I received this greenish pamphlet from WashU a couple weeks ago, and it says that it will provide everything after I pay a registration fee of $45. Someone also told me that this thing was sent out only to some 300 people. Is that true?
I don't think anyone knows how many students are invited, but it sounds like 3-400 usually attend the weekend. Some get paid airfare, and most get everything you saw on the brochure covered by the $45 registration fee. Here's a recent discussion: Discovery Weekend
Of course it's legit. I've been to two events now where I had everything paid for by the school. One was an invitation to visit, wish was 100% free inlcuding airfare/taxis, and the other was ArtiSci Summer Weekends, where a fee was paid and then meals, housing, etc. were all provided.
i agree, definitely not a huge advantage. if you haven't visited the school though, it is definitely in your interests to do so at some point, if you're even vaguely unsure about what school you want to go to. might not affect adcom's decision, but it could affect yours.
someone on my floor just came for discovery weekend but didn't have washu highly ranked. He was HYPS material and WashU was his seventh choice. He got rejected from all but WashU...so yea couldn't hurt to apply/visit.