On the topic of how important it is for you to conduct your own firsthand research, here’s one more tip:
Given where we’re at on the calendar, there’s actually going to be fewer and fewer opportunities to visit schools while students are on campus. Most schools are now headed into the final exam period and soon to graduation. The on-campus activities for visitors are curtailed at this time. If you are thinking about applying to a school in a far-away city, it probably makes more sense to plan that travel for later – like, even as late as the Fall, after you’ve already submitted that Round 1 app. Sure, you could go in the summertime and do a campus tour and sit through an info session with admissions, but you’re missing out on a major important factor if you do that: the students, and the classes.
(We go into this in lots of posts here on the blahg – check out that fancy dropdown menu thingie at the top of the home page that says “Categories” and pick the one that says “school visits” and you will be amazed by all the wisdom that pours forth.)
Oh yeah. A tip.
If you just can’t manage a trip to your favorite school right now, well guess what? There still could be value for you in going to visit any school. Experiencing a bschool campus – even if it’s not one you intend to apply to – could be a useful exercise. If you live in any major metropolitan area then it’s likely there’s at least one university in town, and it’s also likely that they have a business school. Going to check them out can help you understand what BUSINESS SCHOOL is like.
So if you live in Washington State, you could visit Foster – even if you have your sights set on schools like Columbia. If you live in Washington DC, you could visit Georgetown, even if you’re planning on applying to Berkeley.
(Though honestly, if you’re in the States, and you are going to apply to an American school, there’s very little reason why you can’t just get on a plane and go visit that school. But we’re throwing out examples anyway.)
If you live in Scotland, you could visit LBS – or Said, or Judge – even if you’re planning on applying to Harvard.
BTW, if you are Scottish, then you’re likely to have a warm reception from many U.S. schools, simply because there aren’t so many of you around, and you’ve got such the charming accent.
Anyway. Spend some time checking out the “Visit Us” pages of the schools you’re interested in – do it now. And if you can’t swing the travel in the next week or so (provided that there’s even still opportunity for class visits at this late date) then scope out any schools that are local to you, and see if you can get onto those campuses instead. Or, see how much vacation time you have available and make some plans for a summer adventure. It’s not useless to visit your school of choice in the summertime, if that’s when you can do it. You’re likely to have a good time whenever you do. The point is, do it.
Don’t outsource these tasks to some stranger. This is your life we’re talking about.