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People sometimes ask me if it’s worth visiting a school they’re interested in. This is an easy one: yes, absolutely!
While visiting the MBA schools you’re interested in might not be practical if you’re an international applicant, you should make a visit to campus a priority if at all possible.
Passing up an opportunity to visit a school you’re interested in can come back to bite you later on. I know of one waitlisted applicant who received feedback that not visiting factored into his admission decision.
In his case, he’d thought a visit wasn’t necessary since he already knew the school well – he’d gone there for undergrad! But going to a school like UC Berkeley as an undergrad is much different than going to Haas Business School.
Living in the area and not taking the time to visit can get adcoms questioning your commitment. If you live even in the same country, you should take advantage of this to see the school in person.
When you plan your visit, there are three important steps you should take to make sure you get the most out of your visit:
1. Get in the school’s database so you’ll receive information on upcoming events. You want to stay in the loop.
2. Register for a visit with the school so it’s in their records that you were on campus.
3. If the school’s in session, sign up for a class visit. Even if they are not in session, take advantage of an information session given by the admissions office. You never know who you might connect with.
If you have another area of interest, also think about signing up to visit that department as well. Maybe you want to do a dual degree in business and design, so you’ll sign up to see the design school and sit in on a class there if class visit is available. This extra perspective will give you more to talk about in your application.
Some other reasons to visit that you should keep in mind:
– Visiting is by far the best way to find out what a school’s about. It lets you pick up on more subtle things that you can’t find out through research or by talking to people who know the school. If you pay close attention, take notes and find out as much about the community as possible while you’re there, you’ll be able to start your application knowing exactly why you want to go to that school, which gives you a huge advantage.
– Some schools really care whether you visit and take notes. NYU and Tuck are two examples of programs that pay attention to whether you made it to campus.
The bottom line is that if you’re able to visit, do it. Even if you visit two years before applying, it’ll pay off. Jot down as much about the school as you can while you’re there, take notes at the info session you go to, and reach out to the person who ran the info session later to follow up.
When planning your visit, try to go early and at a time when class is in session – so either in spring before the semester’s over or in fall. The key is to maximize your opportunities for absorbing information about the school while you’re there, then use that information to make yourself a stronger applicant.
If you’re working on figuring out how to turn what you know about the school into an application that stands out, or if you want input on what schools to visit in the first place, contact us for a free assessment! EXPARTUS knows what it takes to get from a campus visit to an acceptance letter!
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