I'm going to visit Smith (as well as Mount Holyoke) in a few days and I've been hearing conflicting views on how to dress for campus tours. I'll be going to the info session and the walking tour (which oddly enough didn't need reservations). I am not doing an interview, so I'm assuming I don't need to dress too formal. But some people have said to dress not too casual and not too formal. What does that mean? Can I wear nice jeans and a nice shirt? Can I wear a summer dress that isn't super casual? Can someone give me a better idea of how to dress?
It's summer, so jeans might be too warm actually, check the temperature and remember that it's humid in the Pioneer Valley. Dress casually and comfortably and wear comfy shoes, especially if you're doing two tours in one day. The students who are leading the tour won't be at all concerned about how you look and neither will the admissions worker leading the info session. Remember they're there to show the school to you, you're not there to show yourself to the school. Dress as you would for a normal day in your life in the summer.
Is that a big thing, to make reservations for tours? When I toured colleges everywhere I went the protocol was just to show up. Arrive a few minutes early so you have time to fill out the questionnaire about yourself so you can be added to mailing list and be counted as having attended a tour in your file.
Oh, that sounds great. I won't have to wear anything too dressed up then.
With the tours, some schools (like Boston University) you can make reservations for tours and such. I've just read stories of schools not knowing people have shown interest in their schools even though they attended college visits because they weren't on record. Maybe I'm just a wee bit paranoid. But if they have something that shows I've been there, then that is fine.
Absolutely dress for the weather!! Summer tours can be really hot and no one cares if you are dressed accordingly. Almost no one dresses up for tours and general info sessions unless they are also doing an interview and both MH and Smith will be aware of how hot it is. Also wear comfortable shoes and bring water. A lot of the buildings won't be air conditioned. Also when you get to the admissions offices there will be info cards to fill out so they will have a record of your visit. Smaller schools run regular tours and I think just don't have the mass of people that some of the universities have so don;t need pre-registration. Are you doing both schools in one day? If so be sure to leave some time in between to get from one to the other and maybe take a lunch break otherwise it can all start to blend together. Enjoy - they are both really nice campuses. Oh and if you have time it can be fun to walk around Northampton - try Faces (a nicer local version of Urban Outffiiters) and there are a lot of great places to eat! Not as much to do around MH.
My D will be going to MHC in the fall, but we toured about 14 colleges, including Smith and, obviously, MHC. Of the 14, the only college that wanted a reservation was Bard, and because of that, we did not tour it, also because we could not get a reservation! Shocking. We toured in March when HS's have spring break (Smith and MHC did too), so the tour groups were huge. My D dressed "nice" but nothing special. No one remembers you or what you wore, unless you also interview. Many tour guides as dressed very casually, like the HS students. But every college wants you to fill out a card. Do do it. You will get snail mail and e-mail correspondences galore through February. But do find yourself a good sized cardboard box to store it all in. Otherwise you fill find that stuff in the darndest places.
You can easily do Smith and MHC in one day, but if you do two schools in one day (Smith & MHC, or Bowdoin & Bates, or Conn & Wesleyan (as we did)), do eat in between. Each tour is 1+ hour and each info session is about 1 hour, all schools are about the same. Don't start #2 on an empty stomach. No matter what, #2 will look lousy if you don't eat in between.
I'd suggest interviewing in December or later. By then, you'll know which you like and don't like.
Also, please try to think of some things to ask about, don't let the aged parents ask everything. At Bates, they separated the parents and the students for separate tours. On the parents' tour, the questions came rapid fire. On the students' tour, I hear there was not a single question. I know the tour guides tell you everything, but please ask something. Don't be scared. Remember, you are buying, they are selling. Have fun! By the way, MHC is SAT optional, as is Bates, and Conn. Something to ask about in the info sessions. Also, they ALL have ultimate frisbee (for some reason, all the tour guides mention this). And MHC does look a bit like Hogwarts, and each year has its mascot, sortta like the houses at Hogwarts. My D will be a red Pegasus.
As a detail, Smith is also SAT-optional. ConCerndDad, good advice for school tours if you have to do two a day. As parents of twins from Massachusetts, we started very early in the process and we chose to indulge ourselves by touring just one college a day, so we could keep them straight in our heads; otherwise, they all seemed to run together. Even when we went up to Maine for Bates, Bowdoin and Colby, we did one a day, although we split it up with one twin going to Bates and the other to Bowdoin and then both for Colby. Also, doing one a day allowed us to also soak up the city/town environment a bit better. Different strokes for different folks! Jamlessberries, have a great time--relax--they're wooing you.
Having just finished the whole tour and application process fairly recently, if one has to skip something at a school, skip the info session. I know every school is different, but just about everything you need to know about the school you WILL get from the tour guide. Anything the tour guide does not tell you, is on the school's web site, or in the flood of brochures that you will eventually get. ALL the tour guides know their stuff -- they are living it, they don't have to memorize it (unless you want to know how many chairs there are in XXX Hall, or when it was built). You don't need the info session to learn how to apply, or that the school serves food, has housing, has an early decision program, etc., etc. At Bowdoin, the info session was devoted to the favorite foods of the attending 50 prospies. Just kill me with a spoon!
Also bear in mind that what you see on a summer tour will be very different from when the school is in session. It was a bit weird to look into hot empty dorm rooms that hadn't been lived in for a while - although less odd than the school we went to that had a "sample" dorm room done up by Bed, Bath and Beyond which may it feel like a display window. If travel isn't difficult that is the advantage of going back for an interview during the school year. We did two tours of both Smith and MH which also made for interesting perspectives.
Smith and MHC are definitely possible in a single day. My D did both, with tours and interviews, and didn't feel too worn out. The trick is beginning one early in the day, breaking for lunch, then heading over to the other.
I highly recommend scheduling a campus interview on this visit since you may not find time to return later. While interviews are not mandatory, they do give a face and personality to the application.
(sorry for the late reply, have been busy since the tours)
Thanks for all of your help everyone! I dressed rather casually as it was kind of warm walking around the campuses, but overall it was great weather. And I did both in a day with an eating break in between.
The tours were awesome and have helped me in deciding where I want to go. I can completely understand why CCers on here from MHC and Smith love their schools. They're awesome!