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visiting campuses after acceptance: accepted student days, or not?

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Does anyone have advice about whether it's more useful to visit campuses to which you've been accepted during the pre-set "accepted student days" or during other times, on your own?  Does anyone have a kid who has gone during the planned events, and did they find those more useful?  I'd love to hear any first-hand experience about this, as my daughter is starting to plan a few visits!

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We enjoyed the planned events, as students involved in ecs were available to chat with. Also gave us a quick read on what the admin was trying to accomplish.

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DD went to the accepted students overnight visit and did not enjoy it, but that may have had to do with the overnight setup/student host. She did not come away with large enthusiasm and excitement about the school (which she ultimately attended)

I think my DS went for an accepted student day; it was his first visit to the campus, and he found it interesting, but said there were quite a few events that were unnecessary for him.

 

The advantage of these arranged days would be that you don't have to do any leg work; the admissions department will put a schedule together, schedule your department visits, etc. but the schedule will contain several events that are unnecessary for your particular student, because it's a one-size-fits-all setup.

You could of course also arrange the visit yourself and customize it to fit your student's needs. That is more efficient, but takes more work on your part.

Edited by regentrude
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There's usually free food on accepted students day. It's important for students to learn early how to take advantage of all opportunities for free food. ;)

 

But more seriously, everything is coordinated for you and all hands are on deck for accepted students day. Plus, other accepted students to meet. It's usually a pretty fun day.

Edited by bibiche
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It really depends on what Accepted Students Day covers. My students want to get a feel of the campus by siting in a class, eat in the cafeteria, and sleep over night in the dorm. Some schools include those activities in their Accepted Student Days and for some schools we have to set up a separate visit.

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My neighbor's DS went to one a few years ago. They had prizes and he won an iPad. He liked that. He didn't go to the school though. Spending the day gave him the opportunity to see he wanted to go elsewhere and he got a the iPad.

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I work in the admissions office of a private university, and coordinating our events such as the accepted student day is my primary responsibility. Of course this answer will vary depending on the college, but I would suspect most would be like ours:

 

On the planned day, we have all kinds of events planned. There's a big welcome in the gym that's sort of a pep rally, then there's presentations by the academic colleges presented by the deans and faculty, there's campus tours, most of the labs are open and doing demos, the RA's are giving tours of all the residence halls, a bunch of the campus clubs have tables set up, and yes, we give free breakfast and lunch!! also the big draw for us is we let students get their student ID card and register for classes. Everyone who doesn't come has to wait until summer for that. 

 

Drawbacks to attending that day is there is not a lot of one-on-one time. So you might be able to grab a professor for a quick five minute discussion, but you're not going to be able to make an appointment for an extended visit in their office. Also it's Saturday so you're not going to be able to attend a class. (A lot of people arrive on Friday to try to get some of that in. Since sooooo many people do, individual attention is still limited).

 

If you schedule a campus visit at some other time, you'll get more personal attention, more one-on-one time with Admissions and whoever else you may request to talk to, and a chance to attend a class (unless it's during the summer or finals week). The daily campus tour does not include as many of the facilities as are open on the event day. There won't be demos going in the labs. 

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I work in the admissions office of a private university, and coordinating our events such as the accepted student day is my primary responsibility. Of course this answer will vary depending on the college, but I would suspect most would be like ours:

 

On the planned day, we have all kinds of events planned. There's a big welcome in the gym that's sort of a pep rally, then there's presentations by the academic colleges presented by the deans and faculty, there's campus tours, most of the labs are open and doing demos, the RA's are giving tours of all the residence halls, a bunch of the campus clubs have tables set up, and yes, we give free breakfast and lunch!! also the big draw for us is we let students get their student ID card and register for classes

 

Isn't that a different event than what the OP means?

From what you write, you are talking about a day for students who have already been admitted, not just accepted. 

 

We do have a day for admitted students where they get ID, take math placement test, register for classes. We know they are going to be freshmen.

That is different from a day for accepted students where we still court them and hope that their visit will get them to pick our school and actually come. These are still in the decision making phase. My kids' schools also had different events for both kinds of students.

Does your college combine both types of events and have a mix of admitted and accepted-but-not-admitted students present at these?

 

OP: which kind of event are you referring to?

Edited by regentrude
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We pretty much use the term admitted and accepted interchangeably here. Visitors to our event day are a mix of people who are already committed and still making up their mind. Most visitors are traveling long distances to attend, so we aren't going to host another event to take care of registration and so forth. They do it online from home. There's nothing else until orientation right before classes start. Sorry, I didn't realize I might confuse people. Remove my reference to registration and student IDs, and you'll probably have a good description of what most colleges do. Or better yet, contact the specific colleges you are considering and ask them. I answer for people the pros/cons of attending the event day vs. a campus visit all the time. 

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We pretty much use the term admitted and accepted interchangeably here. Visitors to our event day are a mix of people who are already committed and still making up their mind. Most visitors are traveling long distances to attend, so we aren't going to host another event to take care of registration and so forth. They do it online from home. There's nothing else until orientation right before classes start. Sorry, I didn't realize I might confuse people. Remove my reference to registration and student IDs, and you'll probably have a good description of what most colleges do. Or better yet, contact the specific colleges you are considering and ask them. I answer for people the pros/cons of attending the event day vs. a campus visit all the time. 

 

Oh, I see! That makes sense.

At your school, is that event voluntary for admitted students? Do you let incoming freshmen register online from home without in person advising sessions and placement tests?

 

I have not seen those done concurrently; at both my kids' schools and ours, the vibe of the events for undecided vs admitted students are different. Also, the event for admitted students was mandatory; no debate whether or not to attend.

At ours, they spend their morning taking the math placement test and then register for classes in the evening based on the outcome.

At the visit for admitted but undecided students, we spend a lot of effort convincing them that they want to come here.

Edited by regentrude

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FWIW, I'd also use admitted and accepted interchangeably.  The term I'd use for students who had already committed, paid their deposit, would be enrolled.

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I have not seen accepted/admitted student events done simultaneously either.

 

My daughters have done several. It's interesting to see the other students considering the school and hear the presentations. Accepted student events made the final sale for both of them. Probably less useful if you have already visited though.

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Thanks for everyone's perspective!  To answer Regentrude's question, definitely talking about visits for students who have been accepted but are still making up their minds where to go.  No way would she be registering for classes at these visits; she wants to do a few visits and then decide.  And to address Arch at Home's comment, she would definitely plan to do overnights--we'd do it ourselves if the planned event didn't offer that at a school.

 

We kind of go both ways.  It is nice, as some of you have pointed out, to have it all planned out for us.  On the other hand, she did some pre-application visits, and it's not that hard to DIY.  We had started thinking perhaps this could give her a more authentic view of the campus.  But then again, there'd be more in-depth interaction at the planned events not necessarily with current students, but with the kinds of kids who are likely to become students....and that could be valuable, too.  So we've been going 'round and 'round trying to decide which.  Maybe she'll do a little of each.

 

We appreciate all the comments, and would welcome more if anyone has anything else to add!

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We have done it both ways. Each has a different feel.

 

The accepted students day was on a Saturday, so the only current students in attendance were there actively helping with the event in some capacity. It was a very fun day, there were multiple lectures and sessions that you could attend depending on interest. There were tables with student clubs, so that was good too. There were tables with refreshments and food as well.

 

The regular day visit will give you more of the feel what a day in your student's life would be like, fewer crowds, but no or fewer exciting tailored events. Most likely (not always) you will have to grab lunch on your own.

 

Once we had all admissions, my dd attended one accepted student day, a couple of ordinary campus tours and visits, and a couple of personally tailored visits (including one overnight) at two of her full tuition colleges. She ended up at one the ordinary visit colleges, but I don't think the kind of visit had much to do with that if at all.

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One nice thing about an admitted student event is that the other students who are attending are admitted students.  I have known students who have made friends and who have settled on roommates at these events.  It also cuts down on being on a tour with a group of people who are asking basic questions that someone who is already admitted would ask.  

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