Oberlin Blogs

A Visitor's Guide to Oberlin: Planning Your Visit

November 18, 2010

Everyone loves to visit colleges. It helps you get a feel for a campus and a community, see if you'd be willing to spend four years of your life somewhere, and is generally fun. Since I work in the Campus Visit Office for the College of Arts and Sciences, I thought I would write a post on helpful tips for visiting Oberlin. Many other bloggers have blogged with advice for visiting campus. Read those blogs. I am by no means the expert on this topic. I do have a somewhat unique perspective, having worked three different student jobs in the Office of Admissions for the College of Arts and Sciences.

This will be the first part of a four-part series. This section is dedicated to planning your visit before arriving on campus. Part two will have more details on what you can do once you're on campus. Part three will be dedicated to helpful advice on how to get the most out of your tour and interview. Part four will have details on what you can do outside of an admissions office while on campus.

The important part about planning your visit is to actually plan your visit. Know what we offer beforehand and have a nice little schedule set up for yourself. It will make your visit approximately 5.6 million times more enjoyable. That's a rough estimate.

First, figure out what you're interested in. Are you looking at the College of Arts and Sciences? The Conservatory of Music? Both? Knowing this is important.

Now that you've established which option you're interested in, let me point you in the direction of our website. Oberlin's website is approximately 4.78 billion times more helpful than when I was a prospective student (again, a rough estimate) and contains SO much helpful information. Here are some links!

College of Arts and Sciences Campus Visit Page
Conservatory of Music Campus Visit Page

See! Helpful information. The College of Arts and Sciences (from this point on, referred to as "the college") has a handy dandy campus visit calendar that tells you exactly what our office offers each and every day. Make sure we're offering what you want when you're planning to visit!

So, that's step one. Well, steps one and two, actually. Onto step three!

I've taken the liberty of putting together tentative itineraries for your visit based on your interests. Please note that these times are not definite and your individual schedule will vary. It's really only to give you an idea of how much you can accomplish in a short period of time. I'll have more details on all of these options in parts two and three of this series.

Interested in the college
9am: Visit a class
10am: Tour campus
11:15am: Have an interview
11:45am: Have lunch on campus or downtown
12:30pm: Take a Science Tour (usually only on Fridays and Mondays - check the calendar! Also, only do this if you're interested in the sciences)
1:30pm: Attend an information session
2:30pm: Visit a class
3:30pm: Explore on your own (more on this in part 2!)
4:30pm: Meet your overnight host
6:00pm: Have dinner with your host
Evening: Attend awesome events on campus. Check out the events calendar!

Interested in the conservatory
9am: Visit a class
10am: Have a lesson with a professor (their visit page has more details on this)
11am: Attend an information session and take a tour of the Conservatory
12pm: Have lunch on campus or downtown
1:30pm: Visit a class/have a lesson
2:30pm: Explore on your own
4:30pm: Meet your overnight host (scheduled through the admissions office for the College)
6:00pm: Have dinner with your host
Evening: Attend awesome events on campus. Check out the events calendar!

Interested in both
9:00am: Have an interview in the college's admissions office.
10:00am: Tour the college
11:00am: Attend an information session and tour of the conservatory
12:00pm: Have lunch on campus or downtown
12:30pm: Take a science tour (usually only on Fridays and Mondays - check the calendar! Also, only do this if you're interested in the sciences)
1:30pm: Attend an information session for the college
2:30pm: Visit a class
3:30pm: Explore on your own
4:30pm: Meet your overnight host
6:00pm: Have dinner with your host
Evening: Attend awesome events on campus. Check out the events calendar!

I like schedules...can you tell? But see! There's time for pretty much everything! The beauty about knowing schedules beforehand is being able to plan. It's quite wonderful, really.

Now, I know that you probably have a billion questions about all of these options. Fear ye not! I will try to address most of them in part two. I'm dividing the parts of this post because, otherwise, it would go on forever and ever.

Part Two: While on campus...coming soon!

Oh! I need a quote. Hmm. This quote idea of mine clearly isn't catching on, but being stubborn, I shall continue it. How about this one?

"We're like the Island of Misfit Toys, but together we make a great toy chest." - Anonymous Oberlin Student

Read more from this author

Responses to this Entry

Awesome! Harry Potter was SO good at midnight! What did you think of it?

Posted by: Sara on November 19, 2010 6:59 PM

I wish this had been posted months ago! For people interested in both the Con and the College who don't have a few days to spend on campus, timetables like you propose are essential and require planning with little room for error or slippage. In my case, getting it worked out also took way more time than should be legal. This blog entry should be invaluable to future visitors -- until the schedules change.

I hope I'm not out of line in adding a couple alternatives worth considering:

If you're planning an overnight visit, you'll be on campus the next morning (unless things go horribly wrong) so that might be a preferable time to do the interview, not at the start of the first day before you've explored nothing that's not between your car and the Admissions Office reception desk. (Of course, depending on how good you are with maps and directions, that route could cover some considerable territory.)

The Conservatory also has afternoon tours that would end right about the time to meet your overnight host. That would encroach on the second class visit and "explore on your own" time (for people interested in both) but there are upsides to this. First, you may find that the afternoon Con tour/info session may be less crowded. There were a total of two Con prospects for our afternoon session while the morning session was apparently SRO. Your mileage may vary, of course. Second, putting off the Con tour from the morning allows for a more leisurely college tour with a reasonable amount of time to grab a burger or wrap at The Feve. In our case, the tour guide dropped off Con prospects at the Con for their tour/info session and we continued with the college tour. That's also when we had time on our tour to commune with the albino squirrels. It saddens me to think the people we dropped off didn't log time with the freakish white rodents.

Posted by: Jim on December 17, 2010 12:07 AM

@Jim: Your suggestions are quite excellent. Scheduling changes based on the time of year and whatnot, so that's why my timetables are suggestions only.

It sounds like you had a wonderful visit, which is great to hear. The albino squirrels are always a favorite of tour groups (and still, to this day, one of my favorite aspects of Oberlin-specific things).

Thanks so much for taking the time to write your comment. I'm sure that many will benefit from your experience!

Posted by: Patrick on December 17, 2010 12:19 AM

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