College visits are informative but repetitive

October 24, 2019 — by Andrew Lee

“Attention seniors. New York University will be meeting in the library research center. The University of Southern California will be meeting in the MAP Annex.”

Aw man. Here we go again. 

It’s the peak of college application season — the time of year where the college application process somehow sneaks itself into every single conversation you have with a senior. The voices of friends, parents, strangers, teachers and now admissions officers lullaby me to sleep with college talk.

It has gotten to the point where college talk has crept into my tutorials and lunches: two to four colleges visit campus almost every single day. And, because of my dreadful paranoia and desire to actually get into a schools I am applying to, I can always be found sitting in the library research center or MAP Annex during tutorial and lunch several days a week listening to these presentations.

At first, college visits were interesting. But after awhile, they feel monotonous and repetitive.

The premise of college visits is great. Students can voluntarily learn about schools they are interested in when an admissions officer visits the area. 

The problem is that the content of each visit is always the same. Need-based financial aid, research opportunities, guaranteed housing, holistic review and a countless list of majors and minors should ring any senior’s bell.

So why do I still find myself going to college visits — even against my own will? 

For starters, I admit having a fear of “demonstrated interest.” Apparently some schools track whether or not you actually attend these things, and some even consider this during the application process. I’m too lazy to research which colleges do this, so I try to go to as many visits as I can, just in case.

Another reason is  peer pressure. For selective schools, people go to visits in droves. If I’m applying to that school, a weird part of me feels obligated to join. Sometimes even juniors and sophomores stand in line to listen to one. At this point, it feels unacceptable for a senior not to do the same.

Lastly, I am actually genuinely interested in what each school has to offer. Meeting the admissions officer is an invaluable experience and sometimes I get tidbits of fascinatingly attractive information about a school. 

However, the rest of the obligatory information every school repeats dilutes the experience.

One of the college visits that stood out the most to me was Northwestern University’s, but that’s only because I was called out for wearing my University of Chicago hoodie to the session by the admissions officer. Both universities are located in Chicago and are dangerously competitive. Going to that visit really helped me make a great first impression.

At least, oh dear admissions officers, show us a student-made video, do a skit, show pictures of cats or whatever you can to entice a restless group of angsty teens yearning to feel the energy of a college campus. I appreciate the time you put into coming to visit us, so why not make it a little more exciting for everyone? 

So, seniors, next time you’re trying to decide between spending tutorial finishing up that AP Government homework you were too lazy to do the night before or attending another college visit, don’t stress. 

If you’ve been to one visit already, you’ve probably heard it all.

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