NOTE from the author: This post has been updated to reflect 2020 dates!
So you’re considering Clarkson. Great!
If you’ve never been to campus, the question should not be, “Should I go to campus and check it out?” because the answer is always yes! (if you can).
Instead, the question is, “How should I visit campus?” and further, “Should I go for Accepted Students Day and a more casual visit surrounded by lots of people? Or should I go for a personalized visit with just myself and any family I want to bring?”
Both options are a fantastic way to check out the campus and get a sense of whether you can see yourself here. However, they are VERY different. Let me break it down for you.
I’ll start with personalized visits. The name says it all — you set up a day to come to campus for anywhere from an hour to several hours, and your visit is personalized based on your own interests. Ahead of your visit, you let us know about some of the things you’re interested in exploring while you’re here, such as visiting with a specific athletics coach or faculty member, chatting with dining services about a particular food allergy, sitting in on a class or going on a campus tour (we limit the number of families on each tour to keep it personal). Then, we try to create a schedule for you that includes the activities you’re interested in.
On top of giving you the opportunity to meet lots of the people you might interact with as a student at Clarkson, personalized visits are the perfect time to meet with one of our admissions counselors to discuss questions you may have about Clarkson or your financial aid package.
Personalized visits also provide flexibility — you can visit Monday through Saturday, anytime between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., so you can fit a campus visit in around your other plans. The personalized visits can also be, in some ways, more of a glimpse into day-to-day life at Clarkson. During these visits, it’s typically “business as usual” on campus, so you’ll get a good idea of the general atmosphere.
Now let’s move on to Accepted Students Day. We offer several “open house”-style events each year. The spring event, Accepted Students Day, is by invitation only. You have to be accepted to Clarkson in order to attend (except for prospective transfer and Clarkson School students who have not applied). UPDATE: This year, we are hosting two Accepted Students Day events – Saturday, March 28, and Saturday, April 4, 2020, starting with check in, breakfast and early bird events from 8-10 a.m. If you identify as female, you will also receive an invitation to attend our GE Women’s Leadership Day, which will take place on Friday, March 27, 2020.
Over the past several years, we have hosted anywhere from 550 to 700 accepted students to campus for this event. For a school whose incoming classes are around 700-750, it’s quite a day! Include a couple of family members for each accepted students and we’ve got a party — of nearly 1,000 people on campus each weekend!
What’s great about these events is that they help you interact with your future classmates, especially the spring Accepted Students Day, because you’ve all been accepted and are seriously considering (or have already decided on) Clarkson.
Another part of Accepted Students Day is the interaction with current students, faculty and staff. We definitely pride ourselves on being a tight-knit, friendly community. You’ll get to experience that first hand during activities such as the academic information session, the activities fair (with 50+ student clubs and service departments), lunch with faculty and students, and other networking opportunities.
If you’re hoping to speak in person with one of our admissions counselors about your financial aid package and any other questions, you will have the opportunity at Accepted Students Day. We offer one-on-one meetings throughout the day, but the sessions are drop-in only, so you may have to miss an activity while you wait you turn — darn! (But, we have a relaxation station in the waiting area, so you can get your zen on as you wait!).
Tours during Accepted Students Day are shorter than personalized visit tours and focus on the more “student life” aspects of campus.Unlike a personalized visit, the spring Accepted Students Day event feels more like a celebration where you’re the honoree. It’s our way of welcoming you into our community, congratulating you on your acceptance and helping you decide if this is the place you want to spend the next four years of your life. So expect to have a little fun while you’re here.
So there are your two options. Tough choice, right? Since there’s so much to consider, I created a chart to make it easier to prioritize what’s important to you (you can also view the pdf version here).
So, I guess in the end, the question I posed in the beginning is sort of a trick one — because the obvious answer is to come for both a personalized visit and Accepted Students Day if you can! Register for Accepted Students Day or request a personalized visit to campus.
If you are unable to visit campus before you make your decision, we have other solutions to help you get a feel for the place without ever stepping foot on campus. Reach out to any of our admissions staff members before the spring Accepted Students Day event, and we will assist you as best we can. We are always here to help.
Good luck! We can’t wait to show you — one way or another — what life at Clarkson is all about.