Here’s a college visits tip for you: Do the smile test! What’s the smile test, you ask? It’s quite simple! When visiting colleges, smile at students as you pass them on the lawn, in the dining halls, and in lecture halls. Give them a full, ear-to-ear smile. Then, see if they smile back at you. In our experience, we’ve found that students tend to smile when they’re happy at the college they attend. At schools with higher transfer rates, many students tend to fail the super simple smile test. Isn’t that funny?
While we don’t have the data to support our theory, we suspect it’s true. Walk around Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire and everyone will smile back at you. Even if there is three feet of snow on the ground. Walk around Williams College and you’ll find the same is true there. Walk around Binghamton University…and not so much! Then, look at the transfer rates at the respective universities!
Doing the smile test seems silly, but we would argue that it’s as important as anything when deciding upon colleges to apply to. Why would you want to attend a school where students aren’t happy? Why would you want to subject yourself to that? Why not just go to a university where people are happy, where they smile, where they are excited and energized? If you learn nothing else from all of our blogging about highly selective college admissions, we urge you to do the smile test. It’s worth it.
While you’re here, check out this newsletter on College Visits.