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Experience College Life Firsthand: A Guide to College Fly-In Programs

College Fly-In Programs

If you’re a high school student interested in attending college, you may wonder what it’s like to be on a college campus. College fly-in programs are designed to give you a taste of college life. These programs allow you to visit a college campus, attend classes, meet professors and students, and get a feel for the campus culture. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of attending a college fly-in program, what to expect during your visit, tips for making the most of your experience, and a list of top colleges with fly-in programs.

What is a College Fly-In Program

College fly-in programs, sometimes known as diversity programs, are typically one- to three-day events for high school students interested in attending a particular college or university. They allow high school seniors to visit a college campus to get a genuine feel for student life and academic opportunities. You may have the chance to attend classes, meet professors and current students, and stay overnight in the dorms.

The programs are usually free, with the school covering all or most of the costs, including airfare, meals, accommodations (dorms!), and campus activities.

Who Should Apply

Each program is unique. Many are open to all prospective students, while others will target under-represented students.

Commonly targeted student groups:

  • First generation to college students
  • Lower-income students
  • Black or African American students
  • Latin or Hispanic students
  • Asian or Pacific Islander students
  • Undocumented or DACA students
  • Students from rural areas
  • LGBTQ+ students
  • Pell-eligible students

Benefits of a College Fly-In Program

A college fly-in program is more than just a free trip. First and foremost, it allows students to experience college life firsthand and see themselves as a part of the college community.

Attending a college fly-in program can also help you stand out in the college admissions process. Admissions officers are often impressed by students who take the initiative to visit their campus and learn more about their school. Participating in a fly-in program can show your commitment to a particular college or university and your interest in attending.

Finally, attending a college fly-in program can help you connect with current students and professors. This can be invaluable when choosing a college or university, as you’ll have access to insider information and personal experiences to help you make an informed decision.

What to Expect

During a college fly-in program, you’ll participate in various activities. These may include attending classes, meeting with college staff and faculty, exploring campus facilities, and interacting with current students. You may also participate in campus activities, like sporting events or concerts. Campus tours, information sessions, and meetings with admissions officers will also be on the agenda.

One of the most exciting aspects of a college fly-in program is the chance to stay overnight in a dorm. This gives you a taste of what it’s like to live on campus. An added benefit is meeting other high school students interested in attending the school – potential future classmates!

Tips for a Successful College Fly-In Program Experience

To make the most of your college fly-in program experience, it’s important to come prepared. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit:

  1. Do your research beforehand. Make sure you’re familiar with the college or university you’ll be visiting and have a list of questions you’d like to ask. Don’t worry; you’ll think of more once you’re on campus.
  2. Take notes. Use a notebook, phone, or whatever works best for you. You’ll want to remember important details and what impressed you most when applying to the school and eventually making your college decision.
  3. Talk to people. Not just your roommate but the staff and faculty that you meet. You’ve got an opportunity to make connections that few prospective students get. Don’t forget the current students; they’ve most recently been in your shoes and can share what student life is like.
  4. Be open to new experiences. This is your chance to try new things and step out of your comfort zone. Embrace the opportunity to meet new people and stretch yourself.
  5. Pack appropriately. Make sure you bring comfortable clothing, shoes, and any toiletries you’ll need for an overnight stay. The school will have a suggested packing list for you. Leave enough room in your luggage for souvenirs from the college bookstore!
  6. Follow up. After your visit, follow up with any professors or admissions officers you met with a note of thanks or any questions you have that weren’t answered during the trip. This helps you build relationships and reinforces your interest in attending.

List of Top Colleges with Fly-In Programs

Below are some colleges and universities offering fly-in programs for high school students. This isn’t a comprehensive list, and be sure to check deadlines; most are in the mid-to-late summer.

Impact of Supreme Court Decision on Affirmative Action

The Supreme Court Affirmative Action decision will likely have a significant impact on fly-in programs. Some schools may cancel them. Others will resort to class-based, first-gen, or other identifiers besides race. Keep an eye on this over the next few years; a lot is still uncertain.  Race-based recruitment programs are not explicitly outlawed in the Supreme Court decision, but there is ample reason to believe they violate the spirit of Chief Justice Roberts’s comments, and therefore, we believe that many schools will not want to risk an expensive lawsuit by continuing the race-based programs.

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