College visits

<p>I'm going on a college visit soon.</p>

<p>From the basic stand point, I'm not researching "designated visit times" and I'm just thinking of going to the university, ask to speak with the admissions counselor, tour the campus and receive some pamphlets. </p>

<p>And I have a million questions.... minus 999,994.</p>

<ol>
<li><p>Is what is described above an acceptable practice?</p></li>
<li><p>What are some things I should ask? (I was told from a friend to always visit a college before applying ED or so. Additional to questions 5 and 6)</p></li>
<li><p>What should I expect?</p></li>
<li><p>Is there any information I should know that would either make my life easier or just I should know it?</p></li>
<li><p>Should I ask about scholarships?</p></li>
<li><p>Should I ask if I have a chance in hell of being accepted? (with the removal of the word hell and with a polite voice)</p></li>
</ol>

<p>Colleges I am visiting are:</p>

<p>Cornell, Duke (possibly), Carnegie Mellon (probably), New York University (possibly), Georgetown (possibly), UIC-Urbana (probably), Northwestern (probably), and possibly a few others.</p>

<p>Maybe even some Tier 3-4 schools for safety/scholarships.</p>

<ol>
<li><p>Acceptable? I have no idea. The better question: Is this the best way to get to the information you need to make a decision? For better or worse, info sessions and tours are designed to provide maximum information transfer. While an individual meeting will be useful in answering your specific questions, you may well miss other important information. Also, depending on the time of year, day of the week etc, there may not be an admissions counselor available for you to meet with. Your approach, while casual, comes across as a bit too casual at best and dismissive of the value of a counselor's time at worst.</p></li>
<li><p>What to ask? Ask about your intended major, ask about scholarships, study abroad, housing. Just realize that the vast majority of your questions are answered in the info session and on-line, once again raising the question (probably in the admission counselor's mind) why didn't you sign up for an info session?</p></li>
</ol>

<p>3 & 4. The times of the info sessions and tours.</p>

<ol>
<li><p>See answer 2.</p></li>
<li><p>You can ask but his/her answer will be something along the lines of "We like to review the full application and get an entire sense of your portfolio. While statistically you sound like a viable candidate, there are far too many things that factor into the admissions decision to give an answer now. It would be premature and unprofessional of me to give you either positive or negative feedback based on our brief conversation."</p></li>
</ol>

<p>If you haven't figured it out, I don't like your strategy. You're at a stage where you don't know what you don't know. A walk around campus is fine but walking into admissions asking a series of haphazard questions that would more effectively be answered in already established ways has the real possibility of reflecting badly on you as a candidate.</p>

<ol>
<li>It appears that the info sessions seem to last several months for Cornell University:</li>
</ol>

<p>Cornell</a> University Undergraduate Admissions Office - CAMPUS VISIT</p>

<ol>
<li><p>I heard that attending info sessions also hurt your chances of standing out, as in, you are just another applicant to an Admission's Officer's time because of the shear number of students that may be there that day. </p></li>
<li><p>Are info sessions REALLY that good? I have a feeling that there will be several hundred people there that day, and I have a feeling I will not receive individual attention.</p></li>
<li><p>The college said that registration was not optional... should I register anyways?</p></li>
</ol>

<ol>
<li><p>Each info session lasts between half-an-hour and hour.</p></li>
<li><p>Info sessions show that you're interested in the school. An interview, which you can do during your visit (either before or after the info session; I would recommend after the info session), can help make you stand out. It's true that the officers see many students in interviews, but the interview gives you a chance to make your application more personal. I believe that you're confusing the interview and info session.</p></li>
<li><p>The info sessions are very useful. They explain all of the school's main, positive points. Most will also let you ask questions. The info session doesn't offer individual attention, but the interview does. Not all schools offer interviews, though.</p></li>
<li><p>I would recommend registering, especially if it's not optional. ;)</p></li>
</ol>

<ol>
<li><p>Oh.</p></li>
<li><p>Do you need to register, or is it automatic (as in, as soon as you visit the campus, they allow you to go to an interview?). Also, how long is an interview, normally?</p></li>
<li><p>Alright, sounds good. :)</p></li>
<li><p>Correction, optional, sorry. :/</p></li>
</ol>

<ol>
<li><p>You do need to register ahead of time for an interview. Some schools aren't very busy, and you can register for an interview the next day. Others have a busier schedule, and won't have an opening for weeks.</p></li>
<li><p>You should still do the interview if you are seriously considering the school, especially if you live near the school. If you don't, see if they have any alumni or officers in your area that you can interview with.</p></li>
</ol>

<p>What do I do if I should have registered 3 weeks in advance, but I have not?</p>

<p>I think the simple answer to most of this is to just do what they tell you to do on their website if you can. Register if they tell you to. Get an interview appointment if they offer them (many larger schools and Ivies don't). If you went right to an interview and hadn't listened to what they want you to hear in the info. session you might ask something you should have learned there and irritate them. It's not a good plan if you can avoid it. If it seems to be too late to register, call and see what can be done.</p>

<p>I interviewed at a school that recommends registering a few weeks in advance, but when I booked my appointment, they had one interview available for the next day at 9:30, and they wouldn't have another available for another four weeks. Call and see if they have anything available. It probably won't be at an ideal time (I had to get up a 5:00 in the morning to make it to my interview), but it's worth a shot. If they don't have anything available soon, just schedule an interview for whenever would work for you.</p>

<p>I also agree with Hitch about trying to do it after you go on the tour and info session. If I had done that, I would have been much more enthusiastic on the interview. My interviewer gave me her card, though, in case I have any more questions, so I plan on e-mailing her with a few questions. </p>

<p>Which reminds me of one last point: it wouldn't hurt to send your interviewer a thank-you note.</p>