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June 26, 2012
There are pluses and minuses to visiting universities over the summer months. The big minus is that at most universities, the majority of students aren’t around during the summer. Sure, there are exceptions. At Dartmouth, for example, sophomores are required to spend their summer on the Hanover, New Hampshire campus. And you’ll find trickles of students taking summer courses at a host of universities, including highly selective ones. But by and large, you can’t get a good sense of a student body over the summer. What if you apply Early Decision to a university only to realize once you matriculate that the vast majority of students play the guitar and have purple hair (not that there’s anything wrong with that or that students with purple hair tend to play the guitar)? We’re simply saying that it’s important to get the full picture of a university and you often can’t do that when school’s out for summer.
Visiting universities over the summer months isn’t always the best idea. What’s missing from this photo? Students.
But we’ve told you about the minus. What’s the plus, you ask? The plus is that some highly selective universities offer campus interviews over the summer. Did you know that? If not, now you do! See, it pays dividends to read out blog regularly for helpful tips. And that’s not all. If you are visiting universities this summer that offer campus interviews, be sure to schedule your interviews after you attend the info session and tour. Why’s that? By doing so, you’ll know more about the university at which you’re interviewing and you’ll be better prepared to answer questions about why you want to attend that college. Seems logical, right?
So if you are visiting universities this summer when school’s out and your workload is lighter, know that this is OK. But be sure to do your research. Know what kinds of students attend a university. Ask around. Over the summer, you can’t do the smile test (checking to see if students on campus are smiling and happy or if they look like they want to transfer on the first bus out of town). So comb through the website. Ask your peers. Ask recent grads of your high school who attend that university. Nothing beats the smile test, but something is better than nothing. At The Ivy Coach, we are firm believers in the smile test. If you smile on a university visit, see if students smile back. It is the ultimate test to see if the students are nice and happy. We dare you to try!