During my application process, I was dying to know how to improve my odds of admission. For those with similar feelings, consider fly-in programs.
What’s a Fly-In?
Fly-ins are overnight programs at institutions and are typically free of cost. Students who attend fly-ins live with a host (a current student), and attend one or two classes of their choice. Sometimes they are offered an interview. The purpose of a fly-in is to help students familiarize themselves with the institution and determine whether they feel at home on campus.
Why Apply to Fly-Ins?
Beside getting a feel for the campus (free of cost), fly-in programs are an excellent way to show demonstrated interest. The board of admissions values proactive students. Those who apply to these programs show that they are concerned about their education — admission officers like that.
More importantly, when you answer the application supplements, you’ll be able to speak about your experiences on campus. It’s very difficult to think a school is the best fit when you haven’t stepped foot in the dorms, classrooms, or dining halls.
Once You’re on Campus
Being accepted to a fly-in indicates the admission board is interested in you; this makes your time on campus critical. Assuming that you envision a future on campus, you can earn — and hold onto — the admission board’s interest in two ways:
- If you are offered an interview: accept, perform well, and emphasize your interest in the institution. If they do not offer an interview, approach your regional admissions officer and initiate conversation — this demonstrated interest may substitute for an interview.
- Find a professor of interest and ask for a recommendation after you’ve initiated a thorough conversation. Professor recommendations are very valuable. Consider reading what a Dartmouth interviewer suggested was the secret to guaranteed admission.
Connecting with others is the best part of the program. You’ll be able to meet students with diverse backgrounds and interests who can potentially help with your application process. Networking with peers during the program is a wise choice many make. However, networking with faculty during the program is an even wiser move that few make. Ensure that you’re well versed on the do’s and don’ts of networking for college admission.
My Experience with Fly-Ins Fall 2017
I participated in the Carleton College and Tufts University overnight programs. The experiences were very similar: I interviewed and then conversed with current students and faculty. At Carleton, I built a strong relationship with a Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions and emailed her regularly for the following six months into Spring.
I was later admitted into both schools as a regular decision applicant! I am confident that participating in the fly-ins truly amplified the strength of my application as I could speak specifically to my experiences at each campus and communicate genuinely my interest in attending.
- Apply to fly-ins if you want to explore the campus or hope to strengthen your application.
- On campus, make sure to network with faculty! Seeking out a professor while demonstrating your professionalism, respect, and authenticity may earn you a recommendation that could strengthen your application.
For a list of fly-in programs, see http://blog.collegegreenlight.com/blog/college-fly-in-diversity-programs
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