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If a student really enjoys their experience at a fly-in program and decides
that it's a top choice, it can be disappointing if they are not ultimately
accepted to that institution. Likewise, students can face disappointment
if they aren't selected to attend a fly-in program at one of their top choice
"Even though students understand that fly-in programs are competitive,
they still feel the sting of rejection if not selected to participate, and further
coaching can be needed to keep a student hopeful about admission when a
fly-in application doesn't pan out," advises Ridyard.
For a higher education institution that wants to increase access and attract a
more diverse pool of applicants, starting a fly-in program can be one method
used to accomplish that goal.
Jordan encourages any institution considering launching a program
to do so, but he acknowledges fly-ins can be a "costly and time-heavy
undertaking" for admission staff.
"Whatever shape the fly-in takes, it should align with the goals of the
institution and take into consideration students who are traditionally at the
margins in this college process," Jordan said. "All institutions don't have
the same resources and therefore won't have the same fly-in program."
Some fly-in programs are national and some are regional. It is up to the
institution to determine which type of program would best meet
their needs.
When developing a fly-in program, Jordan encourages institutions to
bring together campus stakeholders early and often. "Fly-in programs are
campus-wide endeavors that include dining services, facilities, academic
support along with cultural centers faculty, and students-your planning
should include all these voices as you build and pull off the program,"
he advises.
Mathis says admission offices should ensure that there is support for
a fly-in program both administratively and financially. "You may have to
start small and grow your program, so determine what's important to your
institution to create buy-in and be ready and willing to present the results
of your program early and often," he noted.
April, with College Greenlight, recommends that colleges "know what
they can offer."
"Fly-in programs that cover all costs are what many have come to expect
for the communities that institutions are looking to reach, so even if you can
only do that for a small number of students, it makes more sense to offer
everything to a few students, rather than add costs for a bigger group,"
he says.
Some institutions require counselors to nominate students; others allow
students to apply without a nomination.
"We think a combination of the two is the best option," April said.
"Counselor nominations can be incredibly helpful in knowing that students
have been specifically selected for a program and likely are a good fit for
the opportunity. The purpose of fly-ins is to increase access, so we also like
the ability for students to nominate themselves, reducing a potential access
And remember: Starting a fly-in program does not guarantee instant

*	 Ensure there is support for the program both administratively
and financially.
*	 Smart small and grow your program.
*	 Determine what is important to your institution in creating
a fly-in program.
*	 Get buy-in from all relevant stakeholders.
*	 Share the results of your program.

"Depending on the overall intended outcomes of their program, it may
take time to see desired results," advises Mathis. "So, be committed to the
purpose, but also continue assessing the program and adjust, adapting to
the needs of the students as they pertain to your intended outcomes."
Fly-in programs seem to be gaining in popularity and that trend is likely
to continue.
"Institutions are recognizing building relationships with students from
diverse backgrounds early in the recruitment process increases application
and yield rates," notes Mathis. "Also, the traditionally aged college-going
population is beginning to decline, and so institutions are having to rethink
and be more innovative with recruiting students."
April predicts that fly-in programs will continue to reach another type of
underrepresented student in the future.
"The future of fly-in programs is trending to support rural students," he
says. "Students from these communities have strong roots and the counselors
that support them encourage relationship-building. If they are going to leave
home, which many of them want to, they need to know that it is going to
be the right fit for them. Fly-in programs provide that opportunity without
financially burdening the family and grow trust between the family and the
environment (where) they will be sending their child for four years."
A fly-in program is a chance to not only engage prospective students from
diverse backgrounds but also educate others in the college admission process
about your institution's goals. From that perspective, it has even greater
benefits beyond just attracting prospective students.
"A fly-in program isn't just a chance to talk to prospective students about
your institution, but can also be a chance to educate high school counselors,
community-based organization advisers, and teachers about how your
institution supports underrepresented students," says Jordan. "It is good
to think about what materials these influencers need to help their students
make informed decisions about the financial aid policy or support systems at
your institution."
Elena Loveland (formerly Elaina Loveland) is a freelance writer and
the author of Creative Colleges: Finding the Best Programs for Aspiring
Actors, Artists, Designers, Dancers, Musicians, Writers, and More.




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