If you are a rising senior in high school, now is the perfect time to apply for fly-in programs. Numerous QuestBridge college partners offer campus visit opportunities that are known colloquially as fly-in or overnight programs. A majority of these programs are focused on bringing underrepresented students to their campus, and travel grants are available to cover all costs of transportation, lodging, meals and programming. Take advantage of these opportunities — you may be able to visit an amazing school for free! If there is a specific college you are interested in, contact the admissions office to inquire about funded opportunities to visit campus. Here, I’ve listed the top five reasons why attending a fly-in program will benefit you during your college search.
- You can conduct your college search in person
I know how amazing all of you are, and I’m sure you’ve been researching colleges to get a sense of where you will apply. This may include attending a QuestBridge National College Admissions Conference, reading college guidebooks, or doing research online. Attending a fly-in will give you the opportunity to acquaint yourself with a college beyond the brochure. On campus, you’ll be able to truly gauge if a school’s proclaimed sense of collaboration is evident in the classroom.
- You can ask the big questions and the little ones
How easy is it to do research in the Biology department? What pre-law advising is available? How do students do laundry? Where are the best desserts on campus?
You have a lot of questions, and during your overnight visit, you’ll talk to current college students about their experiences. You can ask about their greatest achievements and challenges on campus. You’ll also attend classes, where you’ll see how a college class is conducted at a small or large institution. Afterwards, you can talk to professors about the intellectual atmosphere and how they support their students’ success. Plus, you’ll find that many of your questions will be answered by simply observing interactions around campus!
- You just might fall in love
Yes, there may be some cute prospective students also attending the fly-in, but I’m talking about the opportunity to fall in love with a dream school. When it comes time to ranking colleges for the College Match, you’ll be confident that you ordered your schools perfectly.
- You’ll make important allies
A fly-in program is a great way to meet people who can help with your college process. On campus, you can build relationships with admissions officers while demonstrating interest in their school. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet personally with financial aid officers and ask nuanced questions.
- You’ll smile and laugh… a lot
Fly in programs are a way to conduct serious college research. They are also full of incredibly fun and rewarding activities. For example, during Colby’s overnight visit program called the Commitment Experience, students attend classes and research presentations, watch a student talent show, eat amazing food including lobster, and attend a campus tradition called Story Time (complete with milk and cookies).
-by Tori Guen, Senior Assistant Director of Admissions at Colby College