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How crucial are open house visits?

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All I can say is I never went to any open houses BEFORE applying. I only went to some that I was accepted to after the fact. It just wasn't feasible. I guess I did go to one school in the summer and had a private meeting and tour. But it was a top-ranked school and I wasn't really expecting to get in. So if it helps, just know you can get in without attending - I had 6 offers during my second year of applications. 

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Like the previous poster, the Open House is not the most important thing to go to especially if you already have made contact with your POI through an interview of some sort. In two of my acceptances last year, I didn't go to the Open House for one of the programs and only visited the school AFTER I had been accepted for the other.

If you would like to see your future school you should definitely try to go, but not going normally wouldn't give you a disadvantage.


Good luck!

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I think going would only help you to the extent that you utilize the information you learn in the ever-crucial part of your SOP about why you want to attend that school. It could also help you if you make a connection with a professor while there, keep in contact with him/her during the application process, they're on the admissions committee, and they remember you and correspondence with you while looking at your application and had a favorable opinion of you. I don't know how likely the latter is to happen, though.


I also did not attend a single open house before acceptance. Between time and money, it wasn't feasible. I only think it would have helped my application in my ability to write about why I wanted to attend certain schools. I don't regret not going before applying, and I was accepted to five schools my first round of applications. I also was an applicant with a lower GPA (below 3.3), so I worked particularity hard on my SOP, especially those bits about why this or that school. I'll admit, I'd have been better able to do this had I visited, but I managed with just information available online. 


That all said, I went to a few open houses after I was accepted, and I'm so glad I did. I wasn't too keen on attending a particular program I was accepted to and ultimately enrolled at, but my visit to one of their open houses wildly changed my views of the school and program, and I learned so many things about the program (and faculty) that I didn't learn from just their website and googling. This is how I think visiting before can help you. I don't think it's necessary before applying, but it can help. Especially, in my opinion, when writing your personal statement. But like myself and many others, you can manage just fine without visiting before applying, and it might not be possible to visit beforehand. I'll be bold and say that not going should not impact your application at all. It won't be a mark against you, and perhaps visiting during the process can help your application in indirect ways.


This is just my opinion though based on my experience, and I'm curious what others say! Anecdotally, I read many personal statements for SLP grad school over the past five years, and I'll say that the applicants that got accepted without being waitlisted, or got accepted at all tended to talk generously in each personal statement about why they wanted to attend each program.

Edited by MangoSmoothie
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I thought the open houses gave me a good understanding about the program and the faculty members as well. Some open houses also gave a tour of the facilities which was also helpful. Most of the schools I had applied to were in the close vicinity of my home and so attending an open house was not an issue in terms of time availability. I went to five open houses and it gave me a better idea of the schools and what makes them unique.

Most of the schools I applied to were highly competitive with large amounts of applicants (NY metropolitan area). From my experience, emails from public insitutions were not helpful. Due to the high volume of emails and prospective students, they really do not want to spend extra time with you until you are actually accepted. The program's website and the open house are the only key into really understanding how you can increase your chances into getting accepted and get all your questions answered. Though the open house was helpful, the faculty may come off as cold and even intimidating because they want to see great application packages.

On the other hand, private institutions such as Columbia, NYU and Adelphi were more than happy to explain everything in detail in their open houses. Even maintaining email connections with these schools were helpful. It really convinced me that their programs, especially Adelphi, would work out for me.

I got several acceptances from both schools which I did and did not attend their open house. It really depends on your region, time availability and the willingness of each program to help you st the individual level.

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I went to open houses only after I was accepted to schools; however, I ran into two problems by doing this that could've been avoided by visiting beforehand:

1) For schools that notified later (late March/early April) and were far away from me, it was much harder to visit because the April 15 decision deadline was so close.
2) When I visited some schools after I was accepted, I realized were not a very good fit in the first place for me. My application list may have looked different had I visited beforehand.


That being said, as far as acceptances go, it is not crucial to attend. I would argue though that if you can, it is worth attending an open house for personal reasons. For example, if you have a school far away that you are very interested in and know they notify students late (check the results search on this forum), attend the open house prior to applying. That way you can personalize your statement better and do not have to worry about cramming in a visit if you are accepted.

Hope this helps! :)

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