After more than a year of campus closures, many college campuses are now open for visits and traditional campus tours. However, with the ongoing pandemic, quarantine restrictions after crossing state lines, and other school-based policies, we recognize that getting onto campuses may still be easier said than done, and students and their parents might need to be selective about college visit plans. The good news is that there are other ways to learn about colleges and universities from home! Here are some suggestions:
- During the pandemic, colleges have worked hard to develop virtual opportunities. Most colleges will now have a robust set of virtual offerings on their admissions site, with virtual tours, information sessions, and more. Sign up for webinars or online info sessions they’re offering—this can not only give you much of the same information you might have learned on campus, but could be a good way to demonstrate interest if the school tracks it. The site YouVisit also has hundreds of tours in a central place. They’re free, and come complete with student guides who pop up virtually to explain each stop on the tour.
- Do a website deep dive. Many students are going to have to write “why do you want to go here?” essays down the line, and knockout versions of these essays often require deep dives into the website—reading through the course listings for majors and programs of interest, looking at professors’ research, checking out club and student organizations’ online presences. Doing this kind of research now is a great use of time that can not only help students learn more about schools of interest, but can do some of the heavy lifting for those essays in the fall.
- Reach out to older students. Have you been meaning to reach out to that old camp counselor who’s now at Syracuse, or that family friend who headed to UT Austin? Now is a great time to connect with older students you know to hear about their experiences at schools you’re considering. Speaking directly with current students or recent grads can give you unique and valuable insights into the college experience. To get the most out of it, prepare a list of questions to ask, just as you would for an in-person visit.
Not being able to visit colleges in person doesn’t have to slow down your admissions journey. Take advantage of the tools and resources available to you virtually and personally and keep moving forward. But if you get stuck, reach out. We’re here to help.