If you are considering applying for an MBA program in 2015 or 2016, you are likely contemplating several campus visits. And, I am willing to bet that you have asked yourself or others several of the following questions. Here are the answers that you need to know.
Will I get extra points on my application if I make a campus visit?
Short Answer: No.
Long Answer: Most schools do not require a campus visit, and making one will not get you any tangible form of extra credit. The real benefit of a campus visit is far less tangible, but no less important. Campus visits allow you to gauge how you fit with a school and if you could be happy there. And isn’t that the most important factor of all?
Will I be able to network with admissions officials?
Short Answer: With a little planning
Long Answer: Networking is not the primary purpose of a campus visit. You will be given plenty of opportunities to get to know the school through information sessions, classroom visits and open house events. But before and after these events are not the best times for networking. Sure, you can certainly ask questions and introduce yourself. But the more beneficial networking opportunities are the ones that you have to create on your own. If you know of any current students at the campus, plan to meet up with them while you are there. If possible, schedule a meeting with a professor who teaches a class that you are interested in. These connections will not necessarily help your chances of admission, but they will help you to get a better feel for the school and how you could fit in there.
What should I do to prepare?
Short Answer: Do your research.
Long Answer: To make the most of your time on campus, take care of all preliminary research beforehand. Find out all you can from the school’s website and admissions materials, so that you can devote your campus visit to answering more complex, personal questions- questions that can’t be answered online. Also, do your research on the top sites at the campus and in the surrounding area. Take the time to visit local spots, and explore the culture of the school.
What is the most important thing to discover on a campus visit?
Short Answer: Your gut instinct
Long Answer: Sometimes, even when all of the statistics are right and the stars align for admission, a school and a student simply do not fit. Wouldn’t you rather discover that discord well before your first day of class, and avoid two years of less than ideal conditions? Think of the campus visit as a test run, and pay careful attention to your inner voice. If you feel uncomfortable on a campus, it might be time to move on to a different school.