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So I looked at around and did not find anything on here or anywhere else on the internet (I am sure it exists somewhere, but alas I could not locate).
When is the best time to visit schools for someone who is thinking of applying for R1 in 2012 (So Octish basically).
Obviously I want to visit schools before doing the actual applications, but that basically leaves September, and February-May. When is it best to visit? I am assuming I want to start in March so I am not doing it at the same time as people R3, but also I want to leave my top top choice school(s) until September so the visit is fresher in my head?
I visited 1 school in the fall and 3 schools during the Spring of last year. All of the schools I visited, with the exception of Stern, offered great class visit/tour/information sessions throughout the entire year. (Stern only offered class visits during the fall term).
So I would say the earlier the better. It was hugely beneficial to visit the schools well before starting the application process. This allowed me to brew some ideas for my essays in my mind several months before I began writing.
I'd say you absolutely must visit all your target schools at least a month before you submit your app. The experience and connections you make will be invaluable. Start doing your research right away. Reach out to the adcom and current students. As long as you can connect with a few students and attend 1/2 classes, you might as well get it done in the next couple of months. You must do your homework, and connect with people in the school both before as well as after your visit (assuming the visit doesn't turn you off).