Online Fly-In Programs
CollegeAdvisor.com (formerly Bullseye Admissions) presents its webinar on Online Fly-In Programs in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A with a Bullseye advisor. Our presenter will share their insider perspectives on what to expect at in-person fly-in programs, program requirements and deadlines, and how programming has changed due to COVID-19. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2020-11-21 Online Fly-In Programs
[00:00:00] Thank you so much for everyone to everyone for joining this Bullseye web center on Fly-In Programs COVID-19. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab.
On the sidebar and in the public chat, you can download our slides in the handouts tab and you can start submitting questions in the Q and a tab. So we will dive into introductions. My name is Sophie and I am a recent graduate from Smith college. I graduated back in may. I received my BA in art history and archeology.
And my previous experience, I bring over three years in the Smith college admissions office. Orienting students and prospective families to the to the campus, giving tours interviews as have extensive museum internship and [00:01:00] college programming experience as well. But I’m very excited to talk about today’s topic because I’ve helped a few students at Bullseye through the application process for flying programs for this admission cycle.
And we did learn a lot along the way, and I’m excited to share our tips and tricks that we’ve picked up. I’m also joined by my colleague Teske. Who’s here too. So I’m here for tech support. Feel free to private message her, if you do have any tech issues along the way.
Okay. Jump in. So the first big question is of course, what are flying programs and this is really an institution’s response to accessibility issues. We all know that. The whole college process can be very expensive applying to college, visiting college, paying for college once you get there. So this is an institution’s response to leveling the playing field a bit and increasing accessibility for those with lower income backgrounds.
This is [00:02:00] usually a two to three-day program, fully funded by the college or university. That means transportation, housing, food programming. And we’ll talk them a little bit about what programming means and what you can get involved in. This is a great opportunity to speak with financial aid officers, sit in on classes, experience campus life, and these are usually the COBIT has impacted this onsite.
Overnight stays at the campus.
Who can participate in a flying program, as we’ve talked about, this is these are concerns with accessibility issues. So really improving access to higher education. For those who may be at a disadvantage is this for domestic residents within the United States. I’ve worked with a few international students who did think great COVID has made this a remote experience.
That means I can participate. That was not the case. All these colleges did really try to keep their their programming the same, even though it’s been [00:03:00] moved online and over zoom. So these are for residents within the U S is it for traditionally underrepresented groups and first-generation students or those who are the first in their family to pursue a college education.
Which schools offer flying programs. The short answer nanny. I’m a really good resource to keep in mind for those who are starting. Maybe this process junior is looking into flying programs at the fall of their senior year. Really good resource is college Greenlight, and they each year publish a list of colleges hosting, flying programs.
Usually these programs do not change year to year though. So if you are exploring a college website and are wondering if the information is outdated or anything like that, college website school, of course always keep their information up to date. But if you’ve seen that it’s been around for a few years, it probably hasn’t changed.
And this is a very long list just to demonstrate how many schools do you offer? They’re [00:04:00] quite common. This is not an exhaustive list, but schools do really try to promote the successability and make sure that students have the access to does it campus and really talk to students and professors and gain that insight experience.
What are the benefits of attending, applying program? As we’ve seen this as two to three days, it’s a big commitment interrupts your school day, your school week. So how is this a benefit to you? This is a great way to experience campus life even more than just a college visit, which tops will be two to three hours.
If you participate in an info session and maybe chat with an admissions officer and will only be. A couple of hours this will be 72 hours or less. But it’s quite an opportunity to just walk around the campus. Usually. We get to experience a lot of the the intangibles of being at a college campus, getting to [00:05:00] participate in extracurriculars and explore how your interests and your passions are demonstrated on that campus.
For example, if you are interested in improv and you want to. Sit in on improv group that is maybe practicing on Saturday night while you’re visiting, you can get in contact or you can have an admissions officer help you contact that group. And just join and say, Hey, I’d like to see how you practice, what kind of practicing you do, how I can be involved.
And if I enjoy being with you and experiencing this on a Saturday, You also get to meet current students hand in hand. And this of course has changed with COVID, but usually there is a lot of dedicated time to talking with current students quite thoroughly about how they’ve enjoyed their campus experience, what they’re up to, what they do outside of their academics and more.
And speaking with the financial aid officer is a big opportunity. And really quite a tasting because as you’re doing this college research, you’ll realize [00:06:00] that financial aid scholarships, it can be quite overwhelming, quite confusing, but actually speak one-on-one with an individual about what scholarship opportunities are available financial aid, how they can support you, how they can help you afford college is really important and a great one-on-one conversation too.
You can also speak with professors. If, while you’re at the campus, you say you’re interested in art history. You want to sit down on art history course seminar. You really get to see how conversation happens in the classroom. And if you enjoy being part of that conversation could be a really rewarding experience.
And also talking with the professor during their office hours after class. Understanding their research, what you could bring to help their research can be a very meaningful conversation. And this leads into the third point. This is a great way to show demonstrated interest and bulls-eye has some awesome webinars about demonstrated interest specifically.[00:07:00]
But just a quick overview. Demonstrated interest is the likelihood from a college’s perspective that you will accept an acceptance letter. And this is done through going on info sessions, chats with students engaging and researching the college thoroughly. The college will record this information and the way you reflect on it can be quite powerful.
So say you attend to fly in program in September. You then write about that experience. Yeah, for your regular decision or early decision to application essays. And you say, I was convinced that I wanted to go to Smith college, but once I sat down and talked with this professor about the research opportunities that they were interested in, they introduced me to the labs, the facilities, the equipment that I could utilize during my time there.
That’s what really made me excited to go. That makes a very strong essay. Make your application stand apart from [00:08:00] others, usually. Most flying programs, if you are accepted your regular decision application fee is waived. Some colleges do offer to even if you are not accepted to their flying program, that application fee is waived as well.
So there’s a few monetary incentives for going on this program that can help make college more affordable.
What is the application process? The first point is very important for any part of your application process, but research definitely look into which colleges of course offered flying programs. Make sure that the flying programs you want to attend are your top schools. You’re really interested in them.
You want to dig deeper the website and the resources that you have found so far are just not yet. You want to talk individually with professors or faculty on the campus? And a lot of students think that [00:09:00] because the flying programs have gone one mode that they can sign up for 10 of them. It’s okay.
It’s all on zoom. I can manage my time. The answer is no, you really should only apply to one, two tops, three flying programs. Because even online, they’re quite time consuming. You’ll be on zoom all day. They can be tiring. And it’s really to show your interest in one or two colleges that you’re very interested in going to the second point, understanding deadlines.
These are earlier deadlines than a lot of students realize. They’re usually between August to September though. Often they can be earlier than that. So the summer before your senior year, you have to have a really solid list of schools that you’re interested in applying to had done considerable research and not to choose two or three to apply for fine program and really be committed to experiencing all that you can during that [00:10:00] program.
So it’s good to start this process always, no matter what you’re doing, but to start it as early as possible. Some of the material that you’ll have to submit along with your application is an unofficial high school transcript. This is very important. Some schools make it very easy for students to download a copy of their unofficial transcript, but if your school does not, and you need to speak with your guidance counselor before to gain access to him, make sure you plan ahead.
Don’t do this tonight, the night before the application. You want to make sure that you can attach it to the application very easily. The next important part of the application is your statement of purpose. And this comes out in a variety of ways. It’s either answering a few questions or a longer prompt but you, there is a writing component to it in some way.
And we’ll go over a few examples a little bit later, the next important thing, and this has changed with COVID. We’ll talk about that soon. Your test scores. [00:11:00] Sometimes that can be your PSVT test scores, or if you have been able to take the sat or act submitting, those scores will be in. And then there’s also extra information that the college new required letters of recommendation are usually a big part of the application that some schools don’t require what is a breath all the time, or they may have a different component, like an elevator pitch recording, but you have to submit where you can’t repeat information.
You’ve already written about in your statement of purpose but just shows them more personal sides to your narrative. And a little bit more of a creative way, but not every school requires that.
And so let’s look at an example and I chose Smith college, my Alma mater, because I’ve worked with quite a few students to help them through this process and give some insight. But Smith colleges flying program is called women of distinction program. So that’s an important thing to [00:12:00] note, not every college will call their flying program, a flying program.
So if you’re doing research on your college, you’re not seeing the words flying in. You think they may not have a program, do a bit more research, contact the admissions officer with the admissions office and double check that they don’t have a specific program, just under a different name. But this opportunity is extended for African-American Asian-American Latina and native American high school seniors.
Very important to know who they are offering of us and extending this opportunity to during the day students time on campus, they’ll attend panels and workshops on student life and really understand the admissions process. That’s really nice. It’s a little bit of handholding through the admissions process, which can be quite intimidating for students.
So to have someone sit down with you show every element of the occupation process essays to when to to when to apply can be quite nice. And of course, that financial aid [00:13:00] aspect as well is very important. The Smith college program is a three-day program, so it’s on the longer side. That’s always good to, to know, and to prepare for, you will have to plan with your teachers or your school to let them know that you will be absent for one or two days, depending on when they have this.
Usually flying programs. We’ll try to center it around a weekend. So usually Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday, not to give you those two days where you don’t have to worry about missing school. Smith college. And this is from their website. Their acceptance to their flying program is based on personal and academic qualities.
And preference will be given to students who have not visited campus before. There’s a lot that we can take from this one sentence that may help your application the way that we target and approach your application. But they’re looking not only for your academic strengths to know that you have a good [00:14:00] GPA, great test scores, great letters of rep, but also that you have that you share personal stories and qualities that make you a prime candidate for attending this opportunity.
And we’ll go into this more. When we look through specific questions. But the third part too, is very important. This is for students who have not had the opportunity to visit campus before always be, always make sure to carefully read the website and the information that they provide to ensure that you qualify for this program.
You don’t want to finally submit your application and receive a rejection, say, oh no, I wrote really good essays. I spent a long time and then realized there was just that. Some detail that you missed that made you before they even looked at your essays, they disqualified you. Always very important to know the application material, but you have to submit your high school transcript, essay, and short answer [00:15:00] section and a list of your senior year courses.
So high school transcript, we’ve talked about that. These essays and short answers. So there is a significant writing portion to this. You’re asked questions about your personal and academic qualities, what you bring to campus, et cetera, but a list of your senior courses is very important. It shows that you are from your high school transcripts, they can see what you’re taking your junior year.
They want to know that you are. Pushing yourself academically, your senior year. You’re not giving up. You’re not senior-itis, isn’t hitting too much and you’re not getting rid of all your AP courses that you’re heavily invested in your academic work. And you’re continuing that Smith has a lot of great undergraduate research opportunities.
So they like to see students who are committed to gaining a good foundation of knowledge before jumping into research during undergrad. So there’s a lot of important information in these websites and the overview of what they [00:16:00] require their Smith college’s application is due very early. Students are notified by the end of July if they’re accepted to the program.
So they have to submit, and the date varies year to year, but late June or early July, that’s quite early in the college application process and really shows that you’ve done a ton of research your junior year. No, which colleges you want to investigate a little bit more and that you’ve put in significant work behind the scenes.
The Smith program is usually, or at least for this year, it was offered October 22nd through October 24th. Most flying programs are offered in October some in November, but it’s really trying to introduce you to campus life before early decision and early action deadlines are due early November. So it’s your last hurrah of demonstrated interest for those applications.
Wanted to look [00:17:00] at a few questions that are on the application that you’re expected to answer. And this is for habit for college outside of Philadelphia. Question one asks, please explain why you were considering Haverford college. What specific aspects of Haverford interests you. And the really important thing to notice right here is the 150 word limit that you have.
That’s not a lot of space to write about a lot of information that you can fit in. This means that your writing has to be concise. And to the point, a lot of students that when they’re first writing college essays, they repeat the question back in the first line. They’ll say, I am considering him for college.
Get rid of that is wasted space of 150 words of the precious 150 words that you have jumped right into the details. Show them that you’ve researched. You’ve gone deep into their website, that you know why you’re excited. Say for example, you are interested in [00:18:00] psychology and you look at their psychology department website and have referred you then have to go and investigate their internship opportunities, research opportunities.
Labs find a professor that your reach or whose research is very interesting to you. Try to see if you can see what classes they’re teaching, and if you can even find their syllabus online, that’s a ton of research and we’ll give you a lot of specifics that probably will excite you. If you’re interested in psychology or any discipline that will give you a lot of details to include right away, you can name, drop the lab.
You can name, drop the professor. You can talk about. Your interest in understanding dreams. You want to approach it from a scientific lens, but also maybe a philosophical and a psychological lens as well. So you can show your interest immediately, but then there’s also the second part of the question.
What specific aspects of how referred interest you and [00:19:00] know that this is not always about Africans? Perhaps you really enjoy the psychology lab, but you also love their study abroad. A very specific study abroad opportunity that they have, or a partnership with a museum Smith college has a partnership with the Smithsonian.
If you dig very deep into the website, you’ll find it. And that would be a good detail to include, to show that you’ve done extensive research all while keeping it within 150 words, which can be difficult. Question two asks, describe your personal background and how your background will influence the kind of college community member you expect to be.
You’re given a few more words, 250 words. There’s really important information to tease out of this and map out your essays. Make sure you pick apart the question to understand exactly what they’re asking. The first part is, describe your personal [00:20:00] background. What about you? Can they not see on your transcript?
They know which AP courses you’re taking. They know your grades. They know you’re an awesome student, but what do they not know about you from that transcript a ton. Maybe you love music. Maybe you all during high school had to work at a job. You had to work as a dishwasher. It’s a really annoying job.
But the thing that got you through it was putting on your headphones and listening to you. You love music so much. That’s a really important part of your identity. It touches on your personal background, your socioeconomic background, and then you can transition that into the second part of the question, how your background will influence the kind of college community member you expect to be.
You maybe want to take music and give it to everyone. You want to create a very cohesive community around. Perhaps, you never had the opportunity to play an [00:21:00] instrument. You is just love listening to it. So maybe you join with the student government and create a panel discussion with just students about their favorite music or something about pop or rock or something that you really enjoy that ties in with that personal background detail that you get.
You really want this to be a compelling story about you? How you stand out as an individual, because just like regular decision applications, just like early decision applications. These admissions officers are reading hundreds. If not thousands of applications, how do you stand out to them? In 250 words, being personal, giving lots of details.
We’ll always it. Question three. Is there anything else you would like us to know as we evaluate your application? And sometimes this makes students very nervous. What do they talk about? What is this question actually getting at? Take it in way at face value. [00:22:00] What were you unable to answer in question one?
And question two, because the question wasn’t specific enough, or you had this extra story that you want to share. Think about it as making your case, you are still trying to give personal details. You want to stand apart from other applicants, showing your personality, your interests outside of the classroom.
Things that can’t be recorded on your academic transcript are often great details to include and really build a strong case for why they should accept you.
Then the question are all flying programs. The same as we just saw with the college. No, they’re not. So college is a historically all women’s college. So if you don’t identify as a woman, you won’t be accepted. Columbia university offers a flying program that is just focused around engineering. So if you are wanting to humanities or the [00:23:00] arts or psychology, then you won’t be accepted because that’s just not the right program for you.
Dartmouth college offers two flying programs. One is called the indigenous climb program and the other is called Dartmouth bound. The indigenous plain program requires that you have a demonstrated interest in native community or native American studies. The Dartmouth bound program is more of the traditional fly-in program that we think of it’s targeted for high school seniors from under-representative backgrounds over the summer.
So they’re there. We already see two differences and two timelines to keep in mind. The Dartmouth bound opportunity is over the summer. So the deadline and due date for your application is much, much earlier than most other flying programs. MIT their flying program is called wise weekend immersion in science and engineering.
So this is just to show that a lot of schools or some [00:24:00] schools will have very targeted flying programs either to a discipline or a background. And it’s good to be aware of that and do your research beforehand, just to understand if you qualify, how to approach the application and if it’s the right fit for you.
So now the big question, how has COVID changed client program? And the most obvious is that everything has been made remote and over zoom, and that makes students believe great. I can apply to as many of these as I want. We’ll just spread them out and make sure maybe some crossover the same days. That’s totally fine.
I’ll make it. Of course we’re in the midst of COVID right now. And this 2020 flying program application cycle was remote. It may not be when you apply in this over the summer or for the fall, it may be who knows.[00:25:00] But it’s always good to know. Don’t overbook yourself with any kind of programming that school offers.
They’re very time consuming. That you don’t want your grades to be impacted your senior year is a really important time for you to have strong grades, to show that you’re finishing off your four years really strong and to not overbook with extra they’re really awesome opportunities. And you want to be invested in the one or two that you go to most likely, just one.
Even that’s online. Even though they’re hosted remotely and over zoom can be very exhausting. And you want to make sure that you’re present for every interaction with an admissions officer, financial aid expert or or a professor. Most of the programs have gone test optional. They realize that students may not have had the opportunity to take the act or sat.
So that’s a big change across the board. But you still have the opportunity to audit a class that interests you [00:26:00] probably even more opportunity say your program is Friday to Sunday, but this really awesome math class is on Tuesday. Really wanted to sit on it, reach out to the admissions officer or whoever is part of your flying program team.
Ask if you could be connected with that professor and sit in on their class, even if it’s on Tuesday. There’s a little bit more flexibility there and they’ll make it work. You will, of course still have the opportunity to attend a lecture series hosted by the college or any webinars or programming that they have.
Your, these programs, even though they’ve been moved online, the schools have been really good at making sure that programming is still accessible across the board. Make sure to talk to professors about their research. Many professors, even the classes online have created remote office hours.
You could drop in, you could email them asking if they have time soon to chat about their research and to chat about what their classes look [00:27:00] like, their seminars, their lectures, how that works. You can still interview with a member of the admission staff. Often with the applied programs. There’s an interview component.
It’s not as high stakes. I think as students think, you think, oh no, this is my, make it or break it moment. It’s a great way for them to ask questions to you. You task questions to them. It’s just getting to know the school more. And to get to know you a bit more too, it’s a really great opportunity for them to know you and to put a face to your application, which is really important.
You can still join current student Q and A’s get to learn what campus life is like from students, even though you can’t. I think it’s really important to know that even though these, this programming has been moved online, they still, this is not a student Q and a, or an info session open to just anyone don’t make it specialized for the participants in the fly-in programs, make it more engaging more [00:28:00] one-on-one so you won’t lose sight of that.
It will just be hosted over zoom or online in some cases. And some colleges have made this clear in their website. They will attempt to cover flights, transportation, and housing in the spring. So a lot of students may have attended a remote client program during October. They got to sit on all these lectures and talk with admissions officers, but there is still a plan or a hope that they’ll come back in the spring and be able to offer them a similar situation.
Probably by then, they’ll know if they’ve been accepted. So if they’re not ed, it’s a good chance for the student to understand. Great. I have a couple of options to choose from. Let me actually look at the campus and see if I enjoy talking to the students or enjoy campus life and the town around it.
So there still is that potential opportunity as well. [00:29:00] Awesome. So that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful and remember that you can download the slides in the handouts tab or from the link in the public chat, moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through the questions you submitted in the Q and a tab, paste them into the public chat so you can see and then read them out loud before giving you an answer as a heads up.
If your QA tab, isn’t letting you submit questions. Just double check the can that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email these months, your students emails, not from the webinar landing page.
So just gonna give you a few minutes to look through
And as you guys are thinking a couple of questions that students I worked with while they applied a [00:30:00] big one, was if I’m accepted to a fly in program, does that increase my chances of of acceptance for regular decision or early action? A lot of students have that preconceived notion as they’re going in, they say, great, I’ve been accepted.
I’d really, don’t have to worry about my acceptance or regular decision later on as with anything in the application process, nothing is guaranteed. Always do your research and look and see if your, the median test scores and GPA for students accepted to that school. If those matched with your own.
That’s the best indicator to see a, if you’ll be accepted to these fine programs or if you’ll be accepted regular decision, early decision or early action. If you are accepted to a flying program, of course it looks awesome. And you’re definitely a student of interest to them. You’re a very competitive applicant, but it’s not a guarantee that you will be accepted [00:31:00] regular decision.
So that’s a good one to keep in mind, but it is an awesome accomplishment and it’s really a great opportunity.
So one question that I can see, I’m just going to copy it over. And that is they’re all students offered opportunity predefined program. And, the big component of this is that there is an application involved. You do have to submit your letters of breath, your your essays. But once you are accepted to the fly-in program, then you do, your transportation is covered and then you do get to to go to that campus or go to their promote offering.
I see [00:32:00] another question here. At what time do students get offered? Fly-ins so this goes back to this is a much earlier deadline than often students realize. So you will probably submit your application early to late summer before your senior year. And then most likely most colleges let you know by September early September, because they want to give you enough opportunity and time to talk to your teachers to make arrangements.
So you can understand what coursework is required of you if tests are the weekend or the Monday right after. So they usually tell you early September for an October program, a few colleges will offer these in November. But it’s pretty rare because they recognize that this is probably targeting students who have done a ton of research and we’ll apply early decision or early action.
So they want to [00:33:00] make sure that they give you enough time to to experience the college. Take it all in everything that you’ve learned. And then hopefully for the college apply early decision or early action. So that’ll usually be September that you heard.
awesome. So we’re part way through the Q and a and as a quick break, I want to let you know what you can do. After this webinar, if you want to get help on your college apps for me or any of our other, both sides, advisers bowls, I has two advising plans, the starter plan and the scholar plan. They’re both monthly subscriptions, where you get matched with an advisor of your choice and you get one or two hours of one-on-one advising each month as advisors we’ll work with you on your college essays, choosing schools, interviews, and a ton [00:34:00] warm.
I’m sending everyone at this panel, a link to get started. The offer links to our page to sign up and get started. Our students at Bullseye have had a ton of success with an advisor. This past admission season. We had Bullseye clients get into all the IVs and every top 25 school in the country. Our clients rate us 9.8 out of 10, and that’s because advisors put a ton of care into working with you.
One-on-one through every step of your application process. If you want to discuss one-on-one time with me, this is a great chance to work.
Awesome. So just heading back to the QA and I can see another question
And this is in what circumstances are flying in flying programs issued. And so [00:35:00] the way I’m interpreting this question is sort of application process If it’s adaptable to online learning, and if they can actually support that over zoom and from everything that I’ve seen, absolutely. A ton of colleges have been able to support flying programs of resume.
They’ve done an awesome job with it. Really a ton of colleges have done amazing work that their virtual tours of campus. But the flying programs have done an awesome job in adapting. So you’re making sure that the students feel there is a structure to the schedule to making sure that there’s a a cohesive plan that they feel they’re getting their answers questions that their questions to answer it.
And I think the biggest component of the flying program is talking with that financial aid officer and really getting to know what scholarships are out there to make sure you don’t miss deadlines. That’s been the couple of students that I’ve helped through the flying program application process, they reported, it [00:36:00] was an awesome experience.
They learned about scholarship opportunities that perhaps were not as easy to find through a quick glance, the website and really walked through, fastest CSS profile, all of that, but also just the different support opportunities that are there at the college. So it sounded like it went really well.
Colleges adapted really quickly to make sure that could happen. Awesome. So let’s see, not seeing any other questions, but so that is the end of the webinar. I had a really great time telling you about flying program. I hope this webinar was helpful to you and you feel more prepared with your college applications.
So here’s just a little more information about me. If you did miss it. My name is Sophie and recent graduate from Smith college. Got my BA in art history and archeology, and really have worked with a ton of amazing students with Bullseye[00:37:00] to navigate all the intricacies of this process, which can be very daunting.
Our next webinar is tomorrow on Sunday. This will be a webinar about what to do after you’ve submitted your applications. So this is, really for seniors who are feeling a bit stressed about what do I do now. But really an awesome webinar for juniors to see the timeline that is involved in all of this work.
It doesn’t just end November 1st. It doesn’t and January 1st. So there’s awesome work that can still be done. Along with that. We also have our entire November series listed here and also on the website. You’ll get redirected to when you leave the session, but thank you so much for coming out to tonight’s session.
I hope you all stay safe and good luck in your applications. Thanks so much.