Admissions

Will Lack of Campus Visits Hurt Asian Applicant?

Question: If I live in Asia, would not having visited colleges hurt my application by not showing enough ‘commitment’ and ‘interest’?
Admission officials fully understand that students from far away cannot always visit their target colleges. BUT … they have often seen international students … especially Asians … apply to a long list of “elite” U.S. schools, hoping that at least one will say yes. Commonly these students look a lot alike “on paper” (although no one uses much paper anymore!) so it can be hard to distinguish among them or to know who is truly interested in their particular institution and not just in any “name” college in America.Thus, you would be wise to show commitment to your top-choice colleges in ways that don’t involve a plane ticket and hotel bill. For instance, write to the admission staff member who oversees applicants from your high school to ask any genuine questions you may have that aren’t answered elsewhere (Web sites, brochures, etc.) and to express your desire to enroll. You might ask him or her for the name of a student who shares your nationality, intended major, extracurricular interests, etc. who would be willing to chat with you online (or to answer emails) to tell you more about the campus and college community, given that you won’t be able to see it for yourself. If alumni or admission officials host events near you, make every effort to attend.

You can usually get the name of your regional admissions rep from college Web sites. If not, a phone call or email to the admission office will do it. These folks are extremely busy at this time of year and could be irked by questions that seem contrived merely to get attention. But, if you are considering a college that is thousands of miles from everything that is familiar to you, there must be SOME true questions that you would love to have answered. So, when you can’t get to campus, it’s fine to ask, and this show of interest may even work in your favor at decision time.