Last Updated: Jul 9, 2020
COVID-19 and campus visits: not an ideal combination.
Luckily in this fantastical digital age, many students have the option to conduct virtual campus visits of the colleges they're considering. These virtual visits allow you to view the campus hotspots and learn more about programs that the university has to offer (in case you missed something the first time through your college research!).
Tuning in to an online college visit is easy, convenient, and safe (a consideration we've never had...until now). It’s virtually the next best thing to actually being there. Virtual walking tours help families become better acquainted with schools, get answers to common questions, and make more informed decisions.
Wondering how to make the best of a virtual tour? The following are some things to keep in mind when "visiting" colleges online during the coronavirus outbreak and beyond.
Focus on what’s important to you
Consider this: you're about to spend several years of your life at the college you choose. The campus will become your home, so you want to be sure you like what you see! During a virtual walking tour, be sure that you jot down notes about campus characteristics that are most important to you. If having a generous sized living space in your dorm is crucial for you to feel at home, take an in-depth tour of the various housing options at the campus. If you want nothing more than an inviting, sun-soaked courtyard where you can take study breaks, make sure to tour the grounds.
Explore the campus's “hidden gems”
In addition to visiting the residence and dining halls, keep an eye out for the “hidden gems”—the areas around campus that you may not have the time to explore when you physically visit the school, such as a student-run coffeehouse or a student art gallery. Many large campuses have an abundance of dining options right on campus, but if you're a big foodie, college towns have a lot more dining options right in the heart of town or by the "main strip," providing loads of delectable options (and plenty to see and do too). Google the town, explore all the fun options, and read the reviews to learn more about the area.
Listen closely to the tour guide
Even virtual tours often feature real students who are currently enrolled in the school and are outgoing and eager to share the “inside scoop” about their campus. Listen closely to them as they escort you through the “must-see” locations on the campus and tell you about key hangout spots where you will spend a lot of your time.
Connect with current students
Since most students are at home and online for the foreseeable future, now is the perfect time to connect with current students at your dream school(s)! FaceTime, Skype, or just exchange emails with current students. It's a great way to learn about a school and make friends!
Start touring anytime!
Many schools on CollegeXpress have virtual tours you can take right now! Check these out:
- DePaul University
- High Point University
- Merrimack College
- Northeastern University
- New York University
With this pandemic afoot, it may feel like your college search should be put on hold—but it doesn't have to be! Virtual tours are the perfect way to keep your college search rolling (and occupy your time at home)!
Still drilling down your college list? Finalize it with the CollegeXpress search tool.