For high school juniors and their families, spring break can be a key time for visiting prospective colleges. They’ve mapped out the trip and narrowed down the list to the colleges they are really interested in. Plane tickets are purchased, college tours are booked.
Four ways to learn about colleges without visiting them
This year, there’s a big bug in those plans: coronavirus has wreaked havoc on college tours, and students are scrambling for a plan B. It’s time to get creative and find new ways to learn about colleges.
If you can’t visit colleges during your break this year, here are few ideas to help you learn more about these schools from the comfort of your own home.
- Take virtual tours: While virtual tours aren’t as good as visiting in person, they are still a great way to learn more about a college. Most college websites offer a virtual tour under the visit page, or you can head to Campus Reel, which offers 15,000 videos, tours, and experiences on over 300 college campuses.
- Contact admissions: Reach out to the admissions offices of all the colleges on your list to let them know you have to postpone or cancel your trip. Ask them if they have any virtual options for connecting with their admissions team. Some colleges offer phone calls or might be willing to set up a video chat with a student admissions ambassador.
- Use your family network: Make it your family mission to find friends of friends who have students at the colleges on your teen’s list. Reach out to these people to set up a time to speak with them about their experience at the college of interest so you can get a first-hand take on what campus life is like.
- Use social media: Many students prefer to use YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter to learn more about colleges. It certainly requires discretion, as there are a variety of students representing colleges on social media. For that same reason, it can give your student a more realistic view of a school—the good and the bad. It’s also great to follow colleges on all social media platforms.
So put the map on the shelf for another day, and start planning your remote college tours. You may not get to walk the campus, but you’ll still get a well-rounded picture of all the schools your student might love. And you’ll save some travel costs while you’re at it.
Lisa Bain Carlton is the Founder & CEO at College MatchPoint, an educational consultancy working with students and families across Texas, and the U.S. College MatchPoint believes the college admissions process should be personal, organized, and even fun.
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