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Oakes's Corner

The Campus Visit- When and Where to go and What to do

By Oakes Hunnewell, Ed.M., CEP

Following the Brazilian holidays, the best time to plan college visits for students coming from Brazil are during Carnival. During the months of January and February, colleges will offer information sessions and tours. However, they will not all grant interviews to juniors during that time. Interviews are more likely to occur after the admissions offices have sorted out their incoming class for the following year. Colleges will generally begin interviewing juniors in late spring. Summer is a fine time to visit colleges. Admissions offices are open five days a week. They offer information sessions, tours and interview for those colleges who grant them. The one drawback to visiting in the summer is that the students are on vacation. Campuses will be virtually empty except for some scattered summer academic and athletic programs.

Though December is a holiday in Brazil, it is not an ideal time for students to visit, especially if they are interested in the smaller liberal arts colleges. If students must plan their visits in December, they should plan them in the first week. Otherwise, many campuses are in exam mode. Students are busy studying for them or have left for the holidays. Admissions offices are also beginning to shut down. Information sessions and tours are most likely given on an abbreviated basis.

Seniors should also consider using their long weekends in the fall to fly over for quick visits. The fall is the busiest visiting time for colleges. This is the time of year when college admissions offices are open six days a week. Students are in classes and campuses are buzzing with energy. Prospective students will have a good sense of the culture and dynamics of each college they visit.

Most colleges and universities schedule information sessions twice a day, once at 10:00 and later at 2:00. Each visit lasts two hours. Information sessions last about 45 minutes and tours last about one hour depending on the size of the campus. Families should plan on no more than two visits a day. If timed correctly, there is a two hour window in the middle of the day for travel and lunch. Please view the link below for a sample of Yale University’s information session and tour schedule.

When granted, interviews are a good option. They give prospective student the opportunity to show a side of them that is difficult to see through the application. Generally, an interview can only help their chances for admissions. Rarely are interviews requirements though and most of the mid-sized and larger universities do not even grant them. Students should not feel obliged to interview but should also understand that, as international applicants, an interview is an opportunity for them to show off their mastery of the English language.

When planning college visits, families should pick a region in the country and focus on colleges within that region (ie. Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southwest). There are a number of colleges that are within one or two hours of one another. The following are sample tours taken by some former students of mine-

From Boston- MA/ME/NH/VT- Harvard University, Bowdoin College, Bates College, Colby College, Dartmouth College, University of Vermont, Middlebury College, Williams College

From Boston- MA/NY State- Boston University, Clark University, Union College, Skidmore College, Ithaca College, Syracuse University

From NYC- NY State/Connecticut/MA- NYU, New Schools, Vassar College, Bard College, Trinity College, Wesleyan University, Wheaton College, Emerson College

From Washington, DC- DC, VA, NC- George Washington, Georgetown, University of Richmond, William and Mary, UVA, Washington and Lee, Wake Forest, Elon University, UNC Chapel Hill

From LA- CA- USC, UCLA, Occidental, Chapman, Claremont Colleges, University of Redlands

From Cleveland- OH- Oberlin, Kenyon, College of Wooster, Denison, Ohio Wesleyan, Miami University of Ohio