Campus visits are an important part of deciding where you will apply, though as we mentioned yesterday, you won’t be at a disadvantage if circumstances—financial, distance, no vacation time—make it too difficult to visit prior to submitting your application.
Soojin Kwon, director of MBA admissions at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, recently posted about the best time to visit MBA programs on her blog. “A school visit can confirm your perceptions, or it can surprise you in ways that could change where you place a school on your list,” Kwon says.
At Michigan Ross, the ideal time to visit is when classes are in session—September through November, and January to February—although the school does offer visits at other times as well. Watching students in action is, however, the best way to really get a feel for your fit with the program.
The main, and quite valid, reason to visit campus prior to applying is so that you can incorporate details about your visit into your application. That’s not possible for everyone, though. Kwon strongly suggests applicants visit every school they are applying to before making a decision to enroll, whether that means before or after submitting, for the interview, or eventually, for the admit weekend.
The director also offers a a few choice tips for candidates planning a campus visit. First, Kwon suggests contacting people you would like to meet in advance, such as student ambassadors, to see if it’s possible to schedule a brief meeting. Also, if you can time your visit to take advantage of a special conference or event taking place at the school, that’s a great way to further familiarize yourself with the program.
If it’s financially feasible and fits into your schedule, we here at SBC always recommend a visit. When you visit the campus, you develop a better understanding of the school’s culture, which is sure to come through in your essays and interview. While others will be referencing the school website, you can cite specific, first-hand experiences. So enjoy yourself and be open-minded. This is a fun opportunity to start planning a very exciting next step in your life.