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April Is Jam-Packed with Admitted Students’ Weekends: What You Need to Know

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Anderson, Haas Round Out the April Events
The final weekend of April belongs to UCLA Anderson and UC Berkeley Haas. Anderson Days, or “A-Days,” will take place from April 28th through 30th and are designed to help admitted students get to know each other as they are introduced to the student experience, resources, activities and faculty of the school. They’ll also get to meet members of the school’s career management staff its alumni network. Other items on the packed agenda include housing tours, a walking tour of Westwood and a wine and cheese social for partners or “Sig-Os” as they are called, a Student Club Mixer and opportunities to explore downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica.

admitted students' weekend
Admitted students at a previous year’s Days at Haas getting ready for the Amazing Race.

Haas will welcome students to Berkeley from April 27th through 29th for Days at Haas. Student driven, organized and run by Haas Student Ambassadors, events on tap include small group dinners in student homes in surrounding neighborhoods to give admits a glimpse into residential life and a welcome reception and dinner atop Memorial Stadium with spectacular views of San Francisco Bay. Admitted students will also participate in a “highly interactive team bonding activity (à la Amazing Race)” to help them get to know the Berkeley campus and culture. There will also be opportunities to take part in half-day treks to explore wine country and the San Francisco coast. And a parallel program for partners of admitted students will include a neighborhood tour and Champagne toast, the school shares.

Word to the Wise: Don’t Crash These Weekends

Maybe you were waitlisted and think showing up for admitted students’ weekend would allow you an opportunity to make your case for admission? Think again. Haas was reluctant to share the actual dates of Days at Haas because waitlisted applicants and eager Round 3 applicants have been known to try to crash the events. “Not a good strategy,” warns Peter Johnson, assistant dean of the full-time MBA program. The events at Haas and every other school are exclusively for admitted students and their partners.

Stanford Graduate School of Business, for its part, has a strict policy against publicizing its admit weekends or activities. “We have had times in the past that dates went public and we had non-admitted candidates tried to attend a closed event,” says Global Media Relations Director Kristin Harlan. “It is really a small group and these admits already have all the relevant info.”

Six Tips for Making the Most of Admitted Students’ Weekends

Are you headed to one of the remaining admitted students’ weekends later this month? If so, here are some key pieces of advice from current students on how to get the most out of them.

  1. Be Sure to Connect with Current Students. “Current students not only offer advice about your desired career intentions and academic ambitions, but also connect you with others who have similar interests,” advises CBS’s Winfrey. “This is a good way to help you decide between schools—by seeing what informal networks and resources are available for your interests.”
  2. Keep an Open Mind. There will be lots of information to digest and discoveries to be made. “It is not necessary to have your full path through business school and post-MBA mapped out,” says Winfrey. “Have an idea, but keep an open mind. The discovery process is one that everyone goes through in business school.”
  3. Rest Up and Take Full Advantage of Events on Offer. “I remember being exhausted by the end of the first day,” says Darden’s Good. “But my advice is to go to as many of the activities and expose yourself to as much new stuff as you can—especially if you are undecided.” This includes Darden’s optional Saturday activities in the area surrounding Charlottesville. “Some people have a bit of a reservation about moving here from a big city and don’t understand how great it can be until they get here,” she says. “It’s hard to say no after sipping on wine at King Family Vineyards.” Classmate Collins agrees. “Take the time to get to know the area,” he says. “I still don’t understand how a city the size of Charlottesville supports the dining, arts and bars that it does—admitted students should really explore while they are here.”
  4. Walk Away with Answers to All Your Questions. This means big questions about the program or curriculum as well as questions like how did you go about finding a place to live. “Walking away with unanswered questions would be a shame,” says Good. “It’s going to be a fun weekend, but we also want to make sure it’s a valuable weekend in terms of helping students gain clarity.” And with lots of current students involved, it also offers an opportunity to get a range of views. “You might even try asking multiple students the same question to get different perspectives,” she suggests. “It’s a good time to get very honest answers.”
  5. Go Even if You Don’t Need Convincing. Collins didn’t attend Darden Days when he was an admitted student, but he wishes he did. “Even for students who are pretty sure or have made up their minds, the weekend is really worthwhile in the sense of building that energy and excitement and starting to think critically about how am I going to make the most of things,” he says. It can help students think about what excites them and what they want to become an important part of their experience when they start in the fall. “You’ll get here and there are clubs, academics, recruiting all happening at once,” he says. “It is very valuable to take a step back before getting here and think about where you want to spend your time and energy.”
  6. Get a Head Start on Making Friends. “It’s really cool to meet your future classmates,” says Good. “Some people I met at Darden Days are really good friends of mine to this day.” Though Winfrey was already set on heading to CBS before he attended Columbia Connect as an admit, he’s still really glad he did. “A lot of the students at admit weekend will be your future classmates, so make sure you connect with as many people as you can!” he urges. “Keep it fun!”

What to Do When You Can’t Be in Two Places at One Time?

Winfrey only applied to Columbia—so choosing which admitted students’ weekend to attend was not a challenge. “If I had applied to multiple schools and was grappling with my decision, I definitely would have gone to multiple admitted weekends,” he says. Good attended weekends at both Darden and Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, which helped her make her choice. “Coming to the weekend makes a really big difference, especially if you are on the fence about a program,” she says. “You feel the spirit of the school and that sense of community that people talk about and really immerse yourself in what your life would be like for two years if you picked Charlottesville,” she says.

Of course, given the scarcity of weekends in April and the number of schools putting on events, it’s not unusual to face some tough choices. Fortunately, since NYU Stern and Columbia chose the same weekend, as did HBS and MIT Sloan, there are some opportunities at least in New York and Boston to squeeze in parts of the weekends at more than one school.

For those deciding between less conveniently located schools—Darden and Kellogg, say—Clear Admit’s Admissions Tip this week offers some advice.

Here’s hoping your weekends—wherever they may be—prove both fun and informative, whether you’re on the fence trying to decide between multiple schools or eager to meet future classmates at the school you’ve already started calling your own. And if your visit leads to a momentous decision, won’t you please share it on MBA DecisionWire?