If you’re starting your college exploration phase now (highly recommended for Grades 9 & 10 graders, and especially critical for Grade 11 students), you may be overwhelmed with the process of planning visits. Either based on your schedule or budget, visiting all the campuses you are interested in just simply may not happen! But have no fear! One of the silver linings of the pandemic has been that all colleges and universities have created robust virtual visit options. From live tour options (where a walking tour is led by a tour guide and you follow along as if you were walking right alongside them), to live and record Admission Information Sessions, the internet is a great way to get your search going. A few recommendations:
1. Set a plan: Almost as if you were going to drive or fly somewhere, plan a day or a couple of days where you will “tour colleges.” It’s easy to say “yeah, I’ll do that virtual tour later” and come to find, months have gone by, and you haven’t done it at all (don’t worry, it happens to the best of us!). You can map it out in geographic areas, for example - “Next Sunday I will tour 3 Northeast Colleges,” and then block out that time in your calendar to do this!
2. Register online for tours and info sessions. This serves two purposes - a) it holds you accountable to your plan to attend these events, and b) for certain schools which may value demonstrated interest. This is a soft way of showing your interest early on. Simply go to your college’s tour page and look for the Virtual Tour options. For example: Trinity College Johns Hopkins University
3. Set a goal: What do you want to do ultimately? Setting an attainable goal will help keep you focused: for example, “I plan to “visit” at least six colleges by the end of this month.”
4. Take notes: Using your powers of imagination, pretend as if you ARE on campus and take notes on what you learn about each campus. I highly recommend this College Visit Checklist that you can use as you watch a virtual tour about each campus.
Another great resource is this NYTimes article highlighting how to choose colleges through Virtual Tours.
Good luck and Happy Touring!
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