5 Tips: Turn Your School Visit into a Vacation
As we have mentioned in previous posts here on Get to the Music, the best way to see if a school is the right choice for you is to actually visit the campus. No matter how much you read about it or look at the slideshows of pictures, there is nothing quite like seeing the campus with your own eyes. Students come from all over the world to attend LA Music Academy…we understand how difficult it can be to visit the school beforehand, so why not turn that into an excuse to vacation? Especially since summer is right around the corner… This can be a great way to “kill two birds with one stone”, save money, and get to check out a new city and potentially, your future music school campus – and at your leisure. Here’s how:
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
The first thing you need to check out is when the school you want to visit is having open houses or visiting times for prospective students. LAMA, for instance, lists these on its website and Facebook page regularly. You should be aware of weather conditions– if you are visiting Berklee School of Music, the winter months will have very bad snowstorms. The nice thing about LAMA is that weather is nice year-round.
HINT: Los Angeles is one of the only cities with multiple music colleges like LAMA within 10 miles of each other. Not to mention, it’s a top tourist destination and THE entertainment capital of the world.
CALL THE SCHOOL
Before you schedule your trip, make sure to get in contact with the school. Make sure the open house event is confirmed. It is also good to find out if you need to RSVP for it or not. Calling also allows you to “press the flesh” with the school admissions officials who will be deciding whether you get accepted to the school or not. Also, if there is no open house when you want to visit, arrange a personal tour with the admissions. Many schools allow walk-in visits as well.
STAY SOMEWHERE CLOSE TO THE SCHOOL
Now you know when you’re going, the schools you are visiting etc. so when you decide to book your hotel, make sure you do so close to the prospective school(s) and public transportation! The purpose of your trip is two-fold: 1) to get a feel for student life and survey the environment in which you will be studying; 2) and to enjoy your vacation – so you’ll want access to action — the sights and sounds of the city. If you are visiting a school like LAMA, located in Pasadena (a suburb of Los Angeles), you will avoid a lot of the traffic for which LA is known, as well as the higher crime rates and high hotel prices of the urban city. Public transportation is in walking distance of nearly everything in Pasadena and it’s only a 15-20 minute rail ride to downtown Los Angeles – where you can find Staples Center, L.A. Live, Nokia Theatre and the Grammy Museum. From there, a quick transfer to another rail line will have you in the heart of the Hollywood entertainment scene in minutes.
SCHEDULE AND BUDGET OUT YOUR TRIP
Visiting the school won’t take up too much of your time so don’t forget to have some fun in the city where you are “school-cationing.” Get yourself a calendar (Google Calendars on-line is a great free service you can take anywhere) or start filling in the days on your smartphone. Perhaps you can do your school stuff the first half of the day, and vacation stuff the second half of the day. But make sure you don’t overbook your day of the open house/meeting at the school.
THE FUN STUFF
Since you are going to a city on vacation, make sure you do all the fun stuff. Schools in Southern California are certainly going to win the prize since they are in the heart of a tourist destination like Los Angeles. Books and websites like “Lonely Planet” and “Virtual Tourist” are a great resource to find all the must-see attractions. Alternative weeklies like the LA Weekly and the Pasadena Weekly offer a great resource for concerts and other events in the area.
HINT: Los Angeles visitors: make sure to visit Amoeba Records on Sunset, but don’t blow your budget on the amazing finds!
Safe travels future music students! Make sure to keep your eye on the prize. You can always take a vacation but making a good impression at your possible music school can lead to a lifelong career. If you are able to successfully turn your school visit into a vacation, we would love to see your pictures from the trip! Feel free to post them on the Facebook wall at www.facebook.com/LAmusicacademy.