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Visit boarding school in the summer?

yynnbbyynnbb 9 replies5 threads New Member
We have a number of schools on the list to apply for the Fall 2020-21. I found some schools do not provide student-led tours in the summer; while others do. Is it worthwhile to visit school (without interviews) in the summer? Or just visit in the fall and do interview at the same time? What do people usually do in sequence? Tour- apply- visit with interview- submit materials?
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Replies to: Visit boarding school in the summer?

  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5880 replies10 threads Senior Member
    In most cases, people do the visit/interview then apply if they are still interested. The visit typically involves a student led tour.

    In a few cases, schools may offer an open house in the fall (and/or spring), recognizing that it can be a pretty low key way to check out a school (i.e., easier to not engage and "window-shop" and helpful to families who want to do a little looking before 8th grade). These are mostly of value to more local families.

    Visiting in summer can be more relaxing - ,less crowded, less rushed) but the biggest problem is that you don't get to see the students, and imo, that is the biggest determinant of how a school feels to you and your kid. Many schools have programs on campus on summer, almost always for students who are not theirs and often run by someone else (i.e., a sports camp.) This can give a very different -and often wrong - feel to the place.

    With that said, a school that accepts your kid will invite you back for an accepted student day in March/April so you will get another chance to look then - with students. And doing visits in the summer extends the timeline a wee bit and allows less school to be missed in the fall (often a big problem for kids in public schools where BS is a rare choice and visits are treated as unexcused absences.) It also means you may apply to a school you would not have had you met the students.

    My advice would be to do the visit in the fall if you can. If you can't and are local, do the summer tour and stop by to watch sporting events, plays, etc. -- events you can attend without telling the school you are there - so you can check out the vibe. But if summer is all you have, it's better than nothing.
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  • springfield18springfield18 65 replies8 threads Junior Member
    I agree 100% with @gardenstategal. We arranged a tour with a New England school in late August as part of a family vacation. There was only one other family waiting with us (an international father & son who had just left the summer program of another BS.) The AO gave the tour to us but we didn't get a true feel of that school's experience without students around and a couple of buildings closed. Although I didn't specifically schedule an interview beforehand, the AO was kind enough to make time for me since it was a relatively quiet Friday. Thankfully, my LPS had teacher conventions that allowed me to take two days in the fall and see about five schools over three days. I would definitely look at your kid's school schedule next year and see when you could fit in fall tours.

    The one thing I will say is that I am thankful for that summer tour/interview as it was a helpful "first interview" that allowed me to be prepared for the multiple interviews I had later in the fall.
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1126 replies20 threads Senior Member
    Agree with @springfield18 about having that “first interview” during late summer to prepare for multiple interviews. Recommend strongly, however, that you all check with each school to determine if A) they do official interviews through the Admissions Office during summer months, B) what days they are open and give tours during the summer months, and C) if there are any coaches or special interest teachers on campus.

    The other bonus is that hotels near schools are generally cheaper and easier to book during the summer!

    We found the summer tours to be “more chill” and had more quality time with our student guides, as well as the folks in the Admissions Office at each school. We did have to return to a couple of schools in the fall because that is when they do the official interview and/or auditions for specific PA programs. We visited a couple of schools in late spring before application season because we wanted to visit the Golf coach and check out the programs. If your student is “deep” into a Spring sport, you may want to do this type of informal visit.
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  • vwlizardvwlizard 319 replies33 threads Member
    If you don't live too far, I'd try to do some Fall open houses. It helped us focus our energies and cut down on some unnecessary Spring visits (because we crossed some schools off). It gave us a general idea of what we were/ weren't interested in and what size/ vibe we were looking for. I really liked open houses as most had panels which were often more informative than a campus tour and interview. Many schools schedule interviews at open houses.
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  • yynnbbyynnbb 9 replies5 threads New Member
    @Golfgr8

    Is an official interview in the summer carrying the same weight as an interview in the fall? I mean, theoretically, it should. However, a summer interview is almost half a year before AO team starts to review all applications. From this perspective, would summer interviews be "less memorable" than fall interviews?
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  • skieuropeskieurope 39643 replies7198 threads Super Moderator
    Is an official interview in the summer carrying the same weight as an interview in the fall?
    Yes.
    would summer interviews be "less memorable" than fall interviews?
    Assume the interviewer is taking notes.

    As a data point of one, all my visits/interviews were in the summer because that was how the timing worked out. It worked out OK for me.
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1126 replies20 threads Senior Member
    Dear @yynnbb - read what I posted and determine if it will be an actual committee member or AO interviewing you. Also to add to what @skieurope advised above “Assume the interviewer is taking notes”. Do NOT assume anything.
    We had a horror story with kiddo’s application to one school. We interviewed in early September, after having done a tour and informational interview over the summer. It was the first week of school up in CT and it was the AO’s first interview - ever. According to kiddo, he did not take notes. OK - we think everything is fine - until February when we get a call informing us that we had never interviewed! They insisted we have an alum interview in our region. So, like Edith Piaf singing “Non, Je ne regrette rien”, I bolstered my kid up for another interview in February.

    We had to do some of our visits in summer because that is what fit best for work schedules and vacation times. Also, the autumn months are filled with weekend sporting events for many student athletes.

    One more tidbit of experience to share: We did interview for one school at a Ten Schools event. It was very hectic and kind of uncomfortable for the kids. The interviews were done in different corners of the hotel lobby. Everyone was basically interviewing for the same group of schools. It felt like “speed dating” 🙄
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  • skieuropeskieurope 39643 replies7198 threads Super Moderator
    edited May 14
    Also to add to what @skieurope advised above “Assume the interviewer is taking notes”. Do NOT assume anything.
    Let me clarify - an interviewer may (or may not) make notes during the actual interview, but will generally need to do a write-up after. SO don't be concerned if an interviewer writes nothing down, and don't tell an interviewer "You should write that down."

    That said, @Golfgr8 's experience was (hopefully) the exception, not the rule.
    edited May 14
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  • buuzn03buuzn03 1564 replies15 threads Senior Member
    Being from far away and having to cast broad net, my kids have always had to do summer tours. We tack it on to hockey camps, summer camp (kid2) and/or summer vacations. No, they aren't the same as fall tours. But, some schools were written off immediately due to a number of different factors and it avoided a pointless application.

    What everyone has said is pretty accurate....fall with students gives you a better feel for a school (yes, the X factor is a real thing when it comes to fit). Summer without students or the application bustle, not to mention lack of other responsibilities provides a more relaxed atmosphere, the ability to linger and usually more in-depth conversations with admissions folk.

    Obviously, if you are local, try to go during the fall. But if you have to travel a great distance, I'm a great proponent of using the summer to its fullest potential. Our summer tour starts in 11 days!!!
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  • CalliemomofgirlsCalliemomofgirls 42 replies4 threads Junior Member
    I never thought of a summer tour because I wanted to see the actual kids. But I am wondering -- maybe we need to cast a wider net and add a summer tour? I am thinking in the fall the most we could visit would be 5 schools (1 a day for one week missing school). (We live on the west coast.) So maybe we should do a summer tour too, and add 5 more schools -- start with what we currently think are the second-choice schools. Is that a reasonable strategy? (Gosh, these schools all look amazing on websites so it's really hard to narrow the list down!)
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  • JustWinginItJustWinginIt 58 replies9 threads Junior Member
    I’d just plan to visit two schools most days during your trip. If you’re looking at New England schools, most of them aren’t that far apart. East coast and west coast distances are very different! 😁
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1126 replies20 threads Senior Member
    Please plan carefully - as noted earlier in this thread - most schools have limited hours for tours and campus visits. Some only do tours on certain days. Plan ahead!
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  • CaliMexCaliMex 1825 replies34 threads Senior Member
    If money or time is limited, it is also okay to do Skype interviews and only visit those schools to which you are admitted.
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  • buuzn03buuzn03 1564 replies15 threads Senior Member
    We have just started our summer tour!! Excited to see many schools we did not see with buuznkid1!
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  • cameo43cameo43 1644 replies30 threads Senior Member
    Two schools per day can be pushing the limits. You don't want to be scrambling to get to school #2 on time... and have to decline if they say "why, here's a faculty member in your area of interest... they'd love to show you the theater facilities and chat with you" (or coach, or whatever...) We visited 2 schools in one day during my daughter's admission season, and I would not make that choice again. Record your impressions just after you visit... take notes, whatever-- the schools all tend to blend together after the first few!
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 1496 replies12 threads Senior Member
    I'd keep notes if seeing multiple schools in a trip. Also, I personally wouldn't advise seeing schools out of session. Immediately after school ends the school is the same but the kids are gone and so is the vibe. Unless you are just trying to see location or care about the architecture, I'd wait until school's in session or you actually get accepted. Also, if you get accepted to a school that isn't and you don't visit the local town/towns nearby you are missing out. You are going to be living in the AREA for 4 years. So while you'll spend most time at school you will also need to know about what's nearby.
    Also, rushing thru and seeing too many schools makes for confusion and stress. Take your time.
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  • CalliemomofgirlsCalliemomofgirls 42 replies4 threads Junior Member
    I just want to update here on this thread for future readers -- we ended up visiting 12 schools in 6 days and it was absolutely doable. Tiring, but doable and a very good use of our time since we flew out from the west coast. I wrote a detailed account of our visiting logistics and strategies and tips in another post, but wanted to circle back here as a follow up.
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1126 replies20 threads Senior Member
    Just a reminder to those of you who may be new to this thread and are hoping/planning to visit schools over the summer - it was our experience that several schools had modified and/or fewer tours - visits over the summer. Some of the BS’s did not offer interviews over the summer, so we had to interview back home or during a 10 schools event. Also, a couple of schools had summer camps running over the summer and, as a result, could not see some of the facilities (including a dorm). Call ahead and get information for pleasant trip planning!
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