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A Visitor's Guide to Oberlin: Welcome to Admissions!

November 21, 2010

Welcome to part two of my four-part series!

Part one, planning your visit, can be found here.

In this section, I'll briefly describe official admissions activities so you can decide which ones are best for you!

First, though, a side note. I completely failed at actually doing a legitimate visit when I came to Oberlin. I came for my conservatory audition (keep an eye out for a post about this in the future) and then left. I did nothing. This is not a good way to get a feel for a campus. In fact, it is quite terrible. I don't recommend it. Do fun things! Meet exciting people! The more people you talk to, the better you can get to know a campus.

This post is divided into two sections: college admissions activities and conservatory admissions activities. I'll let you choose which ones are best for you based on your interests!

As always, make sure you check the campus visit calendar or call ahead to ensure that the activities in which you are interested are available on the days that you plan to visit.

College admissions: 800-622-6243/440-775-8411
Conservatory admissions: 440-775-8413

College admissions


  • Tour: Take a tour of Oberlin's campus with a current student. In the past, you could have toured with Aries, Helena, Brandi, or myself (among others), but now we have a newer staff of fantastic guides. They're awesome. You'll learn about everything from student life (ask about the smoothies in Decafé) to graduation requirements (9-9-9, anyone?) to housing options to random stories about Oberlin experiences (past and present). The best thing about our tours is that they are not scripted. Guides have to cover certain topics, but what they say and how they say it is completely up to them. Every tour guide has a slightly different tour that focuses on what they think makes Oberlin unique. I, for example, spend a significant time on fun historical stories. Tours don't require a reservation, but check the calendar for times.

  • Science Tour: If you're interested in the sciences, you should definitely take this tour. You'll get an insider's look into Oberlin's phenomenal science facilities. The tour is led by a student majoring in the sciences, so they'll be able to answer your more science-related questions. The science tour doesn't require a reservation and is usually offered on Fridays and Mondays, but, as always, check the calendar.

  • Information Session: Led by an admissions counselor, the information session discusses what makes Oberlin different from other liberal arts colleges. It will also cover the application process (the common app is your best friend) and financial aid. Information sessions do not require a reservation and are usually offered once per day. Check the calendar to see when it is being offered on the day you're planning to visit.

  • Interview: Interviews are not a required part of the admissions process, and not doing one won't hurt your application, but if you want to have an interview, it's a great way for you to showcase your personality and your interest in Oberlin. It's purely informational, so you don't have to come dressed nicely or with your résumé or transcript or anything like that. Do come with questions, though. Interviews must be set up in advance of your visit. To set up an interview, call the admissions office (800-622-6243/440-775-8411) and ask to speak with the Campus Visit Office. You may even talk to me!

  • Class visits: If you think you want to visit classes, a good place to start is the class schedule. Email the professor beforehand (all contact information for professors is on the website) to make sure that they're okay with visitors on the day you're planning to visit. A good rule of thumb is to stick to 100- and 200-level classes.

  • Overnight stay: Want to stay overnight in a dorm with a current student? Pro: lots of unfiltered access to all sorts of interesting people. Con: sleeping on the floor of a dorm room for a night (or is that a pro...). Overnight visits need to be set up at least two weeks in advance. To schedule an overnight stay, call the admissions office (800-622-6243/440-775-8411) and ask to speak with the Campus Visit Office.


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Conservatory admissions


  • Tour/information session: The conservatory combines its information session and tour. You'll learn about the admissions process and get to tour the conservatory's facilities. The conservatory offers its joint information session and tour at 11am and 3pm Monday through Friday. A reservation is required, so call the office (440-775-8413) to schedule your appointment. The tour is led by a current student, and they can tell you all about their experience as a conservatory (or double degree) student!

  • Lesson with a professor: If you know when you're planning on visiting campus and would like a lesson, email the professor (or professors) who teach your instrument! It isn't guaranteed that they'll be available, but contact them anyway. Most professors will go out of their way to make time for lessons for prospective students. Lessons are a great way to figure out whether or not you can work with a specific teacher for the next four years of your life.

  • Class visits: If you think you want to visit classes, a good place to start is the class schedule. Email the professor beforehand (all contact information for professors is on the website) to make sure that they're okay with visitors on the day you're planning to visit. A good rule of thumb is to stick to 100- and 200-level classes.

  • Overnight stay: All overnight stays are scheduled through the college's admissions office. They have to be scheduled two weeks in advance. Lots of conservatory and double-degree applicants think that staying overnight before their audition is a good idea. Please don't do this. You should be rested for your audition, and most people have so much fun that they don't get much sleep when they stay overnight. If you're visiting at another time, though, feel free to set up an overnight by calling the college's admissions office (800-622-6243/440-775-8411) and asking to speak with the Campus Visit Office.


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So, dear prospies, pick and choose which events will be best for you! As always, my best advice is to plan ahead. If you put preparation into planning your visit, odds are that your visit will be much more enjoyable than if you hadn't planned ahead.

Quote time!

"I came to Oberlin for college, and liked it so much that I still haven't left! I graduated from Oberlin in 2006 with a major in politics and a minor in computer science. Along the way I was very active in the co-op system on campus, took an assortment of exciting ExCos, and spent a semester studying abroad in Shanghai, China. After graduation, I volunteered for a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA, coordinating a tutoring program and working in a technology center. I joined the admissions staff here at Oberlin in August 2008, and I enjoy helping to bring the joys of an Oberlin education to a new wave of students each year." - Elizabeth Myers Houston, one of our amazing admissions counselors.

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