Whipped coffee. Baking bread. Daily walks with your family. Tik Tok. Supalonely by Benee. Virtual college visits. What do these all have in common? These all became wildly popular during the pandemic. What was once thought of to be a one-to-two-week break from work and school became the start of a devastating pandemic that would last for the next two years.
As remote became the safest option due to in-person interactions posing a risk, college admissions offices had to adjust their outreach methods. College campuses traditionally would open their doors nearly every day for visitors to come and tour their campus. Their visits would be guided by both current students and college admissions officers. Both would provide unique perspectives on the college experience. College admissions officers would discuss the logistics of applying to college and what each college would look for. Current students would provide an in-depth understanding of what it was like to be a student and all the opportunities that existed from student organizations to internships.
However, COVID made all large gatherings impossible. This resulted in college admissions officers having to move virtual. This transition led to college campuses wanting to capture the feel of visiting college and place it in a video or a tour simulator. Some got very creative with their approaches; others began to develop as many Zoom events as possible to ensure prospective students were obtaining as much information without stepping foot on campus.
As campuses become open to the public once again, in-person visits are nearly as common as before. However, colleges realized the benefits of offering virtual opportunities to learn more about their campus. Now, students have the privilege of choosing how they want to begin their interaction with a new college that they’re interested in.
I’m here to guide you on how to tour a college online!
Virtual College Tours and You
Before prospective students begin touring colleges, it’s important that they do some research to know what questions to ask and whether the school is worth visiting. Previously, this research would include perusing the college admissions website of each school and looking through the different information available online. This would include a list of majors and minors offered at the school, an overview of the curriculum, a list of notable faculty members, a summary of on-campus housing, and summaries of popular student organizations. The summaries, photos, and occasional video were nice, but students may be left unsatisfied until the in-person tour.
Virtual college tours are here to help bridge the excitement gap between online research and in-person campus tours. Now, students can get a more in-depth experience from the comfort of their own homes! Rather than read from a selection of student stories about their experience at X University, you can now hear from them directly through a virtual event. Rather than read about the best-hidden spots on campus, you can try to spot them on a virtual tour! The new opportunities are endless and can help students ask specific questions when they arrive at their in-person campus visits.
Every college has virtual opportunities available. If you want to go directly to a school’s virtual tour, simply Google “[Insert University] Virtual Tour”. From small liberal arts colleges to the Ivy League, virtual tours will be available to you! Below are a few types of virtual events that schools may offer.
Virtual Tours: Students will be able to immerse themselves in a tour online. Some schools may offer a 360° virtual tour where students can see not only the footage in front of them but see around their virtual selves – hence, 360°. Other schools may offer a narrated video tour where students can watch a video and hear from a student or college admissions officer.
Information Session: College admissions officers will discuss application requirements and what they look for when they review college applications. They may also take questions (through Zoom Q&A or other similar functions). Some information sessions may include both college admissions officers and current students to ensure they answer specific questions.
Current Student-Led Events: Prospective students can hear from current students about their experiences attending a specific college. These events often have limited registration to maintain a sense of conversation between current and prospective students. Current students may discuss academics, school support, internship opportunities, specific major topics, student organizations, and available school-wide events.
Specialty Events: These events may be specific to which school you are researching. Some events can include hearing from notable professors and gaining an insider perspective on updates in a particular major. Other events may center around specific topics like “Study Abroad Experiences”, “Essay Writing Workshops”, information sessions in a specific language, and more.
This is not an exhaustive list, but you can see that colleges are still offering a plethora of virtual opportunities with the hopes of answering as many questions before you visit.
Regardless of how you choose to visit a college, know that there are many resources available to you. If you’re unsure of where to begin, why not reach out to one of our admissions consultants?