As a new admissions counselor, I wanted my first blog post to be on something that was instrumental to me during my college application process: Diversity Fly-in Programs! Woo! Tufts has two fly-in programs, one for students interested in the School of Engineering and another for students interested in the School of Arts and Sciences. These programs are both known as, “Voices of Tufts Diversity Experiences”. As a Voices alum, I want to share with you all the highlights of our amazing program as well as what I learned from all of my college fly-ins.
In the fall of my senior year, I remember walking into my college counselor’s office with a list of schools that I was interested in applying to, but would probably never get the opportunity to visit. My wonderful counselor saw my list and told me to research if any of these schools had fly-in programs. If they did, he told me that these programs would cover all expenses associated with visiting a school, including transportation, housing, and dining. His advice changed the fall of my senior year as I began flying out to different college campuses across the US.
Here is my advice for applying:
- Apply Apply Apply. Seriously apply to any school that you are even slightly interested in. I did not have the financial resources to visit college campuses far from my hometown, so college fly-in programs became my way of finding out whether or not a school was the right fit. Here is a complete list of fly-in programs.
- Easy Breezy. Most fly-in programs’ applications are fairly straightforward and should not be a source of stress for you during your senior year. As a senior in high school, I remember thinking that I would have to do so much extra work on top of applying to college. To my surprise, filling out the application took me no more than 30 minutes and I was already half-way done. Of course, take your time with the application, but know that it’s nowhere near as long as a college application. Also, a well written 200-350 word essay can be a ticket to the next steps in your educational journey!
- Rejection. I applied to four fly-in programs and was accepted into all but one. For me, receiving the rejection letter from that one school made me rethink my interest in them entirely. I thought that if I wasn’t accepted into this school’s fly-in program that there was no way I was going to receive an acceptance letter later in the year. Looking back at it now, I should not have let one rejection letter have so much influence on my decision. Just like how being accepted into a fly-in does not guarantee admission, being rejected from one does not guarantee getting denied.
- Deadlines. Check the deadlines. The deadline for our fly-in program is October 1st for Engineering and October 8th for Arts & Sciences. While our deadlines are in the fall, some fly-in programs have much earlier deadlines, so encourage your junior friends to keep an eye out for these programs.
Spread the word. As great as fly-in programs are, you would be surprised at how many students are unaware of their existence. The majority of fly-in programs or “diversity overnight programs” are open to all students. For Voices, we advertise the program to students from diverse backgrounds and those interested in learning more about diversity on the Tufts campus. Since everyone is welcome to apply, you never know who you may impact with your advice.
Ok, so now you are admitted into the program. Here are ways to make the most out of your 2-3 days on campus:
- Connect. Contact the other students who are on the same flight. They probably share that same jittery feeling as you! As I was packing my bags for Tufts, a fellow Kentuckian reached out to me and we both ended up meeting in the airport and eventually enrolling at Tufts. It was reassuring to know someone when I returned to campus next year as a first-year college student. Also, you will have someone you know as you mindlessly walk around the airport.
- Explore. Walk around campus alone or with friends. While you can’t leave campus (for your safety), I encourage you to really look around and observe the academic buildings, residence halls, and more importantly, the students. I found that I could best feel out the campus vibe when I pretended to be a student on campus. For me, this meant walking around with my headphones on, jamming, not knowing where I was going.
- Catch up on some work. Fly-in programs often take place during the most stressful part of senior year. We understand this. Having homework to do and not be able to take part in all the social events is completely understandable. This is a great opportunity to adjust to the college life of work hard, play hard.
- Take pics. I look so fondly back to the first picture I took at Tufts right outside Bendetson Hall. (The office I’m currently working in!) My hair was a sad attempt at a strawberry blonde, but I’m happy to have captured the moment.
- Keep in touch. Remember the friends you made throughout the program. Thank your host and be sure to reach out to them if you choose to apply to their school, as they can be a resource to you. Also, say hey to any admissions officer you meet that has impacted your fly-in experience, including the admissions officer assigned to your hometown. An email to them after the program is a great way to refresh their memory of you!