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Admitted Students Days - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

STEM2017STEM2017 Registered User Posts: 4,091 Senior Member
Admitted students days can be expensive and time-consuming exercises. But often they are worth the effort and make a big difference in the final decision process. As we approach the season for admitted students days for the high school class of 2019, I thought it might be valuable to share in our experiences and maybe save some people a lot of time and money when deciding among several 'days' to choose from. Any experiences you care to share?

Replies to: Admitted Students Days - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

  • STEM2017STEM2017 Registered User Posts: 4,091 Senior Member
    For S17, we only attended one - Virginia Tech Hokie Focus. Hokie Focus takes place in early April. S17 really enjoyed the day and it really sealed the deal for him. He heard engineering presentations and was able to speak with several students about their experience. S17 immediately felt comfortable envisioning himself as a VT student. As a family, we found the event well organized and lots of fun. The school did a great job making everyone feel welcome to the Hokie Nation. This extreme spirit may be a turn off for some, so be prepared to hear "LET'S GO!...HOKIES!" all day. Another downside was the cost. Hotels gets expensive on 'event' days (games, move-in, move-out, family weekends, admitted student days, etc.). Non-event weekend hotel prices range from $125 - $175/night, Event weekend hotel prices range from $299-$425/night. As evidenced by the surge pricing, the event was crowded, but not suffocating.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 76,011 Senior Member
    Our second kid had three top choices that were far away from home. We felt she should attend accepted student events at all three of these...and financially we were able to support this.

    Two schools were 3000 miles from home and the accepted student events were the same week...and during our kid’s spring break from HS. We all went. Kid hated...and I mean HATED one of the schools and it immediately got jettisoned from consideration.

    The second 3000 mile away school was where she matriculated, and graduated. She really loved their accepted student days, and the students she met (as an aside, she ended up working in undergrad admissions and tweeked an accepted student program which she ran for three years).

    The third school was the number two choice....and again, she liked the accepted student day which they did special for her (because she couldn’t attend any of their official ones). But like...not love.

    I think YMMV on these programs. The schools DO put on great accepted student events....well orchestrated.

    I think if your kid can attend if there is a question about the top choice...then go. If the student already has a top choice, I’m not sure why another visit would be needed.
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 5,188 Senior Member
    I think that the admitted student days were quite useful when we were able to attend them.

    One issue is that if you have applied to schools that are some distance from home, it can be an expense and inconvenience to get to them. We had one case where DD was accepted to a school that was several hours away, but which had an admitted student day quite close to where we live (30 minute drive from home). The issue here was that the admitted student day was helpful, but it wasn't on campus.

    "envisioning himself as a VT student"

    Exactly right (except for us VT was replaced by a different school). Due mostly to scheduling issues, in most cases we found it more useful to just visit the campus and get a regular tour. Doing this after being admitted has the advantage that it is very real -- given an acceptance plus decent financial aid the student knows that they really can attend here in September if they want to do so.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 7,435 Senior Member
    Not attending can be a major mistake when one considers the lifetime impact it has on one's future.

    As a family, we made a mistake attending our son's graduation at his New England boarding school which was scheduled at the same time as an accepted students week at a large state university for full ride scholarship students in the honors college fellows program.

    While missing one's high school graduation might seem unwise to some, not so for boarding school students who have lived together for four academic years.

    Accepted students' days are very important for those wishing to bond early with the school & future classmates, as well as for those still undecided.
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad Registered User Posts: 1,879 Senior Member
    My S had 7 colleges to choose from with all varying FA offers. Obviously, there's no point in spending valuable time and money visiting those colleges that your family can't afford or isn't willing, so that was the first in the elimination process. Another significant consideration, from the list of admitted colleges, is what your kid considers the dream school, if there's one from the list, and if not, what is the most ideal, and balance that with the family's affordability. That pretty much eliminates everything but one or two colleges at the most to then consider whether to visit both on the Admitted Student Day or just one. But I do highly recommend visiting the school(s) before the final decision is made. It's worth the time and the cost; I thought of it as a mini family vacation.

    In my S's case, he was fortunate that his dream school also happened to be the one with the most generous FA, so things worked out not only for him but for us the parents, as well. While we took the trip on the Preview Day for admitted students, we decided to swing by another admitted school that was only an hour's drive away and where our return flight was, so there was no additional cost involved other than some minor expenses for sightseeing. During the Preview Day visit, colleges usually offer an overnight stay as well as observe a course being taught in a classroom, and I think it's important to accept both offers to get a good "preview" taste of what to expect.
  • momocarlymomocarly Registered User Posts: 800 Member
    S17 was intending to go to his top choices' accepted student's programs. One of his top schools didn't really have them, they suggested doing individual tours where they would schedule things the student was interested in. Their big thing was orientation were they had two day options available. His department did have a full day that you could sign up for, be paired with a student, go to classes, tours, lunch with the student, tours etc. S chose to do this and pair it with an interview he had for their Veterinary college early admissions program. That also gave him a specialized tour of the vet hospital. He loved the class he attended. The professor let him participate in the lab they were doing and he got to extract DNA and was sold. The student he was paired with was very informative and asked me to meet them for one part of the tour. During that part he got an e-mail that he was accepted into the early admissions program and after that no other school was in contention. He told me that day was the best day of his life. Everything just fell in line. It was very worth it to go (even without the interview). Really gave him a better feel for the school.

    The orientation was good but we were glad he didn't end up doing the entire weekend (work constraints) because he already had a good feel for the school after two previous visits. That day seemed almost more for the parents and signing up for classes.
  • 1NJParent1NJParent Registered User Posts: 1,002 Senior Member
    I echo the sentiment that attending admitted student day(s) is very helpful. My S went to the events by himself because we've visited these colleges (and a few of them more than once) and we wanted the final decision to be his and his alone. He made a number of new friends at these events. One of his new friends is his current roommate.
  • techmom99techmom99 Registered User Posts: 3,371 Senior Member
    We didn't do any accepted student days.

    My D didn't visit her college until after she had decided to attend and we were unable to make accepted student day so I went up with her and my second son for a junior open house weekend. She loved it and we deposited from the hotel room. My son wound up at the same school.

    With S17, he visited alone on a special weekend where he also interviewed for his program. Accepted student was the following weekend and I couldn't swing it financially or time wise. The first time I saw his school was at orientation. My H has not yet been to the school.
  • homerdoghomerdog Registered User Posts: 4,602 Senior Member
    Oh how I am anxious about the accepted students days. S19 has applied to 13 schools and we've only visited half of them. Finances aren't really an issue and we didn't have him visit this two biggest reaches. So, if he gets into those two then he will visit. He's not convinced that those are the best schools for him though. I've been having nightmares about how he just couldn't decide after we spent April flying all over the place and, in my dream, he makes a tortured decision at 11:30 on April 30th. I do hope he gets into a good handful of his schools so that he has options. I just hope the cards fall in a way that makes it not too hard to make a choice. All but one decision will be coming in March.

    I've asked him to review websites and make pros and cons lists and try to think a little about how he's comparing schools. Maybe do a little thinking about "if X school comes in the Y and Z can be eliminated". He's got one school that, if accepted, will help him eliminate four schools. That would leave seven other schools that he would still want to see if he gets in. He won't get into all seven. I'm sure about that. Anyone else having this issue?

    Good to hear from everyone above that accepted students days really help.
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 5,751 Senior Member
    My daughter had a major conflict with her admitted student day. She called admissions directly to get more information about what she was missing and they told her that there really wouldn't be too much she hadn't experienced on her prior visits. (She had two official visits plus did a summer program).

    I think this is a good reminder for parents who haven't been through the process to know that if your child hasn't visited yet, it can become crazy trying to get to admitted student days. Depending on when schools release decision, it can be less than a month between notification and needing to make a decision.
  • suzy100suzy100 Registered User Posts: 5,721 Senior Member
    It was the admitted student visit that clinched it for my older D. I think they are a great way to get more info on the academics and to just mingle with the other kids there. It was down to 2 for her. I can't imagine having to do more than 3.
  • ChaosParent23ChaosParent23 Registered User Posts: 452 Member
    We aren't doing the admitted student day at S19's school. We didn't allow him to apply to any school that he hadn't already visited & fallen in love with so there really isn't any need to see the school he's chosen again. That said, had there been any early incentives such as; meeting w/ adviser, scheduling classes, etc. I think we would have at least discussed the idea.
  • LoveTheBardLoveTheBard Registered User Posts: 2,106 Senior Member
    edited December 2018
    It's interesting how some schools are willing to accommodate overnight visits both outside (and within) accepted students days, while others, not so much.

    D was accepted to a number of top schools, but unable to make most of the programs for accepted students. This ended up being a total dealmaker or dealbreaker in some cases (I'm looking at you, Princeton) as she had not visited any of the schools before applying. Several schools offered "outside Admit Days" (or the equivalent) and D was able to set up overnight visits, that weren't during the official "Admit Weekend," "Bulldog Days," "Preview Days," etc.

    The least flexible schools in that respect were Princeton and Vanderbilt, although D was ultimately able to arrange something for an overnight visit at Vanderbilt as a Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholar by communicating directly with the Dean of that scholarship program.

    Expecting admitted students to travel across country and not have an opportunity for an overnight stay seems strange to me and we found it to be rather off-putting. Princeton, for example, was only willing to go as far as setting up a lunch with a student (gee, thanks), while Vanderbilt only offered its half-day "Anchor Days" or "Dore for a Day" programs. Other schools (e.g., Yale, Stanford) were more flexible, allowing D to visit those schools at a time that she did not have any conflicts.
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