Applying to Business Schools
HOW IMPORTANT IS A CAMPUS VISIT?
The importance of visiting school campuses cannot be over emphasized. Brochures, catalogues, websites, presentations by Business School representatives, guidance counselors and videos can help to form an opinion of a school, but a visit allows you to see first-hand the environment and evaluate the academics, athletics, housing, and the social life of that school. Seeing yourself offers the best insight of all. It is not uncommon for a student to think that a Business School is right for them based on all the promotional literature, but then find that it is not right fit. Better to find that out before you arrive in the fall with your bags and books in hand.
There are two kinds of visits: one is the “drive-by” informal visit and the second is the more formal visit including a tour, information session, interview, class visit and maybe an overnight stay. The first is the type of visit that can begin early in the college search. The summer time and spring break are ideal times. This type of visit can be made without a lot of hype and pressure and does not have to be the college to which the student will eventually apply. With a little planning the visit can be a welcome side trip off the expressway during a vacation with the opportunity to walk around, see the facilities, eat in the cafeteria and visit the bookstore. This can be a very low-key, non-stress way of experiencing many different colleges and universities for the whole family, including younger siblings. You also can take advantage of campus tours and information sessions. The differences between campuses will soon become clear to all. If you are not able to travel long distances to visit this is an ideal way to get the feel of a small liberal arts school in a small town or rural area or a large metropolitan university with the city for a campus.
The second type of visit is more appropriate for seniors who have narrowed down the list of schools. It is best to visit when the college is in session and students are on campus. The visit should include a campus information session, a campus tour, time to wander around the campus, perhaps a campus interview if the college provides the opportunity and if possible an overnight stay. Many colleges offer this option only in the senior year and not on weekends. In any case, I recommend parents encourage their wards to go off on his or her own to investigate the campus. A third option is to wait until the student is accepted to a Business School, but this can be very hectic and expensive since you will have less time to make decisions.
A campus visit not only will help to narrow down the choices but it can also have benefits such as acting as a real motivator for the student to do well academically as well as in extracurricular activities. It will give a clearer picture about the Business School environment and it can act as an ideal opportunity for parents and students to talk about this very important decision.
How to Make the Most of Your Trip
A Business School visits beat pictures in brochures and websites any day! Visiting a Business School campus helps you get a sense of what a Business School — and life at that Business School — is like. This can help you decide whether the Business School is right for you.
When planning your campus visits, make sure to allow time to explore each Business School. While you’re there, talk to as many people as possible. These can include college admission staff, professors and students. Below are some other things you can do while visiting. Note that some activities, such as meeting with an admission officer or staying overnight in a dorm, might need to be set up in advance.
Campus Visit Checklist – Gather Information
Find out what you need to do to apply and see if the college’s class and major offerings are what you want:
- Take part in a group information session at the admission office.
- Interview with an admission officer.
- Pick up financial aid forms and the latest financial offers.
- Sit in on a class that interests you. If classes aren’t in session, just see what the classrooms are like.
- Meet a professor who teaches a subject that interests you.
- Talk to students about what they think of their classes and professors. Ask them if their expectations have been met by the B.School.
- Get the names of the people you meet and their business cards so you can contact them later if you have questions.
Explore the Campus
Get a feel for student life and see if this college is a place where you will do well:
- Take a campus tour.
- Talk to current students about life on campus and the college.
- Check out the hostels and stay overnight with a student, if possible.
- Visit the dining hall, fitness center, library, career center, bookstore and other campus facilities.
- Talk to the coaches of sports that you may want to play.
- Walk or drive around the community surrounding the campus.
Check Out Campus Media
Tune in to learn what’s happening on campus and what’s on students’ minds:
- Read the student newspaper.
- Read other student publications, such as department newsletters, alternative newspapers and literary reviews.
- Scan bulletin boards to see what daily student life is like.
- Go to the career center and learn what services it offers.
- Browse the school’s website and any campus blogs.
Questions to Ask During Your Visit
Here are some questions you may want to ask your tour guide or students you meet on campus:
- What are the best reasons to go to this B.School?
- What do you do in your free time? On the weekends?
- What do you love about this B.School?
- What do you wish you could change about this B.School?
- Why did you choose this B.School?
- What is it like to live in this B.School?