Switching College Tours into Virtual Mode (updated)

Just like high school students, my plans for touring colleges in 2020 changed. Plans change - I get that. But what initially seemed like a massive obstacle to doing more college research and visits instead morphed into an opportunity to "visit virtually" more colleges than I could have visited in person. College visits became real-time examples of "necessity is the mother of invention" by the speed at which schools shifted information sessions and tours into the virtual world. Now that schools have figured out how to present and connect with students, virtual tours may become "standard operating procedure" and be a resource to maximize.

If you were planning on visiting colleges this spring or next summer, your plans might feel a little up in the air, but seeing and learning about schools doesn't have to come to a full-stop. Plan B is signing up for virtual tours. As a first step, visit the Admissions page on each college's website to find what virtual resources are offered and when. Many colleges already have virtual information sessions, tours, and ways to connect with admission reps and students. Next step, SIGN UP! If you want an even better sense of a school, check out their social media feeds like Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube channel.

The University of Michigan may not be a college on your radar, but I thought I would check out what Virtual Resources they offered. I was happy to find links for Information Sessions, Take a Virtual Tour, Watch YouTube Victors, and Find Your Counselor. Of course, I will be checking back for any updates, and you should do that as well for colleges you are exploring.

Navigating a college's website can provide clues to how easy it may be to navigate that campus. Of course, don't rule out a school merely based on their website, as some schools may require more time to peel through multilayers due to the number of programs, robust resources, and other schools prefer to streamline their online presence. While visiting colleges virtually doesn't have the same appeal as visiting in-person, you can learn a lot about a school based on what information is presented, how it is presented, and how easy it is to sign up and find additional information. Whether you're starting your college journey, in the middle of it, or trying to decide which college to attend, it's time to get virtual visits on your calendar.

Click here for tips on How to Maximize Touring Colleges Virtually.

What else can you do right now?

  • Stay the course by doing your best in school. Get enough sleep, food, exercise, and fun -which might involve getting creative

  • If your summer plans seem a little up in the air, start investigating what other options are available, so you have a Plan A, B, or C.

  • If cabin fever has taken hold, and you are ready to turn this historical moment into something different, this might be the perfect time to explore and discover new activities or return to a favorite hobby that had been put on hold.

  • Think about what you want your school experience to look like. Is it time to connect with your teachers beyond class or engage in new activities in or outside of school?

Visit the College Resources & Books for College Fairs, Virtual College Tours, and other resources.

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