irvin-85For those of you who are seniors, you know that it is almost time to turn in that early decision application (if that is the decision you made). If you are not applying early decision, you still have a bit of time to fill out the application or make a list of where to apply. It is really important to find this list early because of many reasons, but one reason in particular that I want to highlight: fly-out programs! When I was a junior, I was not aware of the fact that schools would actually pay for you to come visit their campus and spend a couple days there. How awesome is that? If you go to the website of the school that you are applying for, if you click Prospective students, you will likely find information on fly-out programs. For those of you that are juniors, keep an eye for this during the summer before your senior year since the deadline for these amazing opportunities are usually around September/October. Do not miss out on the chance of going to see the school that you are applying and might even end up going to! Although visiting is not the most essential part of your decision whether to apply there or not, being on campus and speaking to admissions officers is very different from browsing around the website. The personal interaction between you and admissions as well as you and the the current students gives you a different perspective; it adds another dimension! Some programs give you the chance to stay overnight. Do it! You learn so much about the school and its environment by being there for more than a couple hours.

On a personal note, when I visited Dartmouth, I only got to spend two hours on campus. But those two hours were more than enough to realize that I loved this place and that this was the place for me. Cue for the cliche of “gut feeling”. In the summer before my senior year, I applied for a 3 day fly-out program. If there was any doubt about Dartmouth (there really was not any haha) they were taken away after spending time there. I got the chance to attend classes, a lecture, student performances and all of this just increased my desire to be able to attend this great school.

Visiting a school is not a major aspect of your decision to go there. Some of my friends here did not visit Dartmouth but they still love it. All I want to say is that if you have the chance to visit, do it! It opens your eyes to how different colleges are and what type of college you would like to attend. Do not worry about the money, which was something that I was worried about. Schools have financial aid and if you are admitted into a fly-out program, most chances are that your costs will be covered! So do it!