The timing couldn’t be worse. Juniors visit college campuses during the spring in anticipation of compiling their college application lists. April is the most popular month for seniors to tour campuses where they have been admitted, eventually choosing their home for the next four years. COVID-19 has turned everything on its head, creating unprecedented challenges for families and colleges alike. How can families take advantage of online opportunities to learn about college campuses?
Here are 6 tips on making the most of virtual college visits:
1. Check out the Office of Admission website.
Colleges are just as bummed to be missing your in-person visit as you are. This is typically when colleges roll out the red carpet for prospective students, hoping to “yield” seniors with panel-packed open houses. Be sure to check the Office of Admission website first to review their online offerings, including tours, information sessions, and webinars. It’s also a good idea to connect with the admission counselor responsible for applications from your region.
2. View videos on the university’s official YouTube station.
From research and campus speakers, to updates on what’s happening on campus, the university’s official YouTube station can present a treasure trove of content. It can be a great way to see how the campus engages its local community as well.
3. Supplement official videos with student-produced content.
Even though you should check out the Office of Admission website and official YouTube station, realize these could present an overly-marketed view of the college. Look for videos and content produced by students and student organizations.
4. Connect with faculty.
If you have some ideas about what you’d like to major in, reach out to faculty in those departments who are doing research related to your interests. They will be excited to hear from you, as it is also in their best interests to showcase their work for prospective students. When you’re eventually allowed to visit campus, these faculty can be a great resource for you.
5. Leverage your high school’s alumni network.
Since you’re unable to connect with students during an in-person campus visit, now is a good time to search social media to see who from your high school is currently enrolled at the colleges on your list. These acquaintances can provide first-hand insight into the pros and cons of the college/university as well as give you ideas about the transition from high school to their particular college.
6. Stay informed.
As you research campuses from the comfort of your home, frequently check colleges’ websites for updated information about campus visits. Colleges are eager to have you visit in-person and will let you know when it is safe to do so. Plus, all of the homework you’re doing in advance will make you a savvier campus visitor!
Interested in chatting with a former Associate Dean of Admission and Director of Selection about the college admissions landscape?
Please consider Emily Nevinger a resource as you compile your college lists or decide where to enroll. Emily can set up virtual appointments to discuss what is important about your college search and offer strategic, personalized advice about your best fit. Contact Emily for details.
Emily NevingerEmily is Associate Director of Admissions and College Advising Consultant at Allendale Columbia School. After serving as the Interim College Advisor in Fall 2018, Emily took on a role to offer students and families outside AC with guidance in the college admissions process. Her role has since expanded to the Admissions team, where she helps prospective families learn more about AC's innovative education. Emily joined AC from Emory University where she directed the selection process for more than 20,000 freshmen candidates each year. She started working at the university level in 2003 and was a senior member of the admission committees for University of Miami, Emory University, and UNC Chapel Hill. Emily holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University, a Master of Higher Education Administration and Enrollment Management from the University of Miami, and a Certificate in College Access Counseling from Rice University.
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