For many admitted students from our Round 1 application cycle, this weekend will include a trip to Chicago for First Day festivities! We’re hoping those visiting are as excited as we are to get the show on the road. And I can personally attest to the hard work our First Day team has put in to make this a memorable few days as well as a pivotal moment in the decision for admitted students of which business school to attend.
I remember my First Day experience two years ago centered on several things; learning about the school, learning about my classmates, and learning about the city of Chicago. It’s tough to fit it all in one weekend, but the Admissions staff here does a fantastic job giving admits access to as much information as can be handled in order to make an educated choice on attending.
I was in a bit of a different situation than those using this weekend as a key decision point as I had already planned on accepting the offer prior to my visit. That being said, I figured I’d let it sink in one last time to make sure I felt comfortable in my choice. Clearly, given the fact that now I write for a blog that helps prospective students make the decision as well, it means that things have worked out rather well so far.
For all the nitty gritty details about schedules, timings, and locations, information is available on the website in the Admitted Students portal and also via the First Day mobile app, which allows users to follow along real time (always on the cutting-edge of technology here at Booth).
But I wanted to include a few points below that I found to be most helpful to maximize my time in Chicago and visiting Booth.
Flexible curriculum starts early
Booth prides itself on allowing you to choose the educational experience you want to have. It’s a great way to take the classes that really interest you in the order that makes the most sense. We figured it was time for First Day to represent that. During Friday’s breakout sessions, we’re offering the ability to choose which topics people want to hear more about. Whether it’s social impact opportunities, entrepreneurship stories, or even how to finance the MBA, people can pick what matters to them!
Celebrating the weekend all the way up
Chicago is considered to have one of the most beautiful skylines in the world, and this is a great opportunity to experience it. After the bulk of First Day programming has concluded, admits can celebrate with admissions staff and student leaders on the 80th floor of the AON Center, Chicago’s 3rd tallest building. Believe me when I say we roll out the red carpet for this one–with heavy h’orderves, frosty beverages, and a night of classy relaxation following two days of nonstop action.
Trolley tours to do some real sightseeing
Saturday is sometimes described as the most fun part of the whole weekend. We host a Random Walk fair, where people will envision which trip to sign up for the following August, and extensive apartment tours help decide where to live. The nightcap will be a send-off event that puts a nice bow on everything, and we want admits to arrive there in style. New to the First Day weekend is the Chicago Trolley Tour, which allows for exploration of the city beyond where the hotel and Harper Center are located. As someone who’s done the trolley myself, I can attest to how cool it is to be by Lake Michigan at one moment, and the next, up near Wrigley Field paying homage to the 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs (still sounds really weird to say). So grab a seat and get comfortable!
Make friendships that last the test of time (or at least the next two years)
Last but not least, admits should remember that many of the people they meet at First Day could be future classmates, trip companions, and lifelong friends. It’s important to network, communicate, and connect with as many fellow admits as possible. I crossed paths with several people at that fateful weekend back in February 2015 who became my good friends and all this time later I can’t imagine my life without them.
So there you have my take on what should be an amazing weekend and one that may go down in memory for a long time! Our motto at Chicago Booth is ‘Why you are here and not somewhere else,’ and First Day is the perfect starting point to discover the answer to that question.