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    Top 25 Colleges with Fly-in and Diversity Programs

    By Cece Gilmore

    Cece Gilmore is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cece earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Arizona State University. While at ASU, she was the education editor as well as a published staff reporter at Downtown Devil. Cece was also the co-host of her own radio show on Blaze Radio ASU.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Posted: January 29th, 2024
    Top 25 Colleges with Fly-in and Diversity Programs

    Are you concerned about not being able to afford to visit a far-away college? Luckily, many colleges and universities offer fly-in and diversity programs to students just like you. These programs provide students who are financially unable to visit campus a fully-funded college visit experience. Read more to learn about these amazing opportunities! 

    What is a fly-in and diversity program? 

    A fly-in and diversity program is typically a highly-competitive and fully-funded campus visit for prospective students. Most of these students are from underrepresented communities or could not otherwise afford to visit campus. Typically, participants stay on campus for two to three days either in a paid hotel or with a current student in the dorms. The visiting student will attend various events to gain a good understanding of student life. Additionally, there is a focus on preparing these program participants for the financial aid and college admissions process. Students are invited to panels and workshops with current financial aid officers and college admissions staff. 

    Also see: Top questions to ask on a college campus visit

    What are the requirements for a fly-in and diversity program? 

    Most fly-in and diversity programs are extremely competitive as they offer a variety of perks for accepted students. Therefore, make sure you are submitting all requirements by the deadline. 

    Most programs require the following from students applying: 

    • Be a high school senior residing in the US
    • Complete an application
    • Submit a short essay 
    • Submit a transcript
    • Submit a list of intended senior classes

    Always make sure to double check your intended institution’s requirements to ensure you have submitted the right materials. 

    Related: How to stand out as a college applicant

    How was this list created? 

    This list was created based on Scholarships360’s top colleges for students in 2024 by selecting institutions from this list who offer a fly-in and diversity program. 

    Amherst College

    Location: Amherst, MA

    Amherst College hosts a program called Access to Amherst (A2A) which introduces prospective students to Amherst’s campus student body, faculty and classes. Priority is given to students from marginalized communities and those who may not be able to visit campus on their own. Students selected for this program will receive 100% of round-trip transportation costs, such as airline, bus, or train. Additionally, a fee waiver for Amherst is provided to all students who attend A2A. 

    Bates College

    Location: Lewiston, ME

    Bates College offers the Prologue to Bates program, an engaging few days learning about tips for the college admissions and financial aid process. All rising seniors are welcomed to apply, including students from groups that have been historically underrepresented. Prologue provides meals, lodging, and transportation to the Bates campus for any student requiring financial assistance. 

    Bowdoin College

    Location: Brunswick, ME

    Bowdoin College offers low-income and/or first generation students the opportunity to attend Explore Bowdoin. Explore Bowdoin provides students with an all-expenses paid trip to spend two days on Bowdoin’s campus. 

    Carleton College

    Location: Northfield, MN 

    Taste of Carleton (TOC) is an all-expenses paid program for high school seniors. The TOC selection committee grants priority to students from traditionally underrepresented communities. While on campus, students will learn more about Carleton from an admissions officer, attend a class and convocation, and get any questions answered by current Carleton students during a panel discussion. 

    Claremont McKenna College

    Location: Claremont, CA 

    Claremont McKenna offers the CMC Fly-In Program, which is an all-expenses paid trip for students from historically underrepresented communities. The program provides students with an overview of the campus and programs offered. Students who are accepted into the program will have transportation, housing, and meals completely covered. Additionally, all participants receive a fee waiver for their first-year application. 

    Colgate University

    Location: Hamilton, NY

    Colgate in Focus (CIF) grants prospective students the chance to engage with current students and staff in order to better understand the diversity in Colgate’s student life. CIF offers a series of online summer webinars that covers various Colgate-related topics as well as an all-expenses paid trip to Colgate’s campus for a student and one parent or guardian. 

    College of the Holy Cross

    Location: Worcester, MA 

    Holy Cross offers students from close by and farther away to visit Holy Cross’s campus and gain valuable insight into the admissions process and campus community. For students who reside in Connecticut, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island, bus or train tickets are provided for a day visit. Keep in mind that if a student chooses to drive, gas mileage cannot be reimbursed. For students who reside further away from campus, an overnight stay is provided through a grant that covers airfare, bus, or train ticket and the cost of the hotel. Meals will be provided through the event for all students regardless of where they reside. 

    Dartmouth College

    Location: Hanover, NH 

    Dartmouth offers an Indigenous Fly-In program for rising seniors who identify as Indigenous or have demonstrated an interest in the Indigenous community or Dartmouth’s Indigenous Studies Department. During the program, students take a tour of Dartmouth’s facilities as well as attend workshops and hear from experts about the student experience. Additionally, there will be a closing dinner for participants to mingle with mentors, admissions staff, and faculty in order to reflect on what has been learned from the program. 

    Davidson College

    Location: Davidson, NC 

    Access Davidson is a selective program designed for high school seniors who come from historically underrepresented backgrounds. Davidson covers the cost of transportation to and from campus, meals, and overnight accommodations. During this program, prospective students  learn about diversity happening on campus, hear from student organizations, connect with admission and financial aid officers, and attend a class. 

    Emory University

    Location: Atlanta, GA

    Emory LEADs Experience provides high school seniors interested in learning about Emory University and the college application process. However, sessions are designed to support first-generation and underrepresented students as they navigate through the admissions process. Through this program, students will gain a clearer understanding of the steps and timeline associated with the college application process. 

    Grinnell College

    Location: Grinnell, IA 

    Grinnell College offers a virtual Grinnell Diversity Preview Program for high school seniors who come from underrepresented backgrounds. This program will give students a broad overview of the Grinnell College experience and what student life is like. 

    Hamilton College

    Location: Clinton, NY

    Home at Hamilton is a program designed for high school seniors who need assistance visiting Hamilton. The program is a two-day campus experience which provides participants the opportunity to ask questions to current students and staff. Students learn about resources available as they gain a  better understanding of what life is like at Hamilton. All participating students receive overnight accommodations and their transportation costs will be covered. 

    Haverford College

    Location: Haverford, PA 

    Haverford’s Have-a-Look Program is geared for underrepresented high school seniors who want to learn more about Haverford’s social and academic scene. Participants will chat with current Haverford students, explore the campus, interact with faculty, and learn about the diversity and community found at Haverford. 

    Johns Hopkins University

    Location: Baltimore, MD 

    Johns Hopkins University offers a Hop-In Summer Program, a five-week program that allows low-income and first-generation students to experience the academic and social life at Johns Hopkins. All participants are matched with an upper-class peer mentor and offered opportunities to interact with faculty.  

    Lehigh University

    Location: Bethlehem, PA

    Lehigh allows select diverse high school seniors to immerse themselves in Lehigh for two days through a fully-funded program called the Diverse Achievers Program. During the weekend, participants will be able to connect with current students, explore academic opportunities, and enjoy fun activities and meals. 

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

    WISE is a three-day program for rising seniors that allows them to get a feel for being an MIT student. Participants stay on campus with a current MIT student to learn about life on campus firsthand. Additionally, participants attend workshops hosted by college admissions and financial aid staff. The cost of transportation to and from campus is completely covered by MIT. 

    Middlebury College

    Location: Middlebury, VT

    The Discover Middlebury Program is offered to prospective high school seniors who would not otherwise have the financial resources to visit campus. During this visit, participants have the opportunity to explore every aspect of college life at Middlebury through workshops, conversations with students and staff, and lots of fun activities (including a special fall-themed dinner!)

    Pomona College

    Location: Claremont, California

    Perspectives on Pomona (POP) is open to all eligible high school seniors with a focus on helping students from underrepresented groups. This includes first-generation or low-income students and those from marginalized communities. Through POP, students can learn directly from Pomona professors, talk with current students, and gain an overall feel for campus life at Pomona College. 

    Swarthmore College

    Location: Swarthmore, PA 

    High-achieving seniors are invited to visit Swarthmore College during an all-expenses paid overnight program called Discover Swarthmore. Participants will experience Swarthmore as college students by attending classes, staying with current students in dorms, and attending campus events. All applicants to Discover Swarthmore will receive an application fee waiver and the option to use their Discover Swarthmore essay to replace their Swarthmore supplemental essay. While all high achieving can apply to attend Discover Swarthmore, first generation and low-income students have priority.

    Tufts University

    Location: Boston, MA 

    Voices of Tufts Diversity Experience is a two-day program that introduces high school seniors to the diversity of Tufts. Participants will talk with current students and staff as they learn how to navigate the college admissions process. Tufts arranges for transportation at no cost for attendees, who will have the application fee waived if they apply to Tufts.

    University of Rochester

    Location: Rochester, NY

    The Multicultural Visitation Program (MVP) offers a funded campus visit for prospective students from a wide range of backgrounds. Prospective students accepted to MVP receive free travel to and from Rochester, invites to special events on campus, and a one-night stay with a current student in a residence hall. 

    Washington and Lee University

    Location: Lexington, VA 

    The Diversity and Inclusion Visit Experience (DIVE) program is a three-day program designed for prospective students to get the Washington and Lee college experience. During this program, DIVErs will stay in dorms with current students, attend classes, eat in the dining hall, and explore the many student organizations at Washington and Lee University. . 

    Wellesley College

    Location: Wellesley, MA 

    Wellesley College provides interested students with the opportunity to visit Wellesley with a travel grant that covers the cost of transportation, meals, and housing costs. The Discover Wellesley Weekend Program is for students who come from underrepresented cultural backgrounds who wish to visit campus. Note: For 2024, the in-person program is being replaced by VOICE—a virtual college access program which runs from October 1-2 for students from underrepresented backgrounds. 

    Wesleyan University

    Location: Middletown, CT

    WesExplore offers high school seniors from underrepresented communities the opportunity to visit Wesleyan’s campus for free. During this program experience, participants will be able to stay in a dorm with a student, take a campus tour, visit classes, attend various workshops, and get a good idea of what life is like as a student at Wesleyan. 

    Williams College

    Location: Williamstown, MA 

    High school seniors have the opportunity to spend three fully-funded days at Williams through the Windows on Williams (WOW) Program. WOW participants stay in dorms with current students, attend classes, and meet with professors. Preference to attend is given to high-achieving students who couldn’t otherwise afford to visit Williams.

    Final thoughts and additional resources

    Remember, this is just the start of the list of colleges and universities that offer fly-in and diversity programs. Make sure you do your research! Scholarships360 has a wealth of resources, including guides on how to start a scholarship essay, how to write an essay about yourself, and how to use your essay to show rather than tell. We can also help you tailor your essay to 250 or 500 word limits. When it comes time to choose a college, we can help there too. Learn how and when to fill out the FAFSA and all about student loans (which should always be last on your list to finance your education). Make sure you take the time to apply for all the scholarships you qualify for while you are eligible!

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    Frequently asked questions about college fly-in programs

    Can fly-in programs improve my chances of admission?

    No. Participating in a fly-in program does not guarantee admission but it can demonstrate a genuine interest in the college. Additionally, some fly-in programs provide participants with an application fee waiver which can help you improve your chances of admission if you could not afford to apply to the school prior.

    Are there any costs associated with fly-in programs?

    Generally, fly-in programs will cover the cost of transportation to and from the university, accommodation and meals during the visit. However, some programs may offer more and some may offer less. Therefore, it is crucial to research the program to determine if the perks match your financial needs.

    Who is eligible for fly-in programs?

    Eligibility criteria will vary by college, but many fly-in programs aim to select students from underrepresented backgrounds, low-income families and those who would be first generation college students.

    How can I find colleges with fly-in programs?

    This guide is a great place to start! However, if a particular school is not on this list, check the website of the institution. You can also reach out directly to the college admissions offices for information regarding fly-in or similar programs. 

    Can I participate in multiple fly-in programs for multiple schools?

    Yes! There is no limit to the number of fly-in programs you can attend. However, you need to be mindful of the dates of programs to ensure there are no overlapping dates.

    Are there virtual alternatives to on-campus fly-in programs?

    Some colleges have introduced virtual alternatives to on-campus fly-in programs. A virtual fly-in program may include an online campus tour, virtual meetings with student and faculty and information sessions. Additionally, some college websites offer virtual tours and produce videos of campus to allow prospective students to gain a good understanding of their campus.

    Can I use my fly-in program experience in my college application essays?

    Yes! This is a great opportunity to highlight your dedication to the school as well as how valuable of an experience the program was for you. Reflect on how the program went and what you learned in order to write a successful college application essay.

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