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I have been getting a mixed opinions on the importance of visiting a school. Some say attending info sessions occurring in your city is good enough (as adcoms understand that you are not a townie), while others say there are schools that you must visit for an admit (i.e. Tuck)
What are your thoughts on these? also, can we keep a list on this (obviously, your opinion needs to be substantiated with a valid claim)
If you are within driving distance visit the school...no debate, just go since you have no excuse not to. City hopping in your region, if you have to fly then do it...especially if you can do a day trip or even only 1 night stay. If you have to fly half way across the country or more it can go both ways...it is a good reflection if you do but outside of a few schools it wont keep you from getting in. Fly half way around the world you are completely forgiven for not visiting. If they hold an event in your city go no matter what, at least sign up...if something comes up work related and you cant make it send an email apologizing and explaining you cant make it because that 150 million dollar deal will fall through without you. If they hold one within a reasonable drive then you also better go (I had to do 2 hour commutes each way to go to events).
Some schools, Tuck, Darden, NYU, etc. really make a point about wanting people to visit. If you are in the US then go. Others if you are across the nation and have a demanding job they wont hold it against you but you better go to info events. You can get into any school not in your city without a visit but I think every school I looked at, asked on the application if you did a visit or went to an event. Saying no to both doesnt look good, if you are a borderline candidate they may take the kid who did two visits and went to an event.
Kellogg Class of 2010...still active and willing to help. However, I do not do profile reviews, don't offer predictions on chances and am far to busy to review essays, so save the energy of writing me a PM seeking help for these. If I don't respond to a PM that is not one of the previously mentioned trash can destined messages, please don't take it personally I get so many messages I have a hard to responding to most. The more interesting, compelling, or humorous you message the more likely I am to respond.
Berkeley and UCLA definitely put a lot of emphasis on visits. If you're in the US and anywhere near California, then you'd better visit and talk about it in your essays (Haas even has a short essay for you to talk about "how you got to know the school better").
With that said, most international students I've met so far have never visited Berkeley, even during admit weekend. So if you're international, you're fine. I do know a small percentage (probably 20% or so) of US students who never visited either, but they knew that Berkeley was their top choice when they applied, so they probably wrote a very convincing essay to that effect.
Even if you cannot visit, contact students from club websites. Talk to them on the phone, meet the local alums, do everything you can to learn about the school and incorporate it in your essays. That should do you just fine.
I'm an Intl student and traveling half way across the globe is difficult. Getting a visa is even more difficult.
For something in the US, he should have little excuse not to visit. If its cost, cmon, you pay over 100k for the next 2 years. spending another 1k to 3k on visits wont make a difference. And you will realize things about each school first hand that no amount of reading on the internet wont do.