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lookatthedonutnotthehole

Visiting Schools

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This may be a stupid question, but do you visit the schools before you apply or after you apply and get accepted? I know a lot of people visit the schools before they apply, but I was thinking I could apply first and then visit the ones I get accepted to. That way I can save my money on the ones that don't accept me, so I wouldn't have wasted my time flying out to visit them. Is that a bad idea?

Edited by lookatthedonutnotthehole

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I asked the exact same question a couple weeks ago from the manager of university and industry liaison at my school (I am in my 4th year in my BFA program). I was accepted with merit award to some schools MFA program for fall 2011 but I declined because they are not fully funded so I want to apply again next year to other schools. (Though I haven't heard from two schools yet.) She told me I definitely need to visit schools before I apply and get to know the faculty, their teaching philosophy and what directions the school is taking as well as to learn about in what way they support the development and career of the MFA students. In graduate school it is important to have good chemistry at least with one or two faculty members (minimum) as they can become your thesis advisers and your best supporters. It is also an opportunity for them to get to know you and they will remember you when it comes to decision though you still have to have a strong portfolio. The best time to visit is around late September or October .

I did not visit any school as I am still studying for my BFA and I could not afford to miss my classes. I still got accepted as the portfolio counts about 95% in the decision. But if you visit you can also ask what exactly they are looking in the portfolio so you can be more strategic about what kind of work you want to include. I will go to visit about six schools in the fall. You can actually group your potential schools where they are based, west coast or east coast and visit the schools on the same trip which are on the same coast.

This may be a stupid question, but do you visit the schools before you apply or after you apply and get accepted? I know a lot of people visit the schools before they apply, but I was thinking I could apply first and then visit the ones I get accepted to. That way I can save my money on the ones that don't accept me, so I wouldn't have wasted my time flying out to visit them. Is that a bad idea?

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I visited the one school I was most interested in (Yale) for their open house. I was only truly interested in one school so the decision on which one to visit was easy. I also did interview at SAIC (which was the first time seeing their campus/facilities) and I can tell you that it's vital to visit the school's you're actually contemplating attending. The surrounding town/city that they're in is going to have such a large role for your two years in whatever program you end up in that it'd be stupid to not know what it's like there before going.

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I visited the one school I was most interested in (Yale) for their open house. I was only truly interested in one school so the decision on which one to visit was easy. I also did interview at SAIC (which was the first time seeing their campus/facilities) and I can tell you that it's vital to visit the school's you're actually contemplating attending. The surrounding town/city that they're in is going to have such a large role for your two years in whatever program you end up in that it'd be stupid to not know what it's like there before going.

Ok, I hear ya. Yes that makes sense. Its like wine tasting. You can't tell if its good just by smelling it. I guess it would be a bit overwhelming to wait until the last minute to visit the schools. But I see you saw SAIC for the first time during your interview, so there can be exceptions to the rule. It just sucks being soo far away from everything. I'm in the middle of the boondocks in Texas. Probably as far away from the east or west coast you can get without being in Alaska or Hawaii.

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Ok, I hear ya. Yes that makes sense. Its like wine tasting. You can't tell if its good just by smelling it. I guess it would be a bit overwhelming to wait until the last minute to visit the schools. But I see you saw SAIC for the first time during your interview, so there can be exceptions to the rule. It just sucks being soo far away from everything. I'm in the middle of the boondocks in Texas. Probably as far away from the east or west coast you can get without being in Alaska or Hawaii.

Yea, I almost didn't go (to the SAIC interview). I mean I live in LA and I got notice late that I even had an interview at SAIC. If I had been dead set on going to SAIC I definitely would have visited prior to applying.

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This may be a stupid question, but do you visit the schools before you apply or after you apply and get accepted? I know a lot of people visit the schools before they apply, but I was thinking I could apply first and then visit the ones I get accepted to. That way I can save my money on the ones that don't accept me, so I wouldn't have wasted my time flying out to visit them. Is that a bad idea?

I actually visited after I heard back from schools, or for interviews. I felt that I got a pretty good vibe from looking intensely at faculty and student work (which I think is the most important aspect, does your work fit in and will you grow as a part of this program) on the schools websites and in their catalogues. Many schools have faculty and student contacts that you can email or call with questions which was also helpful in getting more information about the area and what type of people are attending the program. I agree that it is better to see the schools beforehand, but I also didn't have the time and money to take separate trips out to Seattle, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, etc from Maine (where I am now). I then visited 3 places once I got accepted, 2 in Mass and 1 in Washington (my one big cross-country trip) and now I'm actually going out to Washington so that visit was necessary for sure. I had heard some bad things about the program, so visiting and meeting students and faculty was essential before making my decision, but although it's great to do it beforehand, I would say it's not necessary. I hope that helps!

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