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Articles / Applying to College / Will Lack of Campus Visits Hurt Asian Applicant?

Will Lack of Campus Visits Hurt Asian Applicant?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Dec. 16, 2015

Question: If I live in Asia, would not having visited colleges hurt my application by not showing enough ‘commitment’ and ‘interest’?
Admission officials fully understand that students from far away cannot always visit their target colleges. BUT … they have often seen international students … especially Asians … apply to a long list of “elite” U.S. schools, hoping that at least one will say yes. Commonly these students look a lot alike “on paper” (although no one uses much paper anymore!) so it can be hard to distinguish among them or to know who is truly interested in their particular institution and not just in any “name” college in America.Thus, you would be wise to show commitment to your top-choice colleges in ways that don’t involve a plane ticket and hotel bill. For instance, write to the admission staff member who oversees applicants from your high school to ask any genuine questions you may have that aren’t answered elsewhere (Web sites, brochures, etc.) and to express your desire to enroll. You might ask him or her for the name of a student who shares your nationality, intended major, extracurricular interests, etc. who would be willing to chat with you online (or to answer emails) to tell you more about the campus and college community, given that you won’t be able to see it for yourself. If alumni or admission officials host events near you, make every effort to attend.

You can usually get the name of your regional admissions rep from college Web sites. If not, a phone call or email to the admission office will do it. These folks are extremely busy at this time of year and could be irked by questions that seem contrived merely to get attention. But, if you are considering a college that is thousands of miles from everything that is familiar to you, there must be SOME true questions that you would love to have answered. So, when you can’t get to campus, it’s fine to ask, and this show of interest may even work in your favor at decision time.


Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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