It’s that time of year when high school seniors everywhere weighing their options for what may be the start of the rest of their academic careers. Depending on how many college applications you submitted, you may feel overwhelmed at the number of choices you’re left with. To further compound this problem, the cost of gas and airfare may prevent you from visiting each college again (or at all) before you make your final college decision. So what do you do?
Luckily, in this 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 and convenient. It’s virtually (pun only a little bit intended) 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.
The following are some things to keep in mind when using virtual tours in your college search and decision-making process:
Focus on what’s important
Students will spend several years of their lives in college, so during the virtual walking tour, be sure that you evaluate the characteristics most important to you. If your top priority is to see and understand the dormitory system, take an in-depth tour of the various housing options at the campus.
Explore the “hidden gems”
In addition to visiting the residence and dining halls, keep an eye out for the “hidden gems”—the areas of the campus that you may not have the chance to explore when you physically visit the campus, such as a student-run coffee house. This is particularly relevant for large campuses such as Yale University and Mississippi State University.
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.
You can start exploring virtual campuses by checking your college websites and by visiting sites like YouVisit.