While the college search process looks different this year, the good news is that there are now many innovative ways to explore college campuses – even from the comfort of your home.
Not everything has changed. Many colleges have simply adjusted the way they offer in-person tours, like having individual families make reservations in advance or giving smaller group tours with safety precautions in place. More than likely, these tours will be limited to the outdoor spaces on campus, and you won’t be able to enter the buildings. But even without a formal tour, you can always choose to go walk through a campus you’re interested in. One nice thing about even a self-guided tour is that you’ll find students on campus who can answer questions and give you a candid perspective on the school.
If you can’t travel or don’t feel comfortable doing so, there is one good thing that’s come out of the pandemic: colleges have really stepped up their game with regard to virtual programming. Colleges are on Instagram, so you can follow the admissions accounts of the schools you’re interested in. They have virtual tours, Q&As, and current students to give you the vibe of the school to see if it’s the right fit for you. Colleges are also doing info sessions, panels, and online chats; admissions officers themselves are more accessible to prospective students than ever before because of all the virtual programming.
Here’s a tip about those virtual programs: If you get an email in advance from a college announcing a virtual program, it’s a good idea to click through the invite and look around the website for a bit. Colleges can and do track this activity. In past years, student interest might have been gauged by activities like interacting with admissions officers at a college fair, but with so many activities moving online, it’s your virtual engagement they’ll be looking at.
As ever and always, the best thing you can do to learn more about a college is talk to current students. Try to get in touch with sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have been on campus long enough to know what it’s really like under more ordinary circumstances. Have them tell you what they would change and what they’re happy with. College newspapers are another great source of unfiltered views. You’ll find so many opinion pieces, not to mention the real headlines about what’s happening on campus (not just what the college wants to publicize!).
More personalized help with your college search is available through our services at Expert Admissions.