As an alumni of college for over 5 years, when you hear that there are information sessions to potential schools that you are applying to the automatic thought that comes to mind is: Should I go?
When you’re working an 8 hour job and you’re a lot older than those who do actually go to info sessions, this is the thought that I have when I find out there’s an actual session and the day of. In fact, this thought occurs even right before I start the care up to trek to wherever the info session may be.
I remembered once how I told someone I was going to an info session, and the response was “I never go to those.” Some don’t. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not mandatory that you do go to a session. In fact, sometimes, what’s presented at one, you can get online.
Truth be told, universities these days makes it easy for one to check out a school without having to visit a school. The days when I was in college where I would go to “freshman day” to check out the school are not necessarily gone, but technology has made it incredibly convenient. Some universities have virtual tours of the campus, some provide web sessions online, and some even have videos of what the campus is like. On top of the “need to know” items like prereqs, schedules, curricula, financial aid, and what have you, universities have really made it convenient for those that aren’t local to check out their schools.
I think this is awesome. Being a techie, I think that this helps those who are at work or aren’t able to make it to these info sessions. For me, the insecurity lies on the fact that I’m a bit older than the 1st or 2nd year post grad who applies. There are many; I’m not saying that there aren’t those who are older who don’t go or apply. There are. However, that insecurity of being somewhat older always gets the best of me.
So, why go to info sessions when you have technology at your finger tips? Here are some reasons why if you can go, to go to an info session.
- You get to see what the school is like. I don’t think schools would put up videos or pictures that show off a bad side of campus or even some of the parts that are being renovated. I mean…from a marketing perspective, no one will put out poor quality pictures.
- You get to meet the students. One of the advantages of going to these info sessions is that you get to ask those who have gone before you what it’s like being a student there. Whether it’s insight on the grueling schedule, the rotations, or how the classes are like, you get a first hand account of what it’s like to be a student at that university. I think that’s a plus given that we can only know so much on blogs and forums. Here, you get the real deal.
- You potentially get an opportunity to meet a dean or a professor. I recently went to a info session and was surprised by the fact that the person that was running the session was actually the dean of the program! It wasn’t a recruiter, but the dean. For me, that was a big deal. I was coming from work, dropped off some stuff for a diabetes class that other lifestyle coaches were teaching, and literally just plopped onto an open seat tired from a long day. Lo and behold, here’s the dean who I’m sure is a lot more busy that I am, giving a presentation and answering questions about the program. Amazing. It speaks volumes when there’s that level of commitment. On top of that, she wasn’t only a dean. She teaches too. So…you get to meet a teacher and someone on the admissions committee.
- You get insight that you probably won’t get from the virtual world. There was a statement that was said at an info session I recently attended, and it blew me away. The school was really interested in training up the next generation of nurses/nurse practitioners to work together as opposed to compete against each other. For those of you who don’t know, college at times (depending on where you went), can be a dog eat dog kind of environment. I didn’t experience that as much at my school because I wasn’t even a contender to be top of my class, so there wasn’t really a point as an undergrad. However, there was a bit of that when I went to grad school. Now, we all worked together and learned to provide input to our work, but you could tell that there was some competition there. Thinking about people in general and the realms of professional school, that’s a mentality that I think creeps up a lot. However, at this info session, a professor mentioned and stressed how they train nurses to work together not against each other. I appreciated that a lot. Whether it’s true or not is a different story. But, that kind of impression and insight can help one choose which school they’d want to attend if they get accepted into more than one school. Insights like this always help me see what a school is like, whether they stick to their mission statement and values, and most of all, are interested and invested in the students they train beyond just tuition money.
- You get to check out the competition. Ok, so…sometimes you get to see who else applied to the same cohort as you. Call it competition, call it colleague, call it potential classmate, call it whatever you like. The thing is, as an applicant, anyone else who may have applied to the same cohort as you is competition for that potential spot that you want. What does that mean? Well? I guess it depends on what you want it to mean. For me, there was one person who I found out applied to the same cohort as I did (many were actually applying to the cohort after us), but it was clear that this one individual applied to the same cohort as I did, and you can tell that this person literally thought she was already in. Talk about confidence there! I came in having a bit of confidence knowing what an info session was like and I came out feeling doubty, maybe I’m just not as confident. It was funny honestly. Some people may think of it as threatening, but it’s just funny to me that this individual had such confidence.
It’s definitely not mandatory to go. A lot of times, if you get invited to an interview, you already get an opportunity to hear about the school in depth. In fact all the above applies to those who do get an interview, so it’s not necessary to go if you don’t want to. However, I do find many benefits to going to interviews whether you’re young (i.e. about to graduate or a recent post grad) or older.
I hope this helps for all you potential grad applicants. As an FYI, NursingCas opened last week (August 25, 2016). If you plan on applying for the upcoming application season, you can go on and do that now! Start early not later…trust me…early bird gets the worm (i.e. less mistakes, stress, and overall craziness).
See you guys!
PS: As an update on my grad school applications, I’m still waiting. 🙂 Hoping to hear soon on things (i.e. interviews, supplementals, etc). So, as I’m barely sitting tight in my seat…that’s where I’m at… .