So, you can’t visit colleges in person. Maybe you’re looking at too many schools to visit them all physically. Maybe you don’t have the time and money to travel to some of the campuses you want to visit. Or maybe the school isn’t letting visitors onto campus because of the ongoing global pandemic （If you’re reading this after the COVID-19 pandemic is over - what’s it like? Is it nice? I bet it’s nice. I never thought I’d miss Costco.)
For whatever reason, you can’t visit your dream university campus. Thankfully, through the miracle of technology, you can now tour university campuses virtually! But virtual campus tours are very different from in-person tours. So how do you go about using a virtual college tour to help you choose which college you want to attend?
Well, first thing’s first, look around! One benefit to virtual campus tours is that unlike in-person tours, most of the time you can go at your own pace. So, take your time! Look around, peer into every cafeteria, classroom, and courtyard that that a 360 photo exists of. If you can’t see the campus in person, make sure that you see absolutely every bit of it that you can through a virtual college tour.
If you can, take your virtual tour in VR. It can be really hard to get the feel of a campus from a 2D screen. Thankfully, a lot of schools are aware of the difficulty of going without a school tour and have added VR tour options. And don’t worry if you don’t have a VR headset! This is something that schools and virtual campus tour companies have planned for. Your phone can be turned into a VR headset with an inexpensive addition like the Google Cardboard.
Find another way to get the full virtual campus tour experience. One of the biggest helps of an in-person tour is getting to ask questions of a student currently attending the school. Unfortunately, a lot of digital tours can’t really include this. But schools are finding other ways to answer your questions. Look up FAQs. Attend information sessions. See if the school is offering mentorship programs and can connect you with a student, a campus ambassador, or an alumnus who can answer all of your questions. Just because you can’t be there in person doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get all of your questions answered. Ways exist- find them!
It’s a really weird time to be doing this. This is a really daunting decision under the best of circumstances, and we passed “best” nine months ago. The good thing is that colleges recognize that and are doing everything they can to help. While the “normal” is on an indefinite hiatus, there are more digital resources than ever. Take your time, ask your questions, go on virtual campus tours. Find the information that you need to make the best decision for yourself and your future. It’s out there, I promise.