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Making the Most of Visitas: Advice from a Senior

Hey, Class of 2022! In just a couple weeks, hundreds of you will be arriving to campus for Visitas, Harvard’s annual visiting weekend. This is an opportunity to get a taste of what your next four years could be like if you choose to attend Harvard (no pressure, amirite?). With a packed schedule of events going on all weekend, it might seem overwhelming to plan, but no fear! I am here to share my Senior Wisdom to help you make the most out of Visitas. I’ve already gotten to chat with many 2022’ers over the phone in the HFAI office, so I thought I’d share my answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

1. How should I allocate my time over the weekend? Do I have to go to all the events?

The Visitas schedule is jam-packed with meet-and-greets, panels, fairs, tours, etc. While you are welcome to attend anything and everything, my advice is to pick the events that interest you the most and don’t feel any FOMO for those that don’t. In my opinion, it’s important to leave time during Visitas for reflection, especially if you are undecided about attending Harvard. Find a nice tree in Harvard Yard to sit under, watch the happenings around you, and picture yourself here as a student. That being said, Visitas is also a time for exploration, so don’t be afraid to cast a wide net and try new things that pique your curiosity. Finally, it can be helpful to plan your day ahead of time, especially if you are staying with a host who has to let you in and out of their dorm room.

2. What is the #1 most important event I should plan to attend?

I personally feel that everyone should attend the Activities Fair. Having all the clubs and organizations in one place gives you a great survey of all the extracurricular opportunities available to you at Harvard. I found so many activities that I never even knew existed. This is a chance to meet people interested in some of the same things that you are, but also to find brand new hobbies. One of my favorite things about the fair is that you get to see current students doing and showing the things that they are most passionate about - we have so much passion! Cultural groups, community service, theatre, sports, journalism, activism, and more: Harvard has it ALL!

3. Where should I eat during Vistas?

Annenberg, of course! This is the freshman-only dining hall located in the center of campus where you can get breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is one of the most beautiful buildings on campus with stained glass windows, high domed ceilings, and dark wooden floors and tables. You are also welcome to eat in the upperclassmen dining halls which are great if you want to grab a meal with your host who is a sophomore, junior, or senior. I would definitely recommend eating at least one of every meal in the dining halls because it will give you a feel for what a typical day at Harvard is like.

If you are looking for some classic late-night eats, check out student favorites like Pinocchio’s for Pizza, Felipe’s for burritos, Hong Kong for chinese, and Tasty Burger for hamburgers. Tons of events will also be providing free food and snacks, so keep your eye out and take advantage of that!

4. Do I really need to go to classes?

While Visitas is a good break from your high school classes, I HIGHLY recommend attending some Harvard classes on Monday. For me, sitting in class and thinking about the material I was learning helped me envision my future at Harvard. Additionally, it’s really valuable to have some familiarity with what a college lecture feels like before the first day of school in the fall, and you might also find a new subject interest! Most lectures, especially when the professors know pre-frosh are coming, are really fun and engaging. Even better, you don’t have to worry about the homework!

5. Any final tips?

Meet your classmates! This seems like a given, but keep in mind that the other pre-frosh you meet could end up being your roommates, study-buddies, and life-long friends. Learning about my fellow classmates was one of the most enjoyable parts of Visitas. One of the reasons why this place is so interesting is because everyone has a different story and different perspective to share.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Harvard students love talking to pre-frosh and we are a great resource given that we were in your shoes only a few years ago. We chose to attend Harvard, ask us why! Whatever is on your mind, nothing is off-limits.

I hope you have a great time at Visitas!

Above: My photos from Visitas. That’s my mom on the upper right!


About the author

Hi, my name is Sarah Gonzalez and I am a current senior at Harvard living in Cabot House. I am originally from the border town of El Paso, TX, where I grew up riding horses and listening to country... View full profile

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