Campus Library at the University of Utah

Virtual Tours: The New Way to See if a Campus is Right for You

The current COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the college admission process in a multitude of ways. One of the biggest questions on both the minds of students and educators is what to do about campus tours. In the age of social-distancing, prospective students are no longer able to tour campuses and get the crucial understanding of what it might actually be like to attend college. Campus tours are essential not only because students experience the life of a college student first-hand, but so universities can keep track of who has visited their campus to get a feel for their level of interest.

So, how do students and schools address the issue of campus tours in the age of quarantine?

Many colleges have created virtual campus tours, which students can register for online. Just like scheduling physical, on-campus tours, the schools keep track of which students attend their virtual tours, so it’s important that prospective students enhance their presence by signing up in advance. While virtual tours might not be nearly as exciting as walking around a quad or visiting the library, it’s impossible to know when schools may open back up. So, getting a feel for the campus through a virtual tour is necessary for understanding what college life might look like, and how it could differ from school to school.

When preparing for a virtual tour, there are a few things students and parents should keep in mind. First of all, most colleges have set up their virtual tours to be just as interactive as physical ones; students will have the chance to meet with current students or admissions representatives and ask questions.

It’s important to stand out on these tours; remember, schools love prospective students who show demonstrated interest. To that end, make sure to have some specific questions ready, and be certain that these questions are crucial to understanding how life works on each campus. The point of a college tour is to decide whether or not a school will be a good fit, so it’s important that students ask questions specific to his or her own experience. Some example questions include; What do students like most about your school? and What is the biggest complaint from students? Before asking a question, students should introduce themselves and say where they’re from and what grade they’re in. Don’t be shy; campus tour guides are happy to answer any and all questions students and parents might have!

Campus tours are a fun and informative activity that’s invaluable in helping students narrow their college lists. Even in the age of COVID, students should put touring campuses at the top of their college admission checklist. Campus tours are just as important and informative over Zoom as they are in person. So, get online and sign up for one! 

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