This is the time of year when high school seniors are visiting campuses that they hope will help them determine, once and for all, where they will be attending college in the fall.
Many schools have accepted student weekends geared towards influencing teenagers’ decisions. These schools will often put visiting teenagers in dorms for the weekend and host special events for them. These trips can be invaluable, but they can also be expensive.
And that reality brings me to a subject that I’ve never written about before — college fly-in programs.
Colleges and universities don’t advertise it, but some schools (all the ones I am aware of are private), will pay for some accepted students who are low income and/or a minority to pay a visit. The schools that offer fly-in programs typically cover the airfare or a portion of the airfare.
I know a couple of teenagers who have been lucky enough to get fly-in invitations in the past week or so.
The first is a poor African-American teenager from St. Louis (my hometown), who I have been helping off and on for a few months. I suggested that Jay apply to St. Olaf College, which is a wonderful liberal arts college in Minnesota with excellent financial aid. (Here are a couple of posts that I’ve written about St. Olaf:
I was keeping my fingers crossed that Jay would get into St. Olaf and he did. When Jay shared the fantastic news with me, I told him he should contact St. Olaf and see if the school would fly him in for a visit. I was delighted to hear that someone in the admission office had already extended an invitation.
The other teenager is a family friend who received an invitation from Skidmore College to visit the school in a couple of weeks. James, who is a bright, artistic teenager who happens to be Hispanic, said the school sent him his acceptance letter early because it wanted him to be able to arrange a flight to New York.
I saw all of James’ acceptance letters yesterday when he and his parents came over for my family’s annual Easter brunch. It’s clear from the personal note on the Skidmore acceptance letter and the fly-in invitation that this excellent liberal arts college really wants him to attend. And this college also meets 100% of financial need.
Inquiring About Fly-In Programs
If you think your child might qualify for a fly-in program, contact the school.
If your child isn’t a high school senior, some highly selective institutions sponsor diversity fly-in programs in the fall for prospective students. Sometimes these visits are sponsored to coincide with special diversity open houses. To qualify, student may have to fill out a scholarship application. I’d suggest Googling “diversity fly-in programs” to hunt for programs.
Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price.
students and minority
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