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Connecting With Colleges During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Going on campus visits may not be a possibility right now, but there are still plenty of ways to connect with colleges online. Learn how with this advice!

Campus visits may be halted as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak, but your college search shouldn’t be! Whether you planned a campus visit that’s unfortunately been canceled or you’re finding extra time on your hands while practicing social distancing, you can still head online for your college search. We live in a world where a connection is quite literally at our fingertips—and it’s important to remember that as we navigate our “new normal.”

Accessing the internet

Your school or library may have been your reliable source for an internet connection. With social distancing and “shelter-in-place” orders increasing, you may be without your usual internet source. As a response to COVID-19 developments, many internet providers are offering free services to households with students and low-income families.

Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, and Altice are just a few of the internet providers offering free or reduced-cost internet service plans. Additionally, Comcast Xfinity Wi-Fi and Charter Spectrum Wi-Fi hotspots are also open and free to use by anyone. To learn more and stay updated on internet resources, visit HighSpeedInternet.com.

Related: COVID-19: Why Is Social Distancing Important?

A virtual tour isn’t the only way to experience campus

If your dream school doesn’t have a virtual visit option, that’s okay! Just like you’re searching for your new routine, the colleges you’re interested in are having to find their new routine too. From new construction to simply wanting you to meet you in person, there are many reasons why you may not be able to find a virtual visit of campus online. But there are still plenty of ways for you to continue your college search to find your best fit.

If you’re preparing for a virtual campus visit, this Essential Campus Visit Question List can help you learn the ins and outs of the atmosphere, the students, and life on campus.

Learn who makes up the university

The silver lining to a purely online search is having the opportunity to meet admission counselors and faculty on a more one-on-one level. As campuses close down and switch to online classes, faculty and staff are more likely to seek out new ways to connect with current and future students. Don’t be surprised if you see more social media posts and website content focusing on webinars and virtual appointments. Take this time to request information on a college’s website or begin following their social media channels.

Related: Connect with schools on CollegeXpress

Request more information

If you have a shortlist of colleges you were already planning to visit, request more information and follow up by letting them know you’d like to meet virtually. If you get a cancellation message from a college, reach out to them and let them know you’d still like to virtually connect to learn more.  Zoom, Google Hangouts, and GoToMeeting are just some of the few ways you can connect and get face time with an admission representative or faculty member online.

Scheduling a virtual meeting is an excellent way to engage with the campus community. Remember, touring facilities and buildings is great, but it’s the campus community that can help you narrow down what school is your best fit. Take this as an opportunity to learn the unique personality of the colleges you’re interested in and get to know the people behind the scenes.

Related: Top Questions to Ask College Admission Counselors

Strengthen your digital skill set

I know it can be frustrating not to be able to walk on campus and picture yourself as a current student. However, fast forward and imagine yourself as a college student: you’ll likely have group meetings or maybe even an online class. Now is the time to brush up or build up your digital skill set. Take this as an opportunity to become more comfortable connecting to others in over the internet. Trust me, these skills will benefit you even after social distancing is a thing of the past. A quick Google search about “tips for video conferencing” can lead to a lot of useful tips and tricks you may not already know.

Now is not the time to go dark

It’s an uncertain and confusing time for us all, but remember that admission counselors are here to help you navigate your college search. As someone who spent the last 10 years planning campus visit programs and meeting with students, I can assure you that counselors want to connect with you. Sure, things may not be as seamless as they would’ve been a few months ago, but their passion to guide you is stronger than ever. If you are uncertain of where to start, let the admission offices at your schools of interest know that and simply start by sharing who you are. Trust me, we’re all in this together.

For more advice on navigating your college search, check out our College Admission section.

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