Searching for Colleges During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Just because college campuses are closed to visitors does not mean students shouldn’t be diligent in researching schools and learning about what schools may interest them. Juniors, let’s use this time wisely to utilize different resources to “cast a wider net” in the ways you virtually explore colleges to get a head start on building your college list.
A school’s website is the first place to start your “virtual journey.” Every college website is set up a little differently, with some, like Clemson’s, being more “user friendly” than others, but with a little patience and digging around, you’ll be able to find what you are looking for on any school’s site.
Aside from their websites, colleges are using technology in innovative ways to engage remotely with prospective students. Some have live virtual campus tours, virtual information sessions, and academic department tours. Others have had current students write blog posts about their experiences at a school. Admissions offices are brainstorming different ways to connect with students, so keep checking colleges where you have an interest.
As always, we recommend signing up for emails from the schools that interest you as well as following them on Twitter or Instagram to show your demonstrated interest. But now is the time to dig a little deeper into social media accounts! Do you plan on studying marine biology or playing club field hockey? Search around for social media accounts relating to your interests. This will provide you with a more “organic” view of the school that is not filtered with a “purposeful” recruitment message. We also recommend looking into the school’s newspaper and alumni magazine to learn more about what’s happening on campus for an authentic view of issues facing the school.
Besides a school’s official page, there are a number of websites devoted to helping prospective students learn more about a school.
- Campustours.com: This site has video tours of college campuses, student videos, interactive campus maps, and mobile walking tours.
- Youniversitytv.com: This tells you where a school is located, its size, admission stats, popular majors, housing options, sports teams, and activities.
- Campusreel.org: This site gives an honest and authentic perspective about a school from student ambassadors who tape themselves at different places on campus. It also has virtual reality!
- Ecampustours.com: This provides 360° views of different places on campus. Unlike other sites, you can see the interior of buildings up close. It also has maps of campuses.
- Collegedata.com: This site provides statistics about admissions requirements and class size as well as other straightforward data.
YouTube is a great resource to watch videos about colleges to give you a feel of whether a school is right for you. Some of these videos are produced by students themselves, and others are “review” or “why I chose X college.”
One thing that hasn’t changed with this pandemic is that colleges still want and need students to attend their schools! We encourage you to look up and reach out to the college “rep” for each of the schools that interest you. They should be more than happy to tell you about their school and answer any questions you may have.
While learning about colleges through websites, Instagram posts or email exchanges can’t replace that feeling of walking through a quad or seeing state-of-the-art science labs, these resources will provide a sense of the community on campuses.
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