5 Tips For Getting the Most Out of Admitted Student Events
Welcome to the driver’s seat! After months of waiting to learn where you would be accepted, the tables have turned and YOU are now the decision maker. Where to start? Accepted seniors are often invited to admitted student events, which are great opportunities to learn more about the schools you are considering. Here are 5 tips to make sure you get the most benefit out of these events:
1. Take a new look at each school: While your initial research may have focused on school size, SAT scores, acceptable GPAs, and available majors, now is a good time to look more closely at your current options. Academically, consider courses that are offered for your intended major or advising programs if you are undecided. Look at the specifics of any core courses or distribution requirements, and learn whether your AP courses will translate into credits or just advanced standing. Socially, find out if pre-orientation and first year experience programs are offered, research the residence options, and learn about the rush process if you are interested in Greek life. Develop a list of questions that you hope to have answered when you visit.
2. Plan your visit: Each school will share an admitted student schedule, and you should consider which components would add value to your decision process. If possible, attend a class and observe the level of engagement and conversation. Attend the student activities fair if offered, and talk with the students who are currently involved in clubs and organizations of interest to you. But leave some time open to…
3. Go off script: Much of the day will be scripted to present the school’s most positive aspects and cover topics of greatest interest to the most prospective students. This visit is also an opportunity to explore issues that are of interest specifically to YOU. Did you swim in high school and hope to continue recreationally in college? Reserve time to check out the pool and learn when it is open for free swim. Are you planning to attend medical school? Email a member of the pre-health advising staff ahead of time and meet them to ensure your questions are answered. Set up meetings with any faculty you want to meet, such as a professor whose research intrigues you, or plan coffee with a former student from your high school who is a current student. Visit the office of disability services, and get a sense of how welcoming that feels and what steps are required to get what you need.
4. Picture yourself living on campus: Hang out and eat in a dining hall, look at the menus and ask (non-admissions staff) students about the food. Walk the campus while students are changing classes and observe their interactions. Are they greeting each other or keeping to themselves? Observe what students are doing with their free time – are they playing Frisbee on the quad, demonstrating about political issues, or otherwise engaging in the kinds of activities you enjoy? Listen to the campus radio station and read the newspaper. Is this a community in which you would feel both stimulated and at home?
5. Listen to your instincts: Sometimes a prospective student cannot articulate why they love or dislike a school, but that feeling can be very important. Even if you visited once before, your college expectations may have evolved since then. Maybe the students seem stressed, or superficial, or you sense that they don’t have positive experiences with the school administration, but you can’t put your finger on what created that impression. Or you may absolutely love a school that has some known negative factors, and you come away from admitted student day excited to attend and more than willing to overlook those negatives. People talk about “campus vibe” and sometimes you have to just go with how a place feels to you. That’s why visiting is so important.
Good luck with your admitted student events and enjoy exploring your possibilities!