Fly-In Focus

For Counselors: Impact of Fly-in Programs

No Comments 23 August 2017

Finding the time, transportation and budget to visit college campuses can be tough, especially for students from low-income families or those who will be in the first generation of their family to attend college.

Fortunately, college admissions offices recognize that limited access to campus visits is one of the many barriers students can face in the admissions process. Accordingly, many colleges and universities organize fly-in programs and overnight experiences and provide travel assistance to welcome prospective students into their communities. These programs often vary in their target participants – students of color, low-income students, students from underrepresented geographic regions, for example – but all provide students with firsthand exposure to the academic offerings and social environment of their institution.

Fly-in programs give prospective students the opportunity to:

  • Ask macro- and micro-level questions of current college students and faculty.
  • Discover resources for academic advising, study abroad, career development and student leadership.
  • Make connections with peers who might become their future classmates and friends.
  • Build relationships with admissions officers who can assist with the college admissions process.
  • Evaluate their sense of fit for an institution.

Gaining a deeper sense of the vibe and culture of a college’s campus community will help students convey their interest in their application and can influence a student’s desire to apply early decision.

Admittedly, applying to fly-in programs can sometimes feel like an entire college application process on its own. To make things less overwhelming, students should prioritize fly-in applications for a few colleges they are considering but aren’t fully sold on.

College Greenlight provides a great place to start, with a comprehensive list of fly-in and diversity programs. Select several fly-in events to share on your school/organization’s website and feature them in email newsletters to students and families.

This article was written by Sean Ashburn, an admissions counselor at Tufts University. Tufts University offers two overnight opportunities for prospective students through the Voices of Tufts Diversity Experiences. The first program (October 19-20, 2017) is intended for students interesting in studying engineering and the second program (October 26-27, 2017) is for students interested in studying across the liberal arts and sciences. Application deadlines are in early October.

Admissions, Fly-In Focus

College Greenlight Hosts Fly-in Program Webinar

No Comments 19 May 2017

Visiting a college campus doesn’t have to be a challenge — even if a campus is across the county. Many colleges offer fly-in programs, where students are flown in for a campus tour.

College Greenlight keeps an updated list of fly-in programs all over the country. More than 70 colleges, including many of the nation’s top schools, offer these programs.

College Greenlight hosted a webinar about fly-in programs, talking with admissions officers from Williams College, Bowdoin College and Swarthmore College. Listen for tips on how to access these programs.

Fly-in facts:

  • Colleges pay for students to come to campus
  • Students stay on campus in dorms and experience what college life is like
  • Fly-in programs aren’t limited to planes. Students also can be brought to campus via buses or trains.

African American Students, Fly-In Focus

Pioneer Prep Leadership Institute at University of Denver

No Comments 10 May 2017

The University of Denver’s Pioneer Prep Leadership Institute is a program for black and Latino/a students looking to get a taste of college life. Rising high sophomores and juniors are invited to stay on campus in a residence hall and meet current University of Denver student mentors and faculty and staff. Participants also will have the opportunity to attend sessions focused on the application process, college access, cultural awareness and leadership development.

The session for Latino/a students takes place between June 28 and June 30, and the session for Black students is July 12 to July 14. Depending on financial need, students who are admitted to the program will be considered for a DU Pathways Scholarship, which is worth $7,500 a year and renewable for all four years of college.

Although this program takes place on the University of Denver’s campus, students outside of Denver are welcome to apply. The university will provide five travel stipends to nonlocal students admitted to the Pioneer Prep Leadership Institute. This covers round-trip air fare and shuttle service to and from the Denver airport. Students must complete the travel stipend section of the application in ordered to be considered for one.

Program participants who plan on applying to the University of Denver receive additional benefits. These students will get an application fee waiver for the university that is worth $65. Participants who end up attending the University of Denver also can participate in quarterly activities that allow them to connect with staff and fellow Pioneer Prep students.

The Pioneer Prep Leadership Institute allows students to meet like-minded people who are passionate about higher education. Applications are due May 15.

Choosing A School, Fly-In Focus

Applying To & Attending College Fly-in Programs

No Comments 12 August 2016

College fly-in and diversity programs are amazing opportunities for first-gen, low-income and underrepresented students to make important campus visits funded by a scholarship or all expenses paid by the school.  Held at institutions around the country, fly-in and diversity programs give students the chance to sit in on a class, stay overnight in a dorm, meet faculty and current students, and get a real feel for a college’s culture.

Thinking about participating in one of these great programs?  Here are some tips for students on how to find, apply, and prepare for a fly-in or diversity program.

Decide What Programs You’re Interested In

Take a look at College Greenlight’s blog post to see a comprehensive list of colleges that offer these sorts of programs.  Consider which colleges are ones you are interested in attending—you don’t want to waste both your and a college’s time by attending a program at a college you wouldn’t consider, and taking a spot for someone who wants to be there.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of colleges check into the details of each program and decide if you’re eligible or if it will work with your needs and schedule.  Some programs are only for certain students, like those who are first-gen or come from underrepresented backgrounds or are for students interested in specific fields such as STEM.  You’ll also want to take a look at program dates and deadlines, and see if these particular programs have open applications and that their program dates will work with your schedule.  Junior and senior year can be a very busy time, but taking time to visit a college campus, especially for a fly-in or diversity program, can be worth it come college application time.

Collect Your Materials & Submit Applications

Once you’ve decided on what programs you’ll apply to, you’ll have to collect the necessary materials and fill out an application.  Do your research—each program may have very different requirements, from essays to transcripts to letters of recommendation, and some of these you’ll have to plan ahead to get in time.

It’s important to note that many of these programs are selective and have very limited seats available.  Some are on a first-come, first-serve basis; others are based on merit or a student’s demonstrated interest in the institution.  To have the best chance of getting accepted, apply early and, if possible, use your application materials (like essays) to explain why you are interested in that particular college.

Prepare for Your Visit

Once you’ve been accepted to a program, it’s time to get excited for your visit! It’s also time to prepare for taking advantage of your time on campus.   Make a list of questions you’d like to ask admissions staff, faculty and current students.  Depending on your interests, these questions can include information about financial aid, academics or the college’s culture.   Ask fellow students how they like the college and any other questions that might help give you an idea of how you’d fit in on campus.  Do you participate in sports or clubs or activities you plan to pursue after high school? Do you want to know what there is to do in the surrounding community? These are just a few examples of potential questions, and don’t be shy—ask away!

Interested in a specific field of study?  It can also be helpful to find out before where the faculty offices and classroom buildings are located and see if you can find some time to visit them.  Each fly-in and diversity program is different, and you may only see different parts of campus or you may get a tour of all the buildings.

Follow Up & Apply

Many college admissions professionals agree that the campus visit can be the most crucial part of deciding if a college is the right match or fit for a student.  If after you after attending a fly-in or diversity program you are still interested in the college, the real work starts!

If you met with admissions officers or faculty, you can demonstrate your interest by following up and thanking them for your time.  This not only is polite, but also helps them remember you when you send in your application later.

Don’t forget the most important part: applying!   Take note of deadlines and fill out your application to the school when it opens.  By participating in the diversity or fly-in program you already have an advantage, but there is still the last step: work hard and get accepted!





Fly-In Focus

Fly-In Focus: Discover Swarthmore

No Comments 19 May 2016

Held at Swarthmore College each fall, Discover Swarthmore offers high-achieving high school seniors the chance to participate in an all-expenses-paid overnight program on their campus in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.   Transportion to and from campus, meals and lodging are all provided at no cost to students courtesy of the Swarthmore Admissions department.

During the program (which will occur in two different sessions: Thursday, September 15 – Saturday, September 17, 2016 or
Thursday, October 20 – Saturday, October 22, 2016) students will attend actual Swarthmore classes, live in on-campus housing with current students, eat in the dining hall, and participate in campus events. Students will also learn more about campus from informal conversations and panel discussions with staff, faculty, alumni and current students.

The program is open to all rising high school seniors interested in Swarthmore College, with preference given to first-gen, low-income students, as well as those from underrepresented backgrounds.  Students can apply to Discover Swarthmore directly (deadline is July 31, 2016.) While a nomination is not required to attend, counselors, teachers, and CBO advisors are encouraged to nominate their students by June 30th, 2016.

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