While virtual visits aren’t the same as in-person, on-campus tours, there are still strategic ways to get the most out of them. Here are some essential 2020 tips to help you make the best out of your virtual visit, including the necessary follow-up, so that you can find the best college or university that fits your criteria during COVID.
- Structure your “visits” to cover the basics and your interests
Typically during an in-person college visit, you take a campus tour, attend an information session, and possibly have an interview with an admission counselor. Use this structure for your virtual visits as well. It will give you a baseline against which to judge the colleges you’re considering and compare to future in-person visits. Take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions about admission requirements, financial aid, academics, dining, dorms, and life on campus. Most colleges will have several virtual options for all of these activities, as well as ways to dive deeper into specific areas that interest you.
- Reach out to the Gatekeepers
With Fall travel canceled for most schools, admission counselors have the time and desire to connect with students online in any way they can. Take advantage of this! And don’t limit your conversations just to admission counselors. Many schools have financial aid counselors, current students, and professors eager to connect with prospective students.
- Take notes and keep score.
Whether in-person or online, schools start to blend in after a while. Make a point of having a list of questions that you ask each school, whether during an online info session or interview. The responses to these questions can help you rank schools based on their desirability related to your interests and must-have features. Take notes about aspects of a unique or particularly appealing school to help narrow the list of schools to which you decide to apply.
- Get on the mailing list.
While most colleges aren’t offering in-person on-campus tours right now, they will inevitably begin offering them again in the months ahead—and likely at reduced capacities. This scenario means challenges in getting on campus when you want to. Add yourself to their mailing lists so you’ll be among the first to know when on-campus tours do become available.