Last Updated: Apr 2, 2020
All around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on all aspects of life. As I write this, I’m under a “shelter-in-place” order like many other states and countries. One unfortunate effect of these unprecedented times is the challenge posed to your college search process.
Spring break of junior year is usually a popular time for students to visit colleges and experience life on campus. However, even if you’re not under a social distancing order, the majority of colleges and universities have ceased all campus operations in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
That being said, there are still ways to scope out college options from the comfort and safety of your own home. Keep reading for tips on how to do this most effectively.
Visit school websites
While this seems like a no-brainer, exploring different college or university web pages can tell you a lot about a school. While you’re only seeing what they want to show you online and not getting a true “feel” for the atmosphere, you can learn about admission facts as well as projects the college is currently promoting.
For instance, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s website is showcasing its scientific prowess with this main page link discussing a drug being developed for COVID-19 that’s being tested at the campus. You can also find information about majors, learn how you’ll get credit for college-level classes, and see profiles of students who attend the University.
Take virtual tours
While a video of your prospective college campus may not be as helpful as walking around in person, it’s been a great option for students unable to travel to colleges for several years. During the present crisis, these capabilities are being expanded to apply to all students in the college search.
University of California Davis, for example, offers a virtual tour with options for English, Spanish, and Chinese narration. Led by a narrator with subtitle options, this campus visit alternative lets you experience all UC Davis has to offer without leaving home. Many other schools offer this same service, and as the situation continues, more will likely create online visiting options. At the very least, a virtual tour can help you narrow down your list of colleges to the ones you want to visit when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
Related: COVID-19 and Virtual Campus Tours
Connect with admission officers online
Most schools are receptive to connecting with students online, but especially right now. Admission counselors want to walk you through additional questions you may have related to their campus or the pandemic situation. This possibility, combined with your high school counselors, can give you direction from professionals in how to proceed with your college search during this strange time. The benefit of talking to a college admission counselor from the school you’re interested in (over the phone or through video chat) is that you’ll be able to obtain more detailed answers to questions tailored to that specific school rather than generalized answers from a high school counselor or an FAQ page.
In these difficult times, don’t let the cancellation of a few college visits add to your stress. Use the time you have at home to investigate your options so you’ll have an idea of where you want to visit when schools and businesses begin to reopen. Above all, continue to take care of yourself, obey your local regulations, and limit your exposure to overly negative news stories. We’ll get through this!
Still drilling down your college list? Finalize it with the CollegeXpress search tool.