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Overnight college visits?

BobbyCTBobbyCT 1074 replies61 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
edited July 2009 in Parents Forum
When I was looking at colleges for the first time with my son in 2001, every college we looked at had an overnight program where you spent the night in a dorm with a current student. It was a great way to get a better feel and more insight on a school. Now that I am looking at schools with my daughter, I am surprised how many schools no longer offer an overnight program for potential students. Any idea why this changed or should I just assume it is a liability issue for the college? It is a shame because those stays were helpful.
edited July 2009
7 replies
Post edited by BobbyCT on
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Replies to: Overnight college visits?

  • kitty56kitty56 1311 replies20 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I would assume it is because of liability and cost. Overnights were very helpful for my D back in 2001 - she did one at each of the three colleges to which she applied. It was a disaster for S in 2007, leading him to choose another school (B) and ending up transferring back to the school where he did the "not so good" overnight (A). Because of the overnight he did at A, he chose not to do one at B. If he had, he would have seen the problems with B and probably gone with A from the start. So overnights can be both good and bad. (And I was a big proponent of them from D's experience!)
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  • SmallCollegesFTWSmallCollegesFTW 1042 replies34 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I chose the school i am going to because of overnights i did last year. Every school i applied to offered them, all were LACs in the Midwest. I thinks LACs tend to offer them more then universities.
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  • Faline2Faline2 4208 replies40 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    in all honesty...overnights can be useful but I don't think they are crucial. For overextended and tired high school seniors...they may not be necessary at all. We are all schooled in life enough to know that there will be people who are wonderful and people who are not wonderful in every college class.

    My son had wonderful overnights at one college...super person as host who was such a great ambassador for the college etc (this was Vanderbilt)...the guy knocked himself out introducing our then 17 year old to other freshmen..making sure he had someone to eat meals with..introduced him to professors...showed him his interest in the gym..etc.....but in the end son chose to attend a college where someone with zero social IQ and some obvious social issues was his "host." His host dumped him within thirty minutes without even leaving a key to his room....and stated he would be at a frat party till 3am and that he was assigned to my son as a "joke" or hazing thing or something...

    despite this oaf...my son looked past him to the larger scene at the college he later attended (Duke)...and recognized that his "host" was socially challenged but was not a reflection of the student body at Duke whatsoever...in fact, we saw this kid a few times later on in passing, and realized he had "challenges" of his own...it wasn't personal...he had issues

    anyway...choosing to attend a college based on your overnight host can be as reliable as judging a foreign country based on the manners of the people who run the hotel.

    My second son did one overnight last year...and I don't think it altered his perception of that college one way or another...

    in my view..attending classes and getting a meal on campus sans parents is just as useful...and then they can also get sleep in your hotel..not on the floor of some student in college who has papers to write...and places to go

    class attendance at each college was our goal....made for better essays and got a good view of a typical day in the life of a student...
    first son was very happy at Duke, second son is signed up to be Vandy class of '13

    social adjustment is a big curve no matter where you report to college....but feeling that the classroom situation is a fit is crucial
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  • RacinReaverRacinReaver 6555 replies55 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    In undergrad I hosted a few students, so let me just request of parents that you don't force your kid to stay overnight at a school they're not interested in. I had one that literally just sat in my room all day reading because he didn't care to learn anything about my school and just wanted to leave as soon as possible. It was a real bummer for me, since I enjoyed giving tours and talking with prospectives and whatnot (I do alumni interviews now), so I had to sit there all night babysitting this kid that wouldn't even play cards/video games/watch TV with us.
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  • Faline2Faline2 4208 replies40 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    good point...bad manners can originate with the student, not the host...at any rate, overnights often coincide with study hours and other things kindly hosts have to attend to in their lives...my son attended a performance at Duke that overlapped with his goals and saw the espirit de corps among the players and made his decision based on what he could see with his own eyes...
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  • MarilynMarilyn 3705 replies124 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    DS did an overnight visit the same weekend the home town team won the Superbowl. It might not be a typical evening on campus; but it certainly showed the energy that could be created. Although the students were probably more excited about winning the DARPA challenge and seeing Bill Gates. He did get to stay in a dorm, have an interview, talk to students, get free food, etc. although he slept in and missed a couple of listed activities. And apparently it was a typical February evening because darn if the team didn't do it again this year.

    His other overnight visit was not part of an official weekend, just something that was offered to any applicant during certain time periods. It was individually arranged for each visitor. It's always worth checking with each college of interest to see if something can be arranged even if nothing formal is broadcast.
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  • Karen CollegesKaren Colleges 1686 replies66 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Several of the LAC's we have visited have mentioned that the overnight program is cancelled due to budget cuts. In any case, we will be out of the country when all the prospective visits take place, so wouldn't have been able to do an overnight anyway.
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