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New Study Highlights How College Visits Boost Admissions Chances At Selective Colleges

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Replies to: New Study Highlights How College Visits Boost Admissions Chances At Selective Colleges

  • whatisyourquestwhatisyourquest Registered User Posts: 598 Member
    edited August 31
    Many (most?) universities now have online registration for campus visits, so these universities have "A" already covered. It would be painless for adcoms at these universities to look up whether an applicant had visited.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 24,552 Senior Member
    edited August 31
    What facts support "schools prioritize those who make the effort to visit?" Again, this is CC's problem with causation vs correlation. Nothing says setting foot on campus is what tipped anyone in.

    Among tippy tops, of course they want to see you know the school. If you're truly "interested," you make the effort to learn what distinguishes that school, for you, and show your match, to them. That's demonstrating.

    That's more than registering or confirming you did see the ivy growing up the walls.

    And c'mon. What assurances does, say, Lehigh, get from a visit? You think if Harvard or Chicago or Vandy admits, or Alabama offers a big $$, the kid is promising to go to Lehigh? Or more likely to?

    And wait! He also visited those other colleges. How can they all assume?
  • EyeVeeeEyeVeee Registered User Posts: 487 Member
    There are no assurances, but the yield for those who visited and then applied vs. those who applied without a visit has to be higher. How many kids attend admitted student days and decide not to attend? If I were protecting yield, I'd bet on the kid who has been on campus and applied. That won't override money or prestige, but without knowing those things I'd bet on the kids the school has met.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 24,552 Senior Member
    So he visited Lehigh, Villanova, maybe Penn, in that area. What the hey, Princeton's about an hour away, then Rutgers is 30 mins further, maybe they hop to Columbia. (Not to mention other areas.)

    He applies to more than one, not ED. Which school will he yield at? Does Lehigh assume? Or Villanova?

    My kids visited multiples. But only enrolled at one each.
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad Registered User Posts: 910 Member
    @EyeVeee - Of course my son was rejected by some, as well, but I honestly don't think a campus visit would have made any difference. I think what made the difference was the "fit" factor. Of the seven Ivy schools he applied to, he was wait listed then rejected by two and withdrew from two. Of the three top LACS he applied to, he wasn't rejected by any. Again, I strongly doubt that a campus visit as a form of demonstrated interest would have made any difference in the outcome.


  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 62,870 Senior Member
    What assurances does, say, Lehigh, get from a visit?

    Here is a 2013 article where a newspaper reporter observed the Lehigh admissions committee:
    http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2013/04/06/Inside-the-admissions-process-at-Lehigh-University/stories/201304060155

    In one example in the article, an applicant's lack of visiting the web portal was seen as indicating lesser interest that may have influenced a decision to wait list the applicant.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 24,552 Senior Member
    Nice. But it doesn't guarantee enrollment.

    And those kids made it past first cut. All the way to final decisions. Despite mostly characterizing them by their stats, it's more.
  • whatisyourquestwhatisyourquest Registered User Posts: 598 Member
    Nothing guarantees enrollment. Well, maybe if you are the son or daughter of a US president.
  • evergreen5evergreen5 Registered User Posts: 189 Junior Member
    edited August 31
    Are far-flung students at a disadvantage if they don't visit campus? For students living a thousand or more miles away from the college, is there any demonstrated interest benefit from talking with a rep at a college fair or attending a visit by the college to the student's high school? I noticed that the latter may involve "signing up" in Naviance - is that information received or tracked by the colleges?

    As a parent, I'm daunted by the possible time involved in traveling for campus visits (not to mention that most official campus visits/tours seem to take 2-3 hrs at least, with 2 being the maximum realistic number of colleges one might officially visit per day?). For reach schools, the very schools where any tiny edge might be helpful, I'd rather wait until after acceptances due to the odds, but certainly I wouldn't want my own slacking to hinder my child's chances.
  • homessdhomessd Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    I'm sure there's some self-selection bias going on. You need a good amount of motivation and drive to get yourself out to a school that you love just to see it for yourself—without ANY guarantees of getting in.

    Someone who does a school visit just to "demonstrate" anything... I dunno, it doesn't seem likely they'll be able to tip the scales all that much. Maybe I'm wrong.

    Obviously if you have two or three colleges and you can afford to make the visits, by all means do it.
  • CaliDad2020CaliDad2020 Registered User Posts: 840 Member
    edited September 2
    @evergreen5

    I'm no admit pro, but I'd caution about worrying about fiddling in the margins, as well as putting the cart before the horse.

    The process, it seems to me, is pretty straightforward:
    There are tons of schools out there.
    A student, if they are doing due diligence, should show demonstrated interest in the school - how else do they learn about fit?
    As a practical matter, a student should be advised to leave a "trail" whenever they do something that demonstrates interest if they can. There are lots of ways to do this -
    If they go to the website, drop admissions an email with a legit question or sign up for some event. Usually you can sign up for communication.
    If they visit FB or other social media, hit the "like" button on something. Probably does little, but can't hurt.
    If they go to campus but don't have time for an official tour, stop by admission and say a quick "hello" and follow up with an email.
    If the school does alumni interviews, make sure to get one (btw, this is a place many schools gauge genuine interest, esp. in their further-flung admit areas.)
    If the school participates in a local college fair, try to drop by, go by the table and say "hi" to regional adcom. Follow up with an short email.
    There are so many easy ways now, no reason not to use them.

    Then, just as, if not much more importantly, the student should be very mindful of indicating interest in the appliction. This seems obvious, but I've spoken to more than one adcom who has seen applications that make it clear the school is not top choice for the student either subtly or nearly explicitely (and, as an alumni interviewer, I've had kids tell me unprompted, the school I'm interviewing for is not first choice, even though I never ask.) I think it helps to explain the application "yield game" to a kid so they don't think they are being dishonest. Many kids get hung up on the "1st choice" issue. I tell kids I talk to: Even if XX is not, technically, your first choice, would you be thrilled to be accepted and attend (cause you may not get into your 1st choice.) If the answer is "yes" then I encourage them to make sure that excitement - and the reasons for it - get into the application.

    Like @TiggerDad saw with his kid, it is very possible to express strong demonstrated interest (or inadvertently expess strong lack of demonstrated interest) through your essay/application. (The admissions talk at Columbia a few years ago mentioned a student who had included in his Columbia application that he had "always dreamed of going to school in New Haven...")

    I would doubt schools want kids and parents to spend lots of money crisscrossing the country just to show "interest" but schools are pretty saavy at distilling genuine interest/likelyhood of attending from the application process. They have seen it all by now.

    And, parents and kids should understand, schools are in a statistical catch-22, in a way, if they play the "accepted student stats" game while trying to yield protect. Lehigh or Villanova might see an 800/800/4 UW applicant, know that they are likely to attend a more competitive school, but if they accept them, their "admitted students" stats number rises. If they reject, to yield protect, they lose that stat bump. So sure, Villanova could engineer a 99% yield by accepting only students for whom 'Nova is a strong reach, but then their admitted student stats drop.

    So the clever adcoms try to divine "likely to attend" from the 25-75 students and that is where students should be most concerned about demonstrated interest: in the schools that are a "slight reach" or "reach."

    But I don't think many schools would want you to drop money you don't have and take time your kid can't afford, just to travel cross country and say "hi" in the hopes it tilts an application. There are many more cost-effective ways to do the same thing.

    And those visit/admit stats should have ED/REA applications teased out. I'd bet there's lots of overlap and ED is the hands-down best way (of course) to demonstrate interest and for schools to yield protect.

  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 24,552 Senior Member
    Don't tell Columbia you love the peaceful surroundings and Dart that you love the city vibe. Lol, real example. You don't need a visit to know.

    You can't nail whether a kid will attend. That bright kid may want to stay in his region (UCB, UCLA, Stanford, UM, UT, Duke, etc, versus a NE college.) Or the real New England goal is MIT, but hey, they were around, so they saw H and some LACs on the same trip. It's much more than a visit: it's fit and how they seem to have matched themselves.

  • billcshobillcsho Registered User Posts: 16,674 Senior Member
    Coincidentally, the only schools that my D1 was not admitted is the one she did not visit. Nevertheless, it has the lowest admission rate anyway. For D2, she only visited the primary target school which is basically the flagship in town. The next closest school on her list is 4+ hours away. To express interest in these schools, she submitted test scores early to some of them, visited their booths at the college fair (and filled up the information request form) in her school. In addition, she requested information on their websites. For schools that offer alumni review in town, registering for that would be a good way to demonstrate interest. Visiting campus is just one of the way to demonstrate interest, while do not visit a campus within driving distance may be interpreted as the lack of interest.
  • GnocchiBGnocchiB Registered User Posts: 1,631 Senior Member
    edited September 3
    Regarding the Princeton CDS saying it considers demonstrated interest - there is a set of private schools (both boarding and day) that typically send a good number of kids to HYP every year. For students from those schools, applying SCEA is looked at as very close to binding if the students are admitted, because the secondary school won't let the admitted kids apply to other Ivies. My D was invited to the Creative Arts & Humanities Symposium run by the Admission Office in the fall of 2015 (her senior year) and wrote the dean on her return that she would enroll if admitted (applied SCEA and accepted her offer right after Xmas break).

    The same calculus is also playing out with recruited athletes.

    Net, Princeton could be correct in both its CDS submission and with what it says on its website. It does not track visits for purposes of admission but it does consider "special" points of contact (demonstrations of serious interest) like the relationships between coach/recruited athlete and the wining/dining for humanities kids at the Symposium.
  • whatisyourquestwhatisyourquest Registered User Posts: 598 Member
    Another plausible reason why many highly-selective universities declare in the CDS that demonstrated interest is not a factor in admissions:

    If kids think that they have a shot regardless of demonstrated interest, then they will be more likely to submit an application. Conversely, stating that demonstrated interest is an important factor in admissions tends to suppress the number of applications -- the exact opposite outcome desired by universities aiming to climb in rankings, or stay at the top.

    Obviously, the more applications, the lower the admit rate, the higher the USNWR ranking. Stating that demonstrated interest is not considered in admission decisions may be just another way for universities to game the system.
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