College Visits from Your Couch: Which type of visit is best for you?

What a time to be college searching!  Perhaps you had your college visits lined up for April vacation, only to have to put the kibosh on them due to COVID-19 lockdowns.  Perhaps you’re still thinking about possible schools to add to your college list for this fall.  Or, maybe you’re a rising junior who’s trying to get a head start on the search process.  No matter the hypothetical scenario, learning more about the potential colleges on your list from the comfort of your home can be a welcome opportunity.  Let’s think through how to make the most of this time.

The completely virtual visit:

Prior to COVID-19, many schools offered a virtual tour of their campus, sometimes called a 360 tour.   Especially in our current climate, a virtual tour is a great way to get the lay of the land and learn about the different functions of the buildings on campus.  For example, you may see where a campus center is located on campus and how it houses student organizations, a dining hall, and various student affairs offices such as community service, residence life, and disability resources.

What are the best parts of a completely virtual visit?

These tours often allow you to view a campus map, orient yourself to campus, select buildings to explore, and envision yourself in these places and spaces.  

Virtual visits can be a great entryway to sparking questions about each school.  For example, how far are classroom buildings from residence halls?  Do some residence halls have dining halls in them?  Are you hoping to play a sport in college?  If so, are playing fields on campus, or would you take a shuttle to get there to practice?

How can you access a virtual tour?

You can typically access the virtual tour easily by going to the Undergraduate Admission page on a school’s website, and selecting the “Visit” option.  You’ll likely see the “virtual tour” option clearly listed on this page. If not, you can search the school’s website for the virtual tour.

The live virtual visit:

For most schools offering a live virtual visit, this is a new post-COVID-19 opportunity, and allows for a real-time visit from the comfort of your home.  Many schools are now providing this option, connecting prospective students to both a current student tour guide for an abbreviated campus tour and to an admission representative for an information session.  

What are the best parts of a live virtual visit?

During each session, students and families will be able to ask questions in real time, and learn from questions that others raise, just as you would during a more typical, on-campus visit.  

Having interaction with current students allows you to ask real questions and receive genuine answers.

Live virtual visits are a great way to learn more about schools that are farther away from home, as you are less likely to travel to campus right now.

How can you access a live virtual tour?

Head to the school’s website to schedule this “visit,” as schools are limiting participants in each group in order to create a more personal atmosphere.  

The in-person, socially distanced visit:

While most schools are limiting their exploration to a virtual experience, some schools are providing private, socially-distanced student-led tours and/or meetings with an admission counselor.  

What are the best parts of an in-person, socially distanced visit?

Visiting a school in this way will allow you to see the buildings and campus up close and personal and get a closer peak at the surrounding area, shops, and restaurants.  

If you haven’t yet started your college visits, you can work to pinpoint schools of interest in your local area.  Starting your visits there will help to spark questions for you to incorporate into your virtual visits, as well!

How can you access a socially distanced in-person tour?

Students and families will need to visit a school’s website to schedule this in advance, and will need to follow each school’s protocol.  For example, most schools offering this experience are requiring students and families to maintain 6 feet of distance and wear masks.

Do you have questions about ways to prepare for and make the most of these visits?  I’d love to chat!  Please reach out to schedule a consultation: danaroseroth at gmail dot com.

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