Finding the time, transportation, and budget to visit college campuses can be tough, especially for students from low-income families or those who will be in the first generation of their family to attend college. Fortunately, college admissions offices recognize that limited access to campus visits is one of the many barriers students can face in the admissions process and for this reason, dozens of colleges and universities organize fly-in programs and overnight experiences designed to welcome prospective students into their communities. These programs often vary in their target participants – focusing on students of color, low-income students, or students from underrepresented geographic regions, for example – but all provide students with first-hand exposure to the academic offerings and social environment of their institution.
Fly-in programs give prospective students the opportunity to:
Ask macro- and micro-level questions of current college students and faculty while discovering the resources available for academic advising, study abroad, career development, student leadership, and more
Make connections with peers who might become their future classmates and friends, and build relationships with admissions officers who can assist with their college process (we are totally excited about meeting them too!)
Evaluate their sense of fit for an institution. Gaining a deeper sense of the vibe and culture of a college’s campus community will help students convey their interest in their application (especially in those many “Why X University?” essays!) and may influence a student’s desire to apply Early Decision.
Admittedly, applying to fly-ins can sometimes feel like an entire college application process on its own. As a college counselor at a CBO, I was eager (overeager?) to connect my first-generation and low-income students to overnight visit programs with travel assistance and maintained a Google Doc spreadsheet of fly-in dates, deadlines, and application requirements to help my students manage the many details. To make things less overwhelming, we’d meet to prioritize fly-in applications for just 3-4 schools my students were considering but weren’t fully sold on yet, making the opportunity to visit extra important. College Greenlight provides a great place to start as you’re compiling fly-in events to share on your school/organization website or feature in email newsletters to students and families. If your students need more convincing to apply, they can check out this blog post from incoming Tufts freshman and 1+4 Fellow, Leonardo.
At Tufts, we offer two overnight opportunities for prospective students through our Voices of Tufts Diversity Experiences. Our program on October 19-20, 2017 is intended for students interested in studying engineering and our October 26-27, 2017 program is for students interested in studying across the liberal arts and sciences. We have just released the application for the Voices programs on our website (deadlines in early October!) and we can’t wait to begin sending out invitations to this year’s program.
Photo by jen light via flickr.