Once you start applying for MBA programs, it’s hard to capture exactly what makes a particular school a good fit for you. That’s why there’s no substitute for a campus visit. It gives you specific knowledge and first-hand experience on the campus. This information can then be used to fill out your essays, enhance your interviews, and answer your questions.
A visit to the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management on Cornell University’s Ithaca campus is always a good idea according to Judi Byers, the Executive Director of Admissions & Financial Aid. The key is to make sure you head into your campus visit with eyes wide open.
- How do you make sure that the school knows you visited campus?
Registering to attend our events, off and on campus, provides us with a sense of the steps you’ve taken to get to know us and will help us determine other touch points that might be of interest and helpful to you. Like other aspects of the admissions process, quality supersedes quantity when it comes to your engagements, and the insights and knowledge gleaned from your interactions should be reflected in how you present yourself in your admissions application and interview, should you be invited to complete this step in the admissions process.
- What should you prepare for your upcoming campus visit, and how should applicants go about this preparation?
Understanding what you hope to gain from a campus visit will help you decide how you should approach your visit and prepare. Some candidates choose to visit early on to get a sense of whether a program might be an option to consider. Often, candidates at this stage will elect to take advantage of various campus visit offerings to develop an informed sense of the overall experience. Others choose to visit once they’ve placed a program on their “short list” and are hoping to have a closer look at the experience and have conversations to further inform their application essays and admissions interviews. Often, candidates at this stage have identified faculty members, student club leaders, and others they are hoping to connect with more directly about their particular interests.
Regardless of where you may be in the process, it’s always helpful to have your baseline research completed and your questions and visit objectives outlined. Keep in mind that some things you want to understand (culture and location, for example) must be experienced to really gain an accurate sense of whether a program is the right fit for you.
- When is the best time to visit a campus? Are there times to avoid and when visiting during the best time, how do you put your best foot forward?
The best time to visit campus is when classes are in session. It seems obvious, but there are candidates each year who visit during the semester breaks and are disappointed to have little to experience and even fewer students to connect with. Our visit schedule is posted online to help you plan for and make the most of your visit; use it as your guide and you won’t be disappointed!
As for the best way to put your best foot forward? Be present: introduce yourself to the faculty member in class, raise your hand if invited to contribute, meet your student host’s core team and their roommate’s core team too! And, be yourself: it’s the way we expect and want you to show up.
Cornell Johnson wasn’t the only school to answer these questions. If you’d like to see what the admissions teams at Berkeley Haas, Duke Fuqua, Michigan Ross, NYU Stern, UVA Darden, and Yale SOM had to say, head here.