How Important are Accepted-Student Days?

Question: My son has applied to nine colleges and was only able to visit three. He may not be able to attend many of the accepted students days (assuming he is accepted!) because of an unavoidable family trip. How important are the accepted student days in making a decision? What are the downsides of making a decision on a school without going to accepted students day? He can schedule an overnight visit earlier or later in April, as an alternative to the formal accepted students day. He has no clear favorites so the April visits will be important to his decision.

There are pros and cons to attending the accepted-student events, so your son will lose out in some ways but gain in others by not being able to take part.

One advantage of these events is that they would allow your son to eyeball a big batch of his potential classmates. Granted, it will be impossible for him to tell which ones will eventually enroll, so perhaps the gaggle of Goths (or lax bros) that most (or least) attracts him could be gone by September. These all-comers events are also usually well organized and rife with panels and other formal presentations that allow prospective students to get a helpful glimpse at a broad swath of the college experience (academics, athletics, clubs, etc.) in a short amount of time.

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