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How important is visiting a school before accepting?

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Joined: 30 Dec 2014
Posts: 13
Location: United States
Concentration: Social Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 720 Q47 V42
GPA: 3.9
WE: Education (Education)
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How important is visiting a school before accepting? [#permalink]

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New post 21 Mar 2015, 04:19
I've been having this debate with myself, and maybe people can help me think it through.

Here is my background- I am from Boston, and have been lucky enough to be accepted to four great schools on the West Coast (I chose all West Coast MBAs for my post-MBA goals and for personal reasons). I have April school vacation coming up the third week of April (this unfortunately only coincides with ONE of the schools' admit weekends).

On the one hand, as a teacher I am not exactly flush with extra cash for plane tickets and hotel reservations, especially when I think about how much money I need to save for the MBA. I had planned on visiting earlier in the year when I was still very much undecided on which schools to attend, but now I am leaning very strongly towards one school because of the amount of scholarship money they are offering, the overall prestige, student body culture, and the "general vibe" I get from my research- I've spent a ton of time reading through group facebooks, talking on the phone to student reps at some of the schools, and reading as much as I can from forums/MBA websites.

I'll also have lots of extra grading, lesson planning, and coaching (track) that vacation week to get done for my job, as well as start looking for people to sell my furniture/take over my apartment lease, so I just don't see why it is such a huge priority to visit if I am pretty set on going anyways and when I have so much stuff to take care of for work here.

BUT, many of my family and loved ones still insist on me visiting, and say that I won't know if I've made the right choice unless I do visit, and that I'll regret not visiting in the future if I end up not liking the school.

I never visited the undergrad school that I applied to and attended (Penn) or my first high school teaching job out of college and ended up loving both. I'd generally like to think I know myself pretty well and my mindset is generally that it doesn't matter where you go, but what you do when you are there that determines the quality of your experience.

Am I wrong to stick to my guns and accept a spot at a school without visiting? I just want to get a sense of if I'm being rational or unreasonable here.
Joined: 25 Mar 2015
Posts: 12
Schools: Marshall '17 (M)
How important is visiting a school before accepting? [#permalink]

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New post 26 Mar 2015, 11:03

I don't think it's super critical to visit. I live in SoCal, so as an undergrad I have either attended or visited Stanford, UCLA, USC, and UCI. I agree that their "vibes" are pretty well-reflected in their admissions events and media and by their representatives (alums, current students, etc).

UCLA is on the "west side" while USC is "downtown", which will change where you live, but where you hang out on the weekends (beaches, restaurants, clubs, hiking trails) will be the same.

UCI is in Orange County, which is a much more suburban environment, but has access to different hiking trails and to OC beaches. Merage is also only about ~100 students, with almost 40% international, so that's something to consider if you planned on connecting with many other students who will stay in the region. And I can't speak to Haas.

For me, the biggest factors were social/network fit (which as I said in my experience is pretty well-captured in their admissions), research programs, and $$$. The actual geographic layout of campus didn't matter to me because they're all very similar: state-of the art lecture halls, meeting rooms, and computer labs, all in great weather.

It's only a 2-year commitment (not even! it's really only 18 months on-campus, with a summer internship). If you realize you don't like the feng shui of the quad, then it'll be over soon anyay. I plan to be so buried in Excel spreadsheets that I won't even notice the campus. Not to mention treks, travel programs, and study groups. The experience is what you make it.

Attitude is more important than setting, and you seem to have an easygoing attitude. Do what you want and don't worry about other people's preconceived notions about having to visit first. If it's causing you stress to visit, then don't do it!
How important is visiting a school before accepting?   [#permalink] 26 Mar 2015, 11:03
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