{shortcode-6f134a1fee299be87991c5f79a5a17a237842bd7}We know that navigating Visitas, and even Harvard in general if you choose to come here down the line, can be daunting and confusing, especially now that everything is virtual. With that, Flyby presents words of advice about Virtual Visitas from some of Harvard’s very own faculty and students.

“My advice for admitted students is to interact with as many current students as possible. There are many ways to do this, including a number of student panels including the Diversity Peer Educators and Office of BGLTQ + student interns. Over 50 student organizations are organizing guest speakers, webinars, or other events to give students a glimpse of the breadth and depth of activity on campus. While we know that nothing can replace being on campus and seeing the energy within the remarkable student community, our students are eager to show the Class of 2024 what makes Harvard such a special place.”

— Katherine G. O’Dair, Dean of Students

“I can't imagine how challenging it is to try to choose a college without visiting. I know the main reason I chose Harvard was because of the time I spent on campus during Visitas. That being said, I think there are virtual ways to determine if it's the school for you. A lot of clubs and student orgs, my own included, have been putting a lot of info, photos, and testimonials on social media under #visitas2020, so I would recommend scrolling though that to see what kinds of clubs look fun. I would also recommend looking at all the digital resources Harvard has put out. Go through the online catalogue of the rare books at Houghton! Take a virtual tour of campus! Ask a current student what their favorite part of Harvard is! The most challenging thing about virtual visitas is you really have to put a lot in to get anything out, but I think it will still be a rewarding experience.”

— Jamie P. Ostmann ’21, History and Literature and Anthropology Concentrator

“A few weeks ago, right before the lockdown, I was in the Boston Amtrak station waiting for my train to New York and decided to get a latte (chai, to be specific). Just when I was walking off, the barista dropped a gem on me: "Where there is chaos, there's an opportunity." That has sat with me since, so I now share it with incoming students. As they prepare for the first-year fall at Harvard, I would encourage all students, but particularly my beloved FGLI community, to find the opportunity within what might seem like chaos. The game has changed. The terrain is different. While there is much to be mourned in this shift, there's also a great deal to gain. How can students leverage this moment? One way to do so is to leverage the open-access to Harvard they now have before even stepping foot on campus. Many Harvard entities (including my office, the Academic Resource Center) are flinging the doors wide open for virtual connections, beginning with Visitas and continuing into the summer. Virtual open doors offer the opportunity to get to know Harvard at a slower pace than is required in the fall! Unprecedented access, unprecedented opportunity! Leverage it! My second point is Harvard is a marathon, not a sprint: engage, but don't try to do everything this summer. Rest, restore, recharge, and get ready for the amazing journey that's about to begin!”

— Sade Abraham, ARC Academic Coach

“One way that prospective students can find out more about the libraries at Harvard is through some virtual Harvard Library Live sessions for prospective students this month. There are a few more sessions still to come, and admitted students should be able to see the details on the Admitted Students Virtual Visitas website. This session covers basics about what Harvard Library offers to students, and it also goes into some details about the First-Year Librarian Program, where first-year students are matched with a librarian for the academic year, to help them navigate the library services and spaces. Students can think of First-Year Librarians as their personal connection to HL, and they should feel comfortable asking their librarian any question, from simple to complex, as they arise throughout the year.”

— Anna C. Assogba and Molly McInerney, HFAS Research Librarians

“I suppose the only thing I would add would be to say to students don’t worry about messing this process up. That doesn’t mean students won’t feel at times that there are things they would have done differently if they had full knowledge going in, but that ‘full knowledge’ isn’t really possible when entering a totally new environment. My advice for the summer: try to enjoy learning about Harvard. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to understand everything — you’ll learn so much through experience!”

— Margaret C. Rennix, ARC Academic Coach