Colleges With Fly-In Programs — A Complete List

February 25, 2024

colleges with fly in programs

Visiting a college campus is a great way to see if a prospective school will be a good fit. However, touring a local college is generally easier than touring a college located in another state. Additionally, the cost of traveling may make touring every college on a student’s list difficult. Luckily, there is a potential solution. Some colleges offer fly-in programs. Colleges with fly-in programs offer the opportunity to visit their campus for low to no cost for qualifying high school students.

In this article, we will review what qualifies a prospective student to take advantage of this opportunity. Furthermore, we will provide a complete list of colleges with fly-in programs.

What is a college fly-in program?

Fly-in programs are hosting programs organized by colleges to offer prospective students the chance to affordably visit their campus. The goal of fly-in programs is to determine if an institution is right for the prospective student.

As well, fly-in programs are meant to encourage greater access to higher education. Therefore, this opportunity is usually reserved for students who are unrepresented, are first-generation students, and/or come from diverse backgrounds.

It’s important to note that the recent Supreme Court decision striking down affirmative action has somewhat changed how these programs consider applicants. Now, most colleges with fly-in programs consider a broader definition of diversity when reviewing applications.

However, most colleges still aim to offer this opportunity to students of color, students from low-income households, and who will offer diverse perspectives to their campus.

During the visit, colleges encourage prospective students to stay on or near campus. In most instances, colleges will pay for transportation, room and board, and may even offer other reimbursements. Typically, colleges with fly-in programs offer this opportunity to students who are already admitted to the school.

How do you apply to a fly-in program?

If you would like to apply for a fly in program, then you might wonder where to start.

Firstly, it’s important to note that fly in programs are extremely competitive. In fact, these programs can even be more competitive than the college itself. If you receive a fly in offer, then it means that the institution is very interested in your application.

As part of this process, a college will usually request the student’s current GPA along their ACT or SAT test scores. In most cases, a college will also request the student submit an essay or written response to a particular prompt. Additionally, students may need to submit a letter of recommendation from their instructor(s).

How do you prepare for a fly-in program?

College visits can be just as nerve-wracking as they are exciting! For students who have been accepted to one of the colleges with fly in programs, there are steps to make the most of the experience.

  • Research the School

Make sure you are updated on the school’s current program offerings, student opportunities, and scholarship options. Knowing what to expect on the visit can help to calm any nerves.

Since you will likely only be on campus for a few days, this research can help fill in some gaps and direct the course of your visit. You can also learn more about the school’s admissions process.

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

To make the most out of the visit, you should not be scared to ask lots of questions. The tour guides are there to help!

Plus, then you will have a better idea of the campus life to see if the institution will be the right fit.

  • Take Notes

It will probably be a long and exciting few days. Most colleges with fly in programs even schedule special programming for their prospective students. With many tours and activities, it can be hard to remember all the details.

Your notes will be a helpful resource to reference after the visit.

Colleges with fly in programs

Below is a list of colleges who offer fly in programs. Remember, each school’s eligibility requirements may vary, so be sure to also do your own research.

1) Amherst College – Amherst, Massachusetts

  • Acceptance Rate: 7%

This program is called the Access of Amherst Program, or A2A. To apply, students must respond to an essay prompt in no more than 350 words. For example, in 2023, the essay question was: In what ways could your experiences enhance our understanding of our nation and our world?

Students must be high school seniors, complete the online application, and submit a current copy of their transcript and a confirmed or intended list of senior classes.

2) Bates College – Lewiston, Maine

  • Acceptance Rate: 17%

Prologue to Bates is designed for high school seniors attending school in either the U.S. or Puerto Rico. The college’s commitment to diversity and inclusion informs their admissions process, and first-gen students and those from historically underrepresented communities are encouraged to apply. Additionally, meals, lodging, and transportation will be provided for all students who attend.

3) Bowdoin College – Brunswick, Maine

  • Acceptance Rate: 9%

In Explore Bowdoin, prospective students are invited to attend classes, meet professors, and learn more about the college admissions process. Explore Bowdin is for students who are first-gen and/or low-income. Plus, preference is also given to students who come from rural areas. Lastly, undocumented/DACA students living in the US are eligible to apply.

The cost of travel is free for prospective students.

4) Brandeis University – Waltham, Massachusetts

  • Acceptance Rate: 39%

As part of the Students Exploring and Embracing Diversity (SEED) program, students are encouraged to meet the faculty, attend an evaluative admissions interview, and more. Rising high school seniors must reside in the US to remain eligible.

Additionally, preference is given to students who are first-generation college students and/or those who are low-income/under-resourced. Students must fill out the online application and provide a high school transcript.

5) Bryant University – Smithfield, Rhode Island

  • Acceptance Rate: 74%

In addition to high school senior eligibility, prospective transfer students are also welcome to apply.

It is important to note that this program does not initially provide free travel. Instead, Bryant University offers to reimburse half (up to $250) the price of a plane ticket. Lastly, if a student chooses to enroll, they will be reimbursed up to $500 on the cost of travel. Proof of receipt must be provided.

6) Bryn Mawr College – Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

  • Acceptance Rate: 31%

At Bryn Mawr, fly-in programs are organized to provide support to prospective students who come from historically unrepresented backgrounds. Bryn Mawr College is a women’s college. As such, they look for prospective students who are interested in women’s education.

Additionally, they search for candidates who are passionate learners and work to improve their communities.

7) Bucknell University – Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

  • Acceptance Rate: 35%

To be eligible for Journey to Bucknell, students must be a high school senior who presents a “diverse prospective.” Additionally, their unweighted GPA must be at least 3.5.

It is also important to note that this program has restrictions on the geographic region of eligibility. “Students must live in or near: Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia, or Washington D.C.” For selected students, the cost is free.

8) Calvin University – Grand Rapids, Michigan

  • Acceptance Rate: 74%

Interestingly, the Entrada Scholars Program is a little different in its construction. Both high school seniors and juniors are eligible to apply and take part in a four-week academic program.

Participants are racial and ethnic minority students who are looking to earn a renewable undergraduate scholarship of $4,000. Additionally, those who complete the program with a B- or higher and choose to attend Calvin University will be eligible for the scholarship.

9) Carleton College – Northfield, Minnesota

  • Acceptance Rate: 18%

Taste of Carleton (TOC) is one of the fly-in programs that offers free cost of travel. High school seniors are eligible to apply, and priority will be given to students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds.

At TOC, students will have the opportunity to learn more about campus, attend a weekly lecture series, meet with admissions staff, and more.

10) Case Western Reserve University – Cleveland, Ohio

  • Acceptance Rate: 18%

Diversity Overnight is an opportunity for high school seniors to learn more about the campus at CWRU. Students will stay overnight in a hotel near campus and get to know the institution better. However, transportation costs are covered by the university.

Diversity Overnight is a program designed for high-achieving students from diverse backgrounds.

11) Colgate University – Hamilton, New York

  • Acceptance Rate: 12%

At Colgate in Focus, high school seniors will have the opportunity to meet and connect with current students and faculty. The program is intended for those who identify as first-generation, low-income, and/or come from historically marginalized backgrounds.

Previously, Colgate in Focus was held in two parts: online and on campus. The cost of the program is covered in full by the college. Additionally, students can invite one parent or guardian to attend for no cost.

12) The College of Idaho – Caldwell, Idaho

  • Acceptance Rate: 46%

It is important to note that The College of Idaho will not completely cover the cost of travel. The institution offers reimbursement up to $250 for the cost of a plane ticket. However, the college will completely cover the cost of all public transportation, such as bus or train travel.

13) College of the Atlantic – Bar Harbor, Maine

  • Acceptance Rate: 60%

Prospective students who are invited to the program can attend classes, eat in the dining hall, and get to know current students. Plus, there is the option to explore Acadia National Park!

This program is open to high school seniors attending school in the US. The college encourages students from minority and low-income backgrounds to apply. Those invited will have all travel expenses covered.

14) College of the Holy Cross – Worcester, Massachusetts

  • Acceptance Rate: 36%

High school seniors are encouraged to apply and experience the campus first-hand. Those who come from low-income households, attend rural and urban Title I schools, and first-gen students are invited to apply. However, all students, regardless of demographic or economic background, can apply.

15) College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University – St. Joseph, Minnesota, Collegeville, Minnesota

  • Acceptance Rate: St Benedict: 88%; St. John’s: 85%

To be eligible for this program, students must already be accepted to the university. CSB + SJU will not only book the roundtrip flight but also will cover travel expenses up to $500. Lastly, the visit takes place over two nights, where students will sleep in a residence hall, meet current and prospective students, and more.

Colleges with fly-in programs – continued

School Location Acceptance Rate
16)      Colorado College Colorado Springs, Colorado 14%
17)      Connecticut College New London, Connecticut 41%
18.      Dartmouth College Hanover, New Hampshire 6%
19.      Davison College Davidson, North Carolina 17%
20.      Emory University Atlanta, Georgia 11%
21.      Hamilton College Clinton, New York 12%
22.      Haverford College Haverford, Pennsylvania 14%
23.      Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland 7.5%
24.      Kenyon College Gambier, Ohio 36.5%
25.      Lehigh University Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 37%

Colleges with fly-in programs – continued

26.      Luther College Decorah, Iowa 76%
27.      Miami University Oxford, Ohio 88%
28.      Middlebury College Middlebury, Vermont 13%
29.      Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts 4%
30.      Oberlin College Oberlin, Ohio 35%
31.      Pomona College Claremont, California 7%
32.      Reed College Portland, Oregon 44%
33.      St. Olaf College Northfield, Minnesota 56%
34.      Swarthmore College Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 7%
35.      Trinity College Hartford, Connecticut 36%

Colleges with fly-in programs – continued

36.      Tufts University Medford, Massachusetts 10%
37.      Tulane University New Orleans, Louisiana 11%
38.      Union College Schenectady, New York 47%
39.      University of Evansville Evansville, Indiana 75%
40.      University of Rochester Rochester, New York 40%
41.      Ursinus College Collegeville, Pennsylvania 82%
42.      Washington and Lee University Lexington, Virginia 17%
43.      Wellesley College Wellesley, Massachusetts 14%
44.      Wesleyan University Middletown, Connecticut 14%
45.      Williams College Williamstown, Massachusetts 8%

Colleges with fly-in programs – In Review

If you are able to attend one of the fly-in programs with the college of your choice, then you should make the most of the opportunity. Even though the process is competitive, the experience will be worth it!

Lastly, the following blogs may also prove useful in your college search process: