Visitas Draws Admitted Students to Campus Just Days Before Commitment Deadline


Hundreds of accepted students flooded campus Saturday through Monday for Visitas, the College's annual weekend of programming for admitted students.

The weekend opened with an address from University President Lawrence S. Bacow on Saturday afternoon to welcome admitted students. Earlier in the day, admitted students milled about Harvard Square and went on tours of campus, labs, and libraries. Many also watched the annual Institute of Politics debate.

Most prospective students stayed with current students in freshman dorms and upperclassman houses.

Sanjana Singh, an admitted student from Northern Virginia, said one of her favorite parts of the weekend was meeting her host.


“She was really approachable and really helped me learn about the really good parts of Harvard you don’t get introduced to just on tours,” Singh said. “I really learned a lot and it made me really like Harvard.”

For other students, housing wasn’t a highlight of the weekend.

“I woke up on the first morning and saw a centipede on the floor,” Troy Powell, an admitted student from New Jersey, said. “I didn’t sleep easy the second night.”

One popular event was the annual ‘Visitas Palooza,’ a two-hour show featuring student performances. Singh said The Harvard Undergraduate Drummers’ performance was “really cool.”

On Sunday afternoon, crowds of admitted students attended the activities fair in the Student Organization Center at Hilles. More than 100 student organizations set up booths for the fair held each year and did their best to court prospective students.

“The extracurricular fair was great,” Gia-Han Le, an admitted student from Massachusetts, said. “I think it was definitely an explosion of Harvard.”

Richard K. Darkwa, another admitted student from Massachusetts, said he thought the event was "very chaotic.”

“I didn’t think there was that much of a variety, either,” he said of the clubs represented at the fair. “I saw a lot of politics, a lot of music stuff. It was overwhelming.”

Darkwa said the most informative event of the weekend was a panel of current students and faculty entitled "What It’s Like to Be a First Year."

For Le, her high point of the weekend was ‘Visitas Thinks Big,’ where four faculty members shared presentations about their scholarship.

“They were all very amazing and personable and they each had a different aspect. You could tell they thought big, just in different ways,” she said. “It gave me a glimpse into what Harvard had to offer.”

Other academic programming included open houses with various concentrations, as well as opportunities for admitted students to attend classes on Monday.

Admitted students have until Wednesday to inform the College of their decision whether or not to attend Harvard.

Le called the choice to hold Visitas so close to the national deadline of May 1 a “power move.”

“I’m freaking out,” Singh added. “I just want more time.”

—Staff Writer Camille G. Caldera can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @camille_caldera.