was committing elsewhere just because a lot of friends from a summer program she attended were admitted also. It was much more for bonding and she had a lot of fun.
  • maya54maya54 Registered User Posts: 1,063 Senior Member
    edited April 16
    Admitted students days are way better when it comes to Certain schools that basically relegate you to standing outside every building on ordinary tours ( Nortwestern I'm looking at you, but Harvard too of course, though with more jutification since NW doesn't get a lot of tourists). On admitted students days they actually take you inside, including to dorms.
  • KamenRiderAgitoKamenRiderAgito Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    edited April 16
    I suggest on a weekday doing a self tour around the campus first, and doing the admitted student tour afterwards.

    That way you can see what the campus is really like when they are not putting on a show for the incoming freshmen, to see if the surroundings and atmosphere is right for you, and later you can get a more in depth tour that provides specific information you might not get by walking around campus, and you can meet other incoming freshmen.
  • joedoejoedoe Registered User Posts: 181 Junior Member
    Part of the reason I chose to enroll at my current university (Rensselaer) was since I went to accepted students day. I don't regret the decision one bit, and would say that going was a great experience that was very reflective of how the university actually ended up being. College's can't hide everything during these events, and typically you'll get a good perspective. Granted, if you're stuck or seriously considering schools, I'd say that more than one visit is a good idea. I visited Rensselaer two times before I enrolled, once for accepted students day and once on a normal tour and I'd say I had the same experience both times. At other schools, you might find the opposite which is why going on numerous occasions, if possible, isn't a terrible idea for schools you're seriously considering attending.
  • ClaremontMomClaremontMom Registered User Posts: 2,243 Senior Member
    I don't think it should be an either/or situation. Regular days are good for getting the "normal" vibe and can be done anytime (hopefully before one even applies). The admitted day is good for really getting access to so much more. Lots of sessions with factuly, students, current parents, special departments (such as study abroad or career services) make it much more informative.
  • mjrube94mjrube94 Registered User Posts: 351 Member
    We were at an admitted student's day with D this past weekend, after having visited twice for regular info sessions and tours. Two things set this day apart and made it worthwhile: 1) getting to see the freshmen dorm rooms; and, 2) taking a class with a professor. D was on the fence about double majoring in biochemistry. She went to a class taught by one of the professors and was so blown away that she came out saying she was definitely going to do it. Priceless.
  • FarquharFarquhar Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Admitted student days are very important -- you shouldn't skip because they provide you with the basics you need to know as an admitted student who may attend.

    The question to me is whether to do an official prospective student tour or a just visit and wonder around, sneaking into classes and observing people. Official tours are basically school propaganda that can create a false impression of what it is like to attend. Even Harvard's official tours create an alternate universe appearance of what the school is like day-to-day. The whole atmosphere of any school tour is synthetic and no one is going to tell you anything they don't want you to hear. Just walking around, watching and listening can be more helpful. You are more likely to catch students venting about the school or expressing sincere views.

    However, DIY touring requires more effort on your part, more than you might want to invest in anything other than your very short short-list.
  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing Registered User Posts: 680 Member
    I met some people on Admitted Student Day who became friends of mine in college. By sheer coincidence, I even met the person who ended up being my roommate!
  • trexation72trexation72 Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    My sister (who went to DUKE) visited 3 times, Admit day, before applying, another random time after acceptance. She said go to Admit day and another day becuase you get 2 different experiences of the college , when it is crowded and vibrant , versus when its quiet and normal business day. Go both times- its worthwile.
  • LilyMoonLilyMoon Registered User Posts: 1,832 Senior Member
    I think admitted students days are beneficial. While it would be best if you could do both, we had to choose one or the other and chose admitted students day due to travel and time constraints. I liked that there is more access to advisors, professors and representatives of the school and more opportunities to interact with them. Open houses at the various departments are also helpful. In addition, meeting potential friends, roommates and students entering as freshman with your child can make them feel more comfortable starting in a new place.
  • londondadlondondad Registered User Posts: 2,047 Senior Member
    I agree that visiting schools as an accepted student is very useful and can help make the final decisions. However, while it is probably better to attend an accepted students’ day, you can pretty much replicate the experience by just visiting the campus on a normal day in April, so long as you let your regional adcom know that you are coming and who/what else you want to see that day. We ended up visiting 3 admitted students’ days and 2 other schools where we could not make the admitted day due to scheduling. There are pros and cons to each approach although I don’t think we missed out on anything on the two schools where we visited on an adhoc basis.

    Overall, I did find the admitted students days somewhat disappointing as with a few small tweaks they could have been organized and presented much better. Here are several areas that I feel could be improved:

    1) More admitted students days, particularly later in the month – two related problems here. My DD did not receive her last decisions until 31/3 and the first admitted students’ days were on 7/4. It took 2 days of scrambling around to get reasonable hotels and flights booked but we managed it. Also, maybe it was because of the late Easter but many schools with nearly 10,000 undergrads only had 2 admitted students days and get filled up. A couple of these seemed to be too big and it was difficult to get to the sessions on time due to the crowds. One school in particular held the opening session in the basketball arena which must have had 5,000 people in it. This was a turn off for DD. In hindsight these schools should have had an additional day.

    2) Early starts – Why must these days start at 8:00am, particularly when they all seem to end around 2:00 anyway? This must be a real hassle for parents who are driving in that morning? I noticed that people would always be coming in continually (and noisily) through the opening sessions. For me, who arrived the previous evening and stayed in a hotel, dragging a jet-lagged 17 year old out of bed at 6:30 is not fun! In the UK, these type of events don’t usually kick off until 10:00 with registration from 9:00 or 9:30 as they know that people come in on the morning. Also for the schools that make it a two day event – one day is enough!

    3) Swag – You would think that these schools would realise that in April they are on the wrong end of a buyer’s market! You can’t even give a free T-shirt to an admitted student who has already paid an $80 application fee? We ended up with free T-shirts from 2 of the schools, sports bags plus assorted pens and other small stuff from 2 others and nothing from the fifth. (Yeah, the latter school is no longer on DD’s list). 2 of the schools also gave discount vouchers for more swag from the bookstore which was nice. One thing I notice is how many current students are wearing school swag compared to when I was at Uni. If I was these schools, I would be handing out lots of free swag for the kids to start wearing while they are deciding. At a minimum, it should be a free shirt, water bottle and car decals/stickers for the parents. It’s called marketing, guys!

    4) Student Interaction – I was surprised that there was so little opportunity for the kids to mingle with each other at these days. (If I was a hs senior I would want to see the type of kids I would be signing up to spend the next four years with!). Even at Georgetown, which did have an icebreaker session with students, most of the time was spent asking current students questions rather than the admitted students meeting each other. My DD was not too fussed about this as she said that even if she did meet anyone, there is a good chance that at least one of them will not even attend that school in September anyway.

    5) Free parking and food – One of my pet peeves at college visits is having to pay to park when we do campus visits. Again, shouldn’t they want prospective customers to feel welcome? (Marketing!) Why can’t Admissions just validate parking? We did get free parking at UVA, although it was in an inconveniently located lot, which we couldn’t find so we ended up parking at a different lot and paying anyway. Food provision seemed to differ wherever we went. Georgetown had free dining hall food for the kids but told the parents to go off campus which can be quite expensive based on where you go (they did have some good muffins and other snacks at the parents’ coffee so I just stuffed myself there!), UVA had free food for the kids (parents had to pay but at least we could eat with them in the dining hall) and I’m not sure what BC had as they had sessions and dorm tours running through the allotted lunch time so we did not have time to eat.

    Overall ratings (out of five stars): UVA 4.5, Georgetown 4.0 and BC 2.0. Last year UCSB 3.0 (but 5 for honesty/accuracy as you left there knowing the pros/cons of that school) and UMiami 2.0.
  • londondadlondondad Registered User Posts: 2,047 Senior Member
    edited April 20
    Also:

    6) Have a clear and articulate message about the schools vision and strengths: what makes your college great and differentiates it from the likely competitors for your admitted students. At the schools that we visited, I think that these schools often compete with top 10 ish LACs for A&S students, but probably not top 10 ish National Universities as those latter kids would just choose those schools. When we attended the A&S College's Dean's speeches we often got a clear message about how the A&S College is the engine of the University (as everybody takes at least some A&S classes); how analytical, discussion and writing skills gained from Humanities classes provide valuable life schools for any career; and the benefits of double majoring and interdisciplinary courses/seminars/majors. One school we visited botched this part and seemed to confuse liberal arts studies with both local citizenship and global outlook and overly focused on a new seminar program that only has room for 50% of the new freshmen.
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