While it’s important to visit colleges to help you understand the schools better and decide where you want to apply, sometimes you simply can’t visit in person. However, with some creative research, you can still learn a lot about different colleges and their personalities without a physical visit. Here are some alternatives that don’t involve taking a trip to campus.
Virtual Tours – Just because you can’t see a school in person, doesn’t mean you can’t see it online. Many colleges offer a virtual tour on their websites. There are also websites that specifically collect virtual tours and interactive maps of colleges around the country. Alternatively, head over to YouTube and check if there are any tours posted there.
Student Blogs – Admissions offices often have current students keep blogs on their websites. Reading those is a great way to learn about current students and what they’re up to. You can also search college websites in general for student blogs that might be maintained by different departments or student activity groups.
YouTube – In addition to tours, many colleges have their own YouTube channels with a whole range of videos about individual departments, athletics, and student life. You can also search for unofficial videos posted by students to see what they’re interested in.
Go to an event in your area – Many colleges host admissions events around the country (and the world), sometimes including the opportunity to meet one-on-one with an admissions counselor. Contact the admissions office to find out if they will be visiting your area.
Student newspapers – These days, many student newspapers are posted online. Look up the student newspapers at colleges you’re interested in and read them online. It will give you a sense of what’s going on around campus and what matters to students most.
As you can see, if you can’t visit colleges in person, with just a bit of creativity, there are lots of ways to learn about colleges beyond simply browsing the websites and reading a guidebook!