Now that decisions are out for practically everyone, April is the unofficial month of accepted students’ days and weekends. You’ve been accepted, and the roles have been reversed. No longer are you trying to impress a long list of universities–the universities must instead impress you. With this in mind, let’s take a look at what you can expect on your admitted students’ visit and what to keep in mind when venturing across your potential campus.
The first thing to keep in mind is that your daily college life at any university is unfortunately not going to be exactly like admitted students’ day. They are not characteristic of the average morning at any given university. They are, however, characteristic of the school’s culture and interest in their undergraduate students. It’s important to take advantage of and relish in the fact that every human being walking by wants to talk to you and welcome you to campus–and it’s definitely useful to examine how excited the student body and administration get when all of the prospectives reach campus. Just be sure to understand that these are special occasions. You don’t want to base your college decision on this one single day.
Now, in order to take full advantage of this amazing and exciting day, you need to pay attention to a few other things. The first is your particular department of interest. Many schools have a university-wide open house in which you can meet the directors of each program. Most will have a short presentation and all will be willing to answer any questions you have about the program or department. Find out the strengths and weaknesses of the program, talk to the students in the major and professors if they are available, and try to picture yourself working with the people and in the environment. Your major or area of interest defines much of your college educational experience, so this interaction is one of the most important of your visit on admitted students’ day.
What you are rarely told, however, is that it’s okay if you don’t have any questions. You’re going to be talking with people all day long, with information coming from all directions and at a rapid rate. Nearly every single person you interact with is eventually going to ask you if you have any questions–pressure you to ask questions even. And if you have them, you should ask! But with the number of tours and info sessions and conversations you have throughout the day, it may very well be a reality that you’re simply out of freely flowing questions. Don’t feel awkward if you can’t think of something. Sometimes just taking the entire experience in is more valuable than a list of predetermined, space-filling questions.
Aside from the obvious–campus tours, room showings, etc.–another thing you need to do is eat in a dining hall. Though Chipotle might be right around the corner from campus, make it a point to check out the food you might be eating for the next four years. Though a minor point in comparison to things like academic programs, location, and culture, everything is on the table when deciding between two colleges. Don’t let a factor go unexamined.
Lastly, in the spirit of being paradoxical–it’s important to take everything with a grain of salt while still paying attention to detail. Soak up all that is said and handed to you at admitted students’ day, but don’t read too much into a few comments said by a single student. If you find something to be an overarching theme in conversation, or that multiple students have told you, then it’s safe to assume that it’s a shared experience or opinion among most of the student body. But keep in mind that each student you speak to is an individual with a distinct experience on campus, so one-sided opinions or points of view that stand out from the general consensus shouldn’t be dwelt on too much. Note them, but don’t let them determine anything.
Now go off and enjoy being catered to during your admitted students’ days, and congrats on getting this far!