One of the most important things you can do in deciding which college or university to attend is to visit the school. Looking through brochures and browsing an institution’s website can give you some idea of what campus-life may be like. However, visiting the college or university in person gives you a firsthand view of the environment and allows you to see and experience the campus for yourself.
Visiting nearby college campuses may be feasible for some students, but travelling to those that aren’t as close to home may be out of the question for others; or is it? Not necessarily. Having a lack of finances and/or resources doesn’t have to prevent you from visiting colleges and universities that are far away.
There are several institutions that realize not every student can afford to visit numerous college campuses. Hence, they created what is known as fly-in and other programs, including those for underrepresented, first generation and/or diverse prospective and/or accepted students at minimal to no cost to the student. From transportation to food and housing expenses, the student’s visit may be free. These programs widen the scope by allowing students, who otherwise would not have the opportunity and/or finances to visit certain campuses, with the chance to do so.
As previously mentioned, visiting the campus of an institution you are interested in attending is one of the best ways to get a feel for the college’s environment. The fly-in program gives you the opportunity to determine if the institution is a “fit” for you. Having the chance to attend a class, meet admissions counselors, talk with students and professors, eat in the dining hall, sleep in a dorm room and/or walk around campus will help you decide whether or not you could see yourself spending the next for years of your academic life on that particular campus.
Not all colleges and universities offer fly-in programs so it is up to you to research the ones that do. There are, however, organizations that create and publish lists of colleges and universities that offer fly-in programs to make your search easier. For instance, College Greenlight lists the name of the program, the application deadline and the program dates of institutions that offer fly-in and other programs. Get Me to College provides similar information, but also provides details on estimated GPA and test scores needed of prospective students wanting to attend a fly-in program.
Although these lists are quite valuable, you should still verify the information with the college or university.
Most institutions require an application from those prospective students wanting to attend a fly-in program. In addition, students may be required to write an essay, submit their transcript with test scores and/or include a letter of recommendation.
Because it’s a competitive process, you need to take care when completing your application. Following directions and submitting your application prior to the posted deadline is important. If you have any questions, be sure to contact the college or university’s admissions department.
A number of fly-in programs for prospective students occur during the fall, but there are those colleges and universities that conduct the programs in early spring. Application deadlines for the fly-in program vary, but could be as early as June for the upcoming fall programs.
Acceptance into fly-in and other programs does not guarantee acceptance for admission into a college or university, but it certainly does not hurt your chances. The fact that you were chosen to attend could signal that the college or university does have an interest in you. Therefore, it is important that you conduct yourself in a professional manner while on your visit. You wouldn’t want to have a “lapse in judgement” and do something to jeopardize your chance of being admitted.