Let's discuss campus visits. Should you? Shouldn't you? Why or why not?
One of our clients recently asked us about visiting the campuses of the business schools he’s applying to.
“I heard it could be helpful to impress the admissions committee if you visit the school. Is this true? And will it REALLY help me get admitted? It just seems to be so expensive to go visit all the schools I’m applying to, especially if I might have to return for interviews. Also, if I do visit, is it possible to talk to someone in admissions about my personal situation?”
Yes, my friends, if it is at all possible you SHOULD absolutely try to coordinate a campus visit. Yes, it will cost you a few bucks or so, but compared to the $150K that you are going to spend, that isn’t a very large amount. Especially considering how important the campus visit is at many schools.
I was recently speaking with an admissions committee member at a European B-school. She made it EXTREMELY clear to me that if an applicant hasn’t visited, she simply will NOT believe that he or she truly wants to go to that school. Period.
But she makes a good point. How can you prove to a school that you KNOW that they are the best school for you, if you have never even visited? It is possible, of course, but why not take that risky element out of the mix and just… well, visit? The adcoms will be impressed, not to mention, YOU will also experience cool things and meet cool people that you can reference in your applications (and, you know, reach out to when you get to campus next year).
What To Do During Your Campus Visit
Obviously, there are lots of things you can do that will be both helpful for your application and productive for you in general. First of all, reach to to the admissions committee. Granted, they will likely not take your meeting… but there is no shame in trying. You should also visit classes that are relevant to your career goals. And finally, do your best to reach out to current students as well. So, for example, if you are interested in the Venture Capital Club, try to meet with a person (or two?) who is a member of that club! Find out about the club, find out about the campus, and find out about their life in the MBA program. Don’t do this just because you will be able to write about it in your apps, but also because you will learn what it is REALLY like on campus.
And isn’t that something you’d like to know before you decide to spend the next 1-2 years there?