We don’t have time or money to visit some schools I’m really interested in. What can I do?
Yes visits are great – but – you need to be aware that sometimes visiting means falling in love – not a good idea before you know if you are a realistic candidate academically and financially. My suggestion: do a few local and easily done visits to have some basis for your decision making. Then, when you have narrowed it down to 2 or 3 schools to which you have been admitted and know you can handle financially, arrange a visit. If necessary ask the school about any program they may have to assist families with the cost of a visit.
Unbeknownst to most families, many colleges offer fly-in programs for students with need. It’s worth a call to the admissions office to see if they can give you a free flight. Be aware, though, that some of these programs are offered after you’ve been accepted –to help you make a decision. Meanwhile, consider purchasing a handful of college tour videos from Collegiate Choice Walking Tours. Filmed by independent college advisors, these no-frill DVDs follow student-guides across campuses as they comment on the college and the student culture. It’s an inexpensive way to gather valuable information.
Start by visiting a few colleges close to home–one in the city, one in a smaller town, a large campus, and a smaller campus. These preliminary college visits will help you discover the type of campus culture that will best suit you. Many students don’t have the opportunity to visit all the colleges that interest them. Fortunately, virtual tours are available on a number of websites including most college sites. Many colleges will have a student call, skype, or email you if you’re interested in learning more about campus life. It’s a great idea to visit a college before you commit to attending, if at all possible
Yes, it is ideal if you can visit each college in person, but through the power of the internet, you can still “see” each campus and meet some of the people there. To get a quick overview, go to www.youniversitytv.com. They have professional videos of hundreds of schools, and many also have student videos posted. Another site to consider is www.collegeweeklive.com. They have virtual college tours, college fairs, and ways to connect with current students at the schools you find appealing. Sign up and start touring!
Kids frequently get into colleges they don’t visit, yet colleges take demonstrated interest very seriously. You are lucky as many colleges send representatives to visit schools, college fairs, and hotels in your area. ATTEND!!! Ask questions and introduce yourself. Get the representative’s card. Send an email explaining what you learned, offering more about yourself, and asking a detailed question that requires a response. Request an alumni interview and “like” the college on FB. Talk with friends who attend that college. Finally, spend great care with an essay asking you to describe why you and a college are a good match.
You were blessed to be born in the age of the internet. Check for the availability of local cultural events – sports, the arts – whatever appeals to you. And don’t forget the local climate and physical layout. Go online to the weather service and take a look at average temperatures and precipitation for every month of the year then compare to your home. Want to see the whole campus or local town, use Google Earth and tour wherever you want. A virtual visit to the college and area is always at your fingertips!
Visiting colleges online is the next best thing to an actual visit. Most colleges provide tours of their campuses online. But, dig deeper. Use social media to find current students at the college. Ask some of these students what the college is really like. Try emailing a few questions to professors from a department in which you might want to major. Their answers will tell you something about the kind of contact you might with the faculty. Read the student newspaper online to find out what issues are important on that campus. Your virtual visit can provide all sorts of helpful information.
One step in choosing a college should involve a visit to the college. A student should utilize online tours located on the college website, contact admission personnel to see if they can provide a list of students that they can speak to, and call local chambers of commerce in order to ask specific questions about the college and surrounding area. Also start planning early – 8th or 9th grade – and visit colleges during family travels, even if you don’t plan on going to the college. The more campuses you see, the easier it is to make comparisons.
If you can’t visit, you can gather plenty of information through the college’s website, its Facebook page, comments on Unigo and College Prowler, and traditional guidebooks. Also, talk with family, friends, teachers and employers to find out what they may know about the college. Let the admissions office know all that you’re doing to gather information and if cost is a significant deterrent to your visit, ask if there are any opportunities for assistance with travel cost. If not, ask the admissions office if it’s possible to arrange a Skype conversation or interview with someone on staff. You’ll learn more and you’ll convey initiative!
There are lots of options here. Obviously, check out Unigo’s resource of campus videos, but also consider pouring through each school’s official website as well as their Facbook page. Additionally, follow the schools on Twitter and interact with them on occasion, asking questions about your interests. Use the internet to your advantage; make yourself known as someone who definitely wants to become engaged with others. You might actually learn more than you would on a campus visit.
Visiting a campus in person is one way to experience how a community operates. Some colleges and universities offer funding to help students visit campus, either before you apply or after you are admitted. You might want to contact colleges to see if you’ll qualify for one of these programs. However, visiting is not the only way to connect with a campus! Social media can help you “visit” a campus without actually traveling there. Webinars, video chats, Facebook groups and YouTube channels can all help you experience the community and start a conversation with people on campus
All the time I hear students say they knew they wanted to attend a particular college the minute they stepped foot on campus. You can read all about a college, but often it’s not until you are on campus that you can tell if it’s the right fit for you. Make sure to invest time in the decision up front, because transferring colleges later can lead to a lot of extra work in addition to managing your academic load. If money is the issue, see if your college of choice has a budget to assist students who can’t afford travel expenses.
While you may be itching to spread your wings in a new part of the country, consider learning more about your college priorities by first visiting colleges near your home. Visiting local colleges allows you to better understand the types of college environments that you prefer, while conserving your family’s financial resources as you explore. You might also discover new college options that you haven’t considered previously.
Ask the admissions office for a student or faculty member email address. Many questions can be answered remotely. Some colleges will assist with travel costs, e.g. train or bus fare-but you need to ask! At the very least visit schools near home that have similar qualities to those you’re looking at.
Absolutely nothing can replace a visit to a college campus for a prospective student. Experiencing the student culture, academic compatibility, and true match can best help determine your interest level. If you are unable to get on a campus then try pulling out your mobile device for your college searches. More campuses are setting up apps where students can get a tour and information right at the touch of a smart phone screen. Colleges are catering to students that use their mobile devices as a source of information and connection.
While you are exploring colleges, do your research online—virtual tours, online forums, and social media all will help you check out each school’s vibe. But before you commit four years and many thousands of dollars to a school, you need to experience the campus and people in person. Schedule visits to your top picks, taking advantage of discount travel website deals. Schools may help you economize with shuttles from the airport and meals in cafeterias. Many colleges will allow you to stay in a dorm overnight, and some even provide a transportation allowance for students with financial need…be sure to ask!
There are many ways to learn about life on a college campus other than making a college visit. The computer offers many possibilities. You can access the online student newspaper and read it frequently to get an idea of student life and campus issues. Contact some of the students on Facebook that are attending that college and ask them about their experience at the college. You can also contact students in a specific department who are majoring in the area that you want to pursue. There are also many colleges that offer blogs on their website where you can learn about first-year student life at a college.
This is a very common question especially when you are interested in schools that are not close to home. If you can’t visit, you should take advantage of the online resources available to you. Most schools will have virtual tours on their websites. These tours are usually quick and showcase the places the college or university wants you to see such as a new building or a sparkling athletic facility. If you feel that the school’s virtual tour did not provide you with a real “feel” for the campus and the student population, check out College Confidential, College Prowler and Campus Tours. Each has reviews, videos, and testimonials from current students. You can also browse videos and chat with current students right here on Unigo. In the end, there are plenty of online resources at your disposal. Spend the time with them so you get to know these schools and can make an informed decision about whether or not any of them could be the right one for you.
Use the Internet, and the telephone, to gather information. College websites are very informative, and may even include a virtual tour. Call or email the admissions office for printed materials, and ask them to connect you with students and faculty if possible so that you can meet them “virtually.”
The next best thing to visiting colleges in person would be to use the internet. Each college has it’s own section where students describe their opinions about the school. If you want the real scoop, however, best to visit www.unigo.com and to attend live or recorded segments on www.collegeweeklive.com.
It’s important to visit colleges because it will help you understand the school better. However, you don’t need to visit the campus in order to accomplish this goal. Here are some other ways for you to learn about a school that don’t involve taking a trip to campus. 1) Virtual Tours – Many colleges offer a virtual tour on their website. Alternatively, head over to Youtube and see if there are any tours posted there. 2) Student blogs – Admissions offices often have current students keep a blog on their website. Reading those is a great way to learn about current students. 3) Youtube! – In addition to tours, many colleges have their own Youtube channel with a whole range of videos about individual departments, athletics, student life, etc. You can also search for unofficial videos posted by students to see what they’re interested in. 4) Go to an event in your area – Many colleges host admissions events around the country and the world, sometimes including the opportunity to meet one-on-one with an admissions counselor. Contact the admissions office to find out if they will be visiting your area. 5) Reach out to current students – Through the admissions office, or through a club or activity that you’re interested in, reach out to a current student and start a correspondence. That way, you can ask them what it’s like to “really” be a student there. 6) The student newspaper – These days, many student newspapers are posted online. Look up the student newspaper for colleges you’re interested in and read them online. It will give you a sense of what’s going on around campus and what matters to students most. With just a bit of creativity, there are lots of ways to learn about colleges beyond simply visiting the website and reading a guidebook!
You can do quite a few things to get to know schools you’re interested in: 1. Talk to your high school counselor. He/she has years of experience matching students to the right university.
2. Scour the university website. There’s actually quite a bit of info there that most people don’t read. Read everything related to the department/major you’re interested in. You’ll get tips on what the school finds important as they read your application (hint, hint).
3. Take a look at university Facebook and Twitter pages. You’ll get a glimpse of what is happening now and how other students are reacting to it.
4. Ask your parents if they have friends/co-workers who are alumni.
5. Contact the admissions office and setup a time to ask questions.
6. Check out local college fairs.
College officers understand that not everyone can visit colleges. Between plane fare, rental cars and hotel stays, it can get costly. Students can visit colleges in their area to get an idea of college life and what they would like. Many college representatives travel and provide needed information during college nights. Attend college fairs to meet college reps and get questions answered. Do research on the internet as most colleges have thorough websites with information. Speak to other students and know that social media is active at colleges with online chats, interviews and webinars. Lots of information will make your eventual decision that much easier.
With the cost of gas, it’s no wonder families are begging off tours. Yet, admissions deans are increasingly adamant that if you’re within reasonable distance, you must visit or risk being rejected for lack of “demonstrated interest.” So what can you do? Visit virtually. And don’t limit these visits to large umbrella websites with ads. Take advantage of online resources but also be aware of places to show interest: get on mailing lists, “Like” Facebook pages and comment sometimes, attend college fairs and regional or school-based events, or follow admissions blogs. Be a wise consumer and understand that colleges tightly control their images.
Visit online. Talk to current students and faculty. Speak with alumni. Investigate through print and electronic media. Ask your college counselor. Ask former students at your high school who now attend a college or university you are considering. The cost of visiting a college you are considering largely consists of the cost of travel and lodging and food while in the area. Figure out the schools you really want to experience and then figure out your budget for visiting. Make your budget go a long way by being efficient and creative.
Technology, though not a complete substitute, can be very helpful in giving one a sense of a campus if a visit to the campus is not possible. As you investigate a college, visit the college’s web site, take the virtual tour and view any available videos. Read student blogs. Finally, after doing these things, you might schedule a web assisted telephone conversation with a member of the admission staff. During that conversation you can discuss specific programs, both academic and co-curricular, in which you have an interest and review them while consulting the college’s web site.
Attend college fairs, speak to representatives, take a virtual tour and ask your high school to host an Alumni Day. When former students come back for a visit, you get an inside view through their eyes of the college experience at different campuses. Additionally, after you get your admissions decisions, see where you get accepted and ask the schools if they can provide you with transportation to visit. Visiting a campus is absolutely the best way to see if it feels right for you. If you can’t do that, many schools offer “Ask a student” questions. It’s an opportunity for you to communicate through the website and get some of your questions answered.
There are cheap and less time-consuming alternatives to campus visits that will develop your familiarity with colleges and increase your chances of admission. Conduct research on specific college Web sites, student reviews sites like unigo.com, and in college guidebooks. Then, armed with more knowledge, reach out by email or phone to college admissions officers at the colleges that most intrigue you. Introduce yourself and ask questions that you could not find answers to online. You will learn a lot and impress college reps at the same time. Once accepted, though, make every effort to visit before picking a college.
If you are interested in visiting colleges but your family doesn’t have the time or money, you can “virtually visit”. To see the school, go to the school’s website and check out its videos and photos on other sites such as: www.unigo.com; http://www.youniversitytv.com/; www.Cappex.com; www.Facebook.com; www.Twitter.com; www.YouTube.com; www.goseecampus.com. To get honest answers to questions from students who go there, simply visit: www.unigo.com; www.collegeconfidential.com; www.collegeprowler.com; http://studentsreview.com/; www.Zinch.com. You don’t have to leave your home to “visit” the colleges of your choice!
Be creative and connect it with vacation trips, or “buddy-up” with friends, with parental approval of course, during school breaks or weekends. The visits don’t have to always be a family-bonding event. Scheduling independent visits can sometimes offer more travel opportunities. Local alumni associations and mentoring organizations sponsor group visits to campuses. Explore the technology available with virtual tours, CollegeWeekLive, and UNIGO. If cost is a concern, explore colleges with fly-in programs. Some focus on underrepresented populations, but definitely inquire, since many are open invitations. Many students must be selective with college visits. Since time and funds pose limitations, they must wait to visit after they have been accepted to colleges, in order to make their choice.
There is an iPhone application that will allow you to take a student led tour with a look around the campus, dorms, and dining halls at many colleges. You can use twitter and facebook to interact with admission counselors and get your questions answers. You can look at YouTube videos to access information about different colleges that interest you. You can go to social networking sites to read comments from students who have visited schools and find out what they think. While a college visit is important, it isn’t the only way to find out which schools might be a good fit for you.
Go to sites like Unigo or College Prowler to get inside information, read things like Fiske, Princeton Review and Yale Insiders Guide, talk to graduates, view CD’s/DVD’s.
Once you’ve done your research in the Fiske Guide and The Insider’s Guide, two of the best general sources for information, turn your attention to the school’s website. Many offer links to view student blogs/vlogs, email current faculty, or watch videos of on-campus events. My students like the videos that colleges post on YOUniversitytv.com as they can be valuable in determining a vibe. Check with your college counselor to see if he/she can help you find college-funded visit programs that you might qualify for. Lastly, if you live near any schools that are similar in size, setting, academic rigor, etc. to the ones you aren’t able to visit, use the local schools as a point of comparison. Certainly not all mid-size, urban schools with D1 sports are the same, but if you find things you like locally, you can investigate whether or not the college far away also offers those things.
One recommendation is to visit colleges closer to home that are similar to those you are considering but cannot visit. If you are interested in Urban U. on the other side of the country, tour a city central campus in your home state first to see what you think of that environment. Also, visit virtually through websites, such as Unigo, and college guidebooks. The trick is to look for those resources, which list more than statistics and instead go behind the scenes to relay students’ experiences and impressions. Then, with your college list narrowed down, apply and plan on visiting your favorites once you get accepted.
If you’ve never toured a college campus, start close to home. Practice your tour-taking skills by visiting different types of local institutions, including small liberal arts colleges, large public universities, or Jesuit colleges. Then use your reactions to help you decide which colleges in other parts of the country might be good matches. Gather information using online resources such as virtual campus tours (for example, unigo.com and campustours.com), chat sessions with student ambassadors (try CollegeWeekLive.com), and college newspapers (find links on greekspot.com/collegenews). Once you’ve received your admission offers, visit your top two or three choices before making your final decision.
Why does visiting matter to some colleges? Because, they have found that if a student cannot seem to find the time to visit, chances are they will not attend, even if they are admitted. So, first off, ask admissions: Does demonstrating interest factor into your decision-making? If the answer is yes, you need to communicate your interest in another way: talk with the admissions staff when they visit your high school or at a college fair; send an e-mail explaining why you cannot visit; register for an alumni interview; ask your high school counselor to advocate on your behalf. Most of all, in your application, answer the “Why Us” essay with plenty of detail and thought.
Many students can’t visit their top college choices until they have been admitted. So if you have difficulty visiting before you apply, consider these tips to get a feel for the campus. While you are exploring websites, be sure to look at the pages of departments that interest you. If you have questions that a faculty member can answer, think about emailing them directly. Attend a local reception for colleges outside your area. These receptions often include faculty, current students or very recent grads, and admissions staff. It’s closest you can get to the real deal and vital to determining good match.
The Internet is a phenomenal resource when it comes to researching college campuses. Most schools will have in-depth virtual tours as well as videos, photos and interactive websites that help you get a feel for student life at a particular institution – exhaustively explore the school’s website! And don’t hesitate to make phone calls, send e-mails or leverage different types of social media to connect with the school’s students, staff and faculty. Also, consider visiting a similar type of school (large research, small liberal arts, etc.) that’s close to you. This can save you time and money while still giving you at least a general sense of what a type of university is like. College visits can be great, but these strategies may help you find the best social, academic and financial college fit when you can’t make them.
Nothing beats the feel of a college campus. A student can picture a school or want to attend because of a school’s supposed strengths or look and feel, but a visit is a key deciding factor. Sometimes, however, time, distance or money limits the ability to visit. What can you do? Thanks to technology, colleges can help students who just can’t get to campus. College websites keep on improving. They often include virtual tours and numerous pictures. Blogs, though sometimes overdone, can be most helpful. I often enjoy taking a look at blogs by undergrads and admissions officers. They can really offer some insight on the mindset of the student body as well as the factors admissions officers look at when making their decisions. One blog that comes to mind is that of William & Mary, where the admissions officers always seem to have fun. One year, they were even dancing! Depending on where a student lives, there are other options. These include college fairs and college visits at the student’s school or nearby. I have students who meet area reps in local cafes and really enjoy the opportunity to get to know more about that college while the rep gets to know the student. Also, alumni in the area often contact students for interviews and are great sources of information. So time or money shoudn’t get in the way of great research.
All too often families jump in a car (or worse fly across the country) on a bit of whim, “assuming” a college will be a great fit. If a student hasn’t already researched a college and determined that it is “worthy” of a campus visit than these visits can turn out to be an expensive waste of everyone’s time. I ask all of my students to read the student reviews on Unigo (www.unigo.com), watch the virtual campus tours on www.youniversitytv.com, read the college guidebook and then complete a form that asks them a variety of “fit” related questions. Visits are much more pleasant and much more valuable thanks to their due diligence.
College websites are loaded with a plethora of valuable info…including their school philosophy/mission, majors offered, clubs/organizations, housing, and of course, the prospective student admissions process. Plan to spend some time learning as much as you can to know if you could see yourself on THAT campus for four years or more. Many sites will let you contact them/admissions, ask alum questions, or watch a YouTube of current students’ experience. Don’t forget to find the tab to request more info to be sent to you via email or mail, and check out their school colors you may choose to adorn as a freshman!
While there is no substitute for actually visiting a school, modern technology has made it possible to get very good sense of a school–at least as a way to gauge initial interest. Virtual tours and a wide range of online presentation offer a nice window into the physical aspects of a campus. At the same time, they can never recreate the human dimension that is such a large part of the residential college experience. Too, for all that visiting may reveal, much of the important core information–like course options, available majors, lists of professors, etc. –are usually well presented and readily available on school websites or in any number of publications. In the end, the value of the visit depends, like so much in the search process, in no small part on what the individual student is looking for and how they use it.
When you are unable to visit some of the schools on your list, here are some alternatives.
Attend local and regional college fairs put on by NACAC. You will have an opportunity to meet college representatives and ask questions. Many schools offer visits during the school day from college admissions staff. This is an excellent way to meet face to face with someone who may be the person actually reading your application.
There are some virtual tours available through sites such as youniversitytv.com and collegeweeklive.com
Once accepted try to find a way to visit the school before finalizing your decision. There are usually day long programs for accepted students.
many schools offer online tour and college fairs on locations.
some schools may offer airline tickets to accepted students if you are willing to ask.
Does the school have an online college newspaper? Read it. Is there a printed newspaper? Subscribe to it. Is there a college radio station? Listen to it. Can you go on a virtual college visit? Start with the college’s website and then look for other sources as well. How can you demonstrate your interest without visiting? Contact admissions and ask insightful questions about specific programs. Ask admissions if you can email a student ambassador.
Visiting college campuses is important for two reasons: it allows you to evaluate how well that school “fits” you and it shows the colleges that you might say yes, if they accept you ! Signs of interest from applicants has become one of the determining factors when colleges make their admissions decisions now. Thus you need to find alternate ways of judging campuses, whether through reading their viewbooks, websites, and guidebooks as well as visiting websites such as Unigo. You also need to show your colleges that you are a serious applicant. Hence you need to reach out to them, whether thru emailing admissions with questions, having interviews locally (often with alumni) and attending open houses.
You can start by going to the website for that college and find out when an admissions representative will be in your area. Be sure to go to that meeting with your questions for the rep. Ask the college to mail you brochures. Talk to alumni who have gone to the college. Finally, some colleges will pay for your airfare if you’re a worthy candidate.
If visiting a campus is an impossibility for you, there are still many ways to get a good feel for whether the school is for you. All you have to do is reach out. Contact the Admissions Office and explain your situation. Often, depending on the school, location, etc., there will be some sort of presentation going on, at some time, within a comfortable driving distance. You can also ask to have a recent graduate of the school give you a call. If you’re interested in a specific College within a University, ring them up. Make an appointment to chat and prepare a series of questions. Everyone who works at a college understands that if there is no freshman class, they have nothing to do. So the cooperation level is usually quite high. Word of caution: All of this takes time so start early.
there are still many resources to help you get a good sense of what the school is like! One of my favorite sources to refer students to is this website. Whether it’s the student reviews or short video clips, it’s fantastic that prospective students can see a college up close, even if they can’t set foot on that campus before their applications are due! I always recommend students try to visit as many types of campuses before finalizing a college list – even if they aren’t the same ones they are thinking about applying to. If you live by a college, or on vacation near a college campus, check out a local school – or several! In our area of Los Angeles, we have large public universities like UCLA, UC Irvine and UC San Diego, small private schools like Occidental and the Claremont McKenna consortium of colleges, mid-sized schools like Loyola Marymount and Chapman and even larger private colleges, like USC. Visiting for a few hours and taking a tour can also give you a good perspective on whether you might feel comfortable at that type of school. Visiting schools while classes aren’t in session isn’t always ideal, but often the only time students can see a school.
Many schools will offer students “fly in Visits”
Stay connected via email. Learn more about the schools at college fairs and school representative visits.
The first thing you can do is all the research you can about the college on the web. Next if possible attend a college fair in your local area to visit with a representative. Take a virtual tour online, perhaps use College Week Live, and e-mail an admissions person at the college with any questions you have. If you like what you know about the place, then apply. If accepted, then you really need to find the time to visit. Most colleges have Accepted Students days, and some will even fly you in if it is an economic necessity. If that does not work, then your best option is to attend the accepted students reception in your area. In any event, keep in touch with the admissions office at the college.
Schools understand that it isn’t always possible to visit in person. Still, that is no excuse for not learning your way around campus. Ask to speak to/email a current student, alumnus, faculty member and definitely an admissions rep. Learn all you can from the school’s website, Unigo’s website, view books and conversations with anyone familiar with the institution. If an admissions counselor visits your school, absolutely make an appointment to connect. Make thoughtful and valid inquiries regarding aspects of the program/school that you can’t find the answers to on your own. By digging a little deeper and going the extra mile researching what the campus has to offer, not only will you impress the committee, but you’ll be ready to work as a tour guide once you’re admitted!
With the gift of the World Wide Web you can learn so much about an institution before applying that it makes sense to “visit” as many as possible through the internet. Narrow your choices down based upon the research you do and plan to visit those to which you are admitted. Visits then are very important-would you buy a car without driving it?
In addition to studying schools’ websites, you can also obtain student perspectives on colleges by going on sites such as Unigo and College Prowler. You can also make sure to contact the admissions offices of the schools in which you are interested to find out if and when admissions officers will be coming to your region for school visits and college fairs. In this day and age when colleges are broadening their search for students — many will come to you!
The college entrance process can be very, very expensive. There are SAT or ACT tests to pay for, application fees, the cost of purchasing study materials and review programs to finance. How can I afford to visit all of the colleges on my list? Why not start by taking the virtual tours on the colleges own websites? Most colleges have great promotional videos to show you. Or vist the following websites for an “insider view” of the college: http://www.youniversitytv.com/ or www.yourcampus360.com/ for a first time view? This will give you a sense of whether you want to investigate the college further and begin to provide you with some interesting facts about the college for your databank.
Go on a group tour that visits a variety of schools. A group tour will provide essential campus visits for experiential learning about what makes a good fit. Group tours are a financially feasible way to visit a number of schools. After a student has determined what elements add up to a good personal academic, social and financial fit then the student will be able to craft a more informed list. Some schools that the student thought they were interested in may come off the list. Next attend college fairs to speak with admissions representatives from schools you are interested in and find out if they are planning to your high school. Ask to speak with current students or young alumni, a professor in a department that you are interested in, does the school offer a skype interview? These are ways to determine if a school that you are interested in will truly be a good fit and show a demonstrated interest. A few schools will fly in students.
Schools understand that it isn’t always possible to visit in person. Still, that is no excuse for not learning your way around campus. Ask to speak to/email a current student, alumnus, faculty member and definitely an admissions rep. Learn all you can from the website, view books and conversations with anyone familiar with the institution. If an admissions counselor visits your school, absolutely make an appointment to connect. Make thoughtful and valid inquiries regarding aspects of the program/school that you can’t find the answers to on your own. By digging a little deeper and going the extra mile researching what the campus has to offer, not only will you impress the committee, but you’ll be ready to work as a tour guide once you’re admitted!
Of course, actually being on the campuses of the schools you’re interested in is the very best way to get a feel for the school, but this is often not logistically or financially possible. Other things that you can do are view videos that are made available from independent sources about some of the schools, establish contact with people who attended the school, talk to a college advisor who has visited the schools, read the college profiles which appear in a variety of publications, thoroughly explore the websites of the institutions, and carefully review the marketing material which you receive from the schools, keeping in mind that it IS marketing material. Something you might consider is going on one of the college visit tours for students that various organizations offer. Although the price may seem expensive at first, it is actually much more reasonable than planning to take the whole family on a private college tour. (I know that from personal experience.)
Of course, actually being on the campuses of the schools you’re interested in is the very best way to get a feel for the school, but this is often not logistically or financially possible. Other things that you can do are view videos about schools that are made available from independent sources, establish contact with people who attended the school, talk to a college advisor who has visited the schools, read the college profiles which appear in a variety of publications, thoroughly explore the websites of the institutions, and carefully review the marketing material which you receive from the schools, keeping in mind that it IS marketing material. Something you might consider is going on one of the college visit tours for students offered by various organizations. Although the price may seem expensive at first, it is actually much more reasonable than planning to take the whole family on a private college tour. (I know that from personal experience.)
If you do not have time, then, regrettably, the fault is yours alone. Campus visits can begin causally as an add-on to a family road trip or a parent’s reunion. You jeopardize your admissions chances if you do not visit your top choice schools.
If you have applied for a fee waiver for applications, then it is understandable that you may not be able to afford traveling distances, so begin with day trips to ascertain what types of institutions you prefer.
PS Jetblue for the past two years has offered a promotion of unlimited air travel between certain autumn dates for a meager price. Look out for this offer in the future and get in as many visits as you can.
If you cannot get to a college or colleges you are interested in, do the next best thing, a virtual tour or a video. Colleges even have admission apps you can download to your phone! It is the next best thing to being there. If you cannot visit before you apply, be sure and touch base with your admission rep at the college (you’ll find them on the admission page of the college website) so they know how interested you are!
Social Media sites to talk to students currently attending or Alumni
The best way to know if a college is the right fit for you is to visit. However if it is impossible, then research as much as possible. Go to the web site, do virtual tours, listen to videos and read up about the college in college guide books.
If you lack the funds to visit a school in which you are interested, you can always contact regional representatives from colleges and universities via e-mail and telephone to let them know of your interest. For colleges that use alumni volunteers, ask to have contact, interviews, and the like from people in your area. Ask if anyone from the staff will be visiting your high school or attending college fairs near where you live. It is best to be honest about not being able to afford visiting for those places that value demonstrated interest, but most value demonstrated interest realistically. Good luck! Darryl
Make sure to speak with your guidance counselor and see if a representative from the school can visit your high school. You can also study the school website and speak with other college students or graduates.
While it is important that you see a school before you commit to going there, it is sometimes the case that students are unable to see the schools that they are interested in before the application process and colleges understand this. However, even if you do not have the resources or time to go see the schools that you are applying to, it is still important that you see a few college campuses so that you can get a better feel for what college life is like and which factors may be important to you in choosing a college. So, what you might want to do is see some schools nearby, even though you have no intention of applying there, because they are close by and easier to get to. You may visit a campus and see a particular program or activity that they have there that you really like and then you can look for that at other campuses. If you can, try to see a large and small campus, a rural/suburban/city campus. These will help you to see what might be the best campus fit for you.
1. Go to the school website. Take a virtual tour.
2. Go to youtube.com. Find the school’s channel. Select videos that could be of interest.
It can be difficult to find time to visit every college that you are interested in, and expensive. If you do plan to travel, try to follow these tips to cut down on the cost:
– Contact the school and see if you can stay overnight with a current student. Mom and dad will still need to stay in a hotel or with local friends and family, but if the student is traveling alone, this is a great way to cut cost.
– Consider asking for a travel scholarship. Several colleges will provide travel scholarships, but you may have to provide additional information on your financial situation. They also may not be willing to provide a travel scholarship until you are admitted.
– Ask for meal vouchers. Many Admissions Office are more than happy to provide free meal vouchers to visitors. Not only will this cut down on your meal expenses, but it will also give you an inside look at the everyday student life at the college. Fact of the matter is that it is important to show interest in the schools that you are applying to. However, there are ways to visit with admissions officers in your hometown. Visit our blog at: http://greatcollegeadvice.com/meeting-with-admission-counselors-in-your-hometown/ for more information. If you are not able to interview at a college, you can always ask for a virtual interview. For tips on the virtual interview process, visit: http://greatcollegeadvice.com/the-virtual-college-admission-interview/ Katherine Price
If you are a senior–it is too late now, but you can still watch You Tube videos and check student opinions on college confidential.
However, if you are a Junior you may want to attend information sessions when these colleges visit your town, visit local colleges that vary in size and diversity: for example if you are interested in Jesuit education, visit a local Jesuit college, attend a class, see how it feels. Some other things that you can do is check with your high school—have some of your HS Alumni attended the college you are interested in? If so, get in touch with them and ask questions. Check college websites, official websites such as College Board’s college match maker, and less formal ones such as college confidential to get some latest gossip.
Everyone has limits on time and financial resources. As a result, it is challenging for most college applicants to see all of their prospective schools. Consider the following options to supplement your campus visits: Attend college fairs and network with college admission officers from your schools of interest
Tour colleges virtually online
Participate in college admission office online chats with current students
Attend college admission officer visits at your local high school
Participate in prospective student gatherings hosted by colleges at local schools, hotels, etc.
It is always best to visit a school before you attend; however, as the number of schools students are applying to increase many families do not have the time or the budget to see them all (some schools offer visit scholarships). If this is the case, you need to build a smarter list and then if possible, visit one or two schools after you are accepted. 1. Start local – determine size (small, med, large), setting (urban, suburban, rual) and location (within a drive home for the weekend or outside that range) by visiting schools that are nearby even if you have no interest in attending. 2. Use virtual tour sites and sites that use student content to get a sense of the look and feel of the school. Being in synch with the campus culture is one of the most important factors for a successful transition. 3. Take into acocunt availibility of financial aid/scholarships at the various schools. 4. Make sure your list includes safety, likely and reach schools that have the academic programs you are interested in. 5. From your acceptance lists, choose your top two schools and do a visit if you can. If a visit is not possible, network with several students who are currently attending.
It is always best to visit a school before you attend; however, as the number of schools students are applying to increase many families do not have the time or the budget to see them all. If this is the case, you need to build a smarter list and then if possible, visit one or two schools after you are accepted. 1. Start local – determine size (small, med, large), setting (urban, suburban, rual) and location (within a drive home for the weekend or outside that range) by visiting schools that are nearby even if you have no interest in attending. 2. Use virtual tour sites and sites that use student content to get a sense of the look and feel of the school. Being in synch with the campus culture is one of the most important factors for a successful transition. 3. Take into acocunt availibility of financial aid/scholarships at the various schools.
4. Make sure your list includes safety, likely and reach schools that have the academic programs you are interested in. 5. From your acceptance lists, choose your top two schools and do a visit if you can. Some schools offer visit scholarships; ask at the admissions office. If a visit is not possible, network with several students who are currently attending.
Most schools these days have virtual tours and videos posted on their websites, and that would be the best place to start if you are unable to visit in person; obviously they’re going to highlight all the good, pretty parts of the school, but it should give you an idea about what the campus is like. Take advantage of sites like Unigo that offer access to students at the school to see what they think, but it’s also important when looking at schools to think about what kind of environment you’ll be comfortable in. No matter how beautiful Columbia looks, if you don’t like living in a big city, it might not be the best fit for you; if you already live in a big city, going to a beautiful school out in the countryside might not be for you if you don’t have a car and can’t get around very easily. Beautiful campuses can sometimes be interchangeable, but their locations cannot!
The best way to find out if a certain college is for you is to visit but if that is not possible there are other ways to get the information. The first thing you can do is to go to the college’s website and explore what it has to offer. There are many other websites set up that offer virtual tours of college campuses and blogs where you can speak with current students to see how their experience is. If you are very interested in a school but cannot visit you should contact the admissions representative for your area, they can answer the majority of questions you have and by making contact with them they will see how interested you are (“demonstrated interest”). Also, talk to your guidance counselor, they may be able to give you information about the schools and possibly put you in touch with a recent graduate that is currently attending that school.
Thorough research, while no substitute for a campus visit, can provide a lot of crucial information. A school’s own website will provide much of it. In addition to basic information and a virtual tour, you can explore specific academic programs within the college. Beyond the school’s website, reading a good guide book should provide important information about the overall experience at a particular college. Finally, talking to as many people as possible who have experience and knowledge of the school should be very helpful.
It really depends on how serious you are about each school. If it is one of your top 5 schools that you are strongly considering, then you do want to visit it. What a shame it would be to choose a school you have never been to go there and realize it is a horrible fit.
I would take the schools you are really interested and go on their websites to find their virtual tours. That will give you a sense of whether it is worth visiting. If you want to visit, then I would talk to peers about carpooling to an open house day. Ask your guidance counselor for help with this or other suggestions.
The campus visit is one of the most important parts of discovering what a school is all about. However, sometimes that’s just not possible due to time or money constraints. If that’s your situation, here’s what I recommend for students who are not able to make a campus visit: 1. Engage with the college and make it known that you’re interested! Call admissions, explain that you’re not able to visit and ask the questions that you would have asked if you had the opportunity to visit. Sign up on the college’s website to receive information and updates.
2. Visit ecampustours.com and see a 360 tour of the college’s campus. This will give you a good idea of the campus layout.
3. Research the school through many different sources to get a good idea of what they’re all about. Check out the college’s website, but also look at what students are saying on sites like Unigo.com.
Many universities offer virtual tours on their web sites since time and money is a problem many people encounter when trying to set up college visits. You could also call and ask your admission rep to set up a time where you could talk to a real student to see what the campus is like and what they like and dislike about the campus and programs that the school offers.
If you can’t visit a school you are interested due to lack of time or money, you can still research the school, by visiting websites, social networking pages, talking to students who are currently enrolled in that college, reading up on books or brochures, chatting with admission recruiters, etc…Although visiting a college campus is a great way to see the place and get an idea of whether you would like it there or not, there are still other options out there for you.
Most colleges have virtual tours online, collegelive is a great website that allows you to interact one on one with admissions representatives from colleges all across the US. Most colleges have set up virtual tours that allow you to see what the campus is like on a typical day, and social networking sites like facebook and twitter allow you to interact with students to ask them questions that you may not know how to ask recruiters.
Unfortunately it’s not always possible to afford the time or money it takes to make those campus visits. However, when at all possible swing this and make it happen since there is no substitute for stepping foot on a campus to tour, talk, look, etc. Fortunately your not destined to be “in the dark” about particular colleges if you can’t physically get to them! EXPLORE and utilize your technological resources; virtual tours online through the individual college websites or other online resources are usually very good if you can’t physically get on campus but want to have a look around the campus. Explore the individual college websites but also those that have info about colleges; keep in mind the colleges generally are going to paint best pictures possible and other websites may be inaccurate or into downplaying some colleges, the truth sometimes may lay in the middle somewhere if you get verying info, details, data, etc. Phone the individual colleges or those that may know details, info and be able to answer questions you have (current, former and possibly those students interested in attending that college), email; although I always recommend personal phone contact if you can’t talk in person but email is certainly a resource to utilize if you can’t communicate in person or over the phone. My advice is to certainly make sure that you get in CONTACT with the individual college admissions office or office of recruitment. They have people working in these offices who’s job it is to answer any and all questions you have or if they can’t they’ll get you in touch with the person on that campus that can. Remember it’s these peoples jobs not just to answer questions but to encourage you to attend their college. You are a commodity and asset to them; they want you (students) to come to their schools, there seriously isn’t a “dumb” question for these people or one they shouldn’t be able to answer or get an answer for you on. Also your contacting them is should be an effort on your part in letting them know that you are interested, considering and wanting to come to their college as well. Don’t stop there though; make sure you don’t just contact them once. I tell students if your interested in a school or schools consider pursuing it in much the way you would if you were really wanting and after a specific job; be persistant but not a pest; this means continue to contact them personally to ask questions, seek advise, verify they’ve recieved info or document you’ve sent such as admissions app, scholarhsip app, FAFSA student aid report (SAR), etc. SEEK info, details, answers to questions, etc. by any means necessary! I’ve given ways to do this above but also don’t forget about those resources within your school or local communities you can seek these things from as well; counselors, teachers, college alumni, consultants and even parents (yes parents, yours or others; many of them know somethings still even though you may not think so, LOL). I always tell students and parents to be careful when asked to pay for resources to get questions answered, info, details, etc. since there are so many “FREE” resources at your finger tips & many of them are as good or better than those you have to pay for.
If you do not have the tme or the financial resources to visit colleges that are not near your home ( near meaning within 25 to 50 miles) then do not despair most campuses have virtual tours, chat rooms, and real-time answers for students interested in their campuses. I would try to visit the local schools just to get an idea of size, rural vs. urban, large 30,000+ vs. small 3000 student body. The campuses you visit do not have to be the ones that you are interested in but at least you will have an idea of what it is like to be in a smaller liberal arts college, compared to a sprawiing rural university or a crowded city college where the college is lost in the city and the city is lost in the college, or a college town where everything is built around that institution. Most towns have colleges close by, but if you are truly unable to visit even your local campuses please take advantage of the online virtual tours and the online chat rooms where your questions can be answered and check out reviews of the cammpus life from the perspective of current and graduated students.
you may attend school fairs, and pay attention to on location school visits at your high school.
you can also visit the schools after the acceptence for making the final decision.
Not all applicants are able to visit the colleges they would like to apply to for a variety of reasons. Assuming the college is more than 500 miles from home, colleges will understand that lack of a visit does not mean lack of interest. In place of a visit, take the virtual tour that many colleges offer on their website. Use sites such as Unigo or Collegeprowler to read what other students are saying about a particular school. Ask you guidance counselor if any recent graduates attend the schools you are interested and ask if you can contact them by Skype or email. Ask the admissions office if there are any students from your area you could speak to or how to contact their “student ambassadors”. If you are interested in a specific program, ask to speak to students or professors in that area.
There are multiple ways to become familiar with the colleges you are interested in if you can’t visit… Spend some time on the colleges website (academics, faqs, photos)
Read information on www.Unigo.com about the school
Check out what students are saying about the school on www.collegeprowler.com
Look at campus video tours on www.youniversitytv.com
Get connected through the college’s facebook page
Attend college fairs in your area
Sit with college representative that visit your high school
Talk to your school counselor
I think that the most important thing to do initially is to consider what TYPES of school would suit you as opposed to checking out specific institutions. So if you don’t have the money or the time, visit schools close to home at first because you can still get a feel for the kind of school that will iinterest you most. See what they are generally like. Go to a large public research university, take a tour, sit in on some classes, get a feel for the atmosphere and the community. Visit a small liberal arts college and do exactly the same thing. Visit a large private university as well as a medium sized instiution. Compare the different schools you visit. What do you see as the pros and cons of each one? Be honest with yourself. In which atmosphere do you feel most comfortable? After you decide, apply to the KIND of schools you like a greater distance away from home. Once you receive your acceptances, that’s the time you should go and visit. Knowing that you could really end up at one of these places is in my view the best time to visit those far away schools because reality will set in because one of them will actually become your home for the next four years. When you get to the campuses, you will quickly develop an internal feelling about each school and you should be able to make a decision with relative ease.
It’s important to familiarize yourself with tools and resources that will allow you to get to know prospective colleges – especially if you won’t be able to visit campus before you enroll. Only taking advice from one person is a bad idea. Especially if that person is an older cousin or former classmate who is telling you to go to the same school they did. There are hundreds of publications and websites that were created to help bridge the divide between campuses and college-bound students. Knowledge is power, and if you are applying to schools that you won`t see until move-in day, then you need to know what each school’s campus, classrooms and student body look like. You need to know the curriculum like the back of your hand. You need to know each school’s strengths and, more importantly, their weaknesses. Pictures can be very helpful for your parents, especially for those who might not have attended college or have gotten their education in another country. Translating schools’ websites or brochures if not everybody is fluent in English will help make sure everybody understands and feels comfortable with the choices you are making. By the end of the college search process, you should be able to speak about your final choice as if you were already an enrolled student. Yet do not underestimate the amount of time you need to spend researching. My recommendation to my students is that they begin the college search process during their junior year, so that they can truly focus on the application process during their senior year.
While visiting is the best way to get a feel for a college’s personality and show you’re genuinely interested in a school, colleges understand that sometimes distance makes a campus visit impossible. To learn more about a college without setting foot on campus, explore the college’s website. Check out academic departments of interest for detailed descriptions of majors and courses. Evaluate program strength by looking at the online undergraduate course catalog and current course schedules. Get on a mailing list, attend a local info session hosted by the college, or participate in a college fair. Read the college’s newspaper online. Meet with an admissions representative who comes to your high school or, if available, schedule a local interview with an alum or admissions staff member.
The majority of schools, if not all the schools offer virtual tours. These online tours offer students the option of “visiting” the school of interest without being there. Do virtual tours, that will help you eliminate the options of actually visiting them, and once you have your top three or your top one, then maybe try and visit that school in person.
First, if it is only the money which is a problem, many colleges have visit assistance programs. The best way to secure this type of offer from a college is to express your interest in their programs which will allow you to start your career. Let them know that you have done your own due diligence and investigated their website, any virtual tours they may have available and any other resources you may have used to identify them as one of your top college choices. (Examples would be career assessment tools such Naviance’s “Do What You Are” program, the ACT/”Discover” program, and/or Career Dimension’s “My Career Path”.) If time truly is the problem, use the colleges’ websites, base your search and evaluation by how well the college fits you academically, financially, and from a career-placement perspective. Ask for a local interview with a representative (usually an alumni), consider the geographical logistics of visiting home, factor in the climate and your ability to adapt (or not), ask them when they may have a booth at a local college fair or through their own roadshow exhibits at a local hotel or resort. Nothing can replace an onsite visit, but the above-mentioned actions will help!
For students that do not have time or money the best thing they can do is online research aka using the internet. The internet is an efficient way of gathering lots of information in a quick manner. You can visit the website of the schools you are interested in and go from there. In addition, if you are interested in a particular school and know someone who has attended take the time to speak to them. I have found that people are always willing to speak about their college experience for better, or worse. High school teachers, counselors, etc can be great people to talk to and they might have attended a school you are interested in.
Many universities now have a variety of on-line content, so view that. Also, check out Google Maps and get a feel of what the campus may look like from above. Is it surrounded by freeway or wooded areas? Does the campus have much grass? Is it an urban, suburban, or rural campus? Many universities are now creating chat rooms where you can go and interact with students on campus, something else to consider.
I’m with you on this one… a very common problem especially for out-of-state schools… here are some alternatives:
The college website is your first destination; get on an emailing list for ‘What’s New?’ -this will give you a feel for what matters to the students and faculty of the school.
Read the blogs of the college students who go there for a more personal perspective.
Many schools will have local reps that come to you – talk to your academic counselor and let him/her know that you’re interested in talking to them – they can arrange the rest for you
Many schools now have Facebook pages – check them out and chat away with the other members – you can get a lot of inside scoops this way that you will not get from a formal visit
If resources for the college search are limited, try this approach: 1. Find a Type, Locally
In most parts of the country, students can visit a variety of institution “types” without driving more than 2 hours from home. I recommend that all students conduct a “template tour” to start the search. Visit www.collegeguidancecoach.com for a detailed explanation. 2. Create an Initial List
College Navigator and College Board offer comprehensive search tools to identify schools that match your ideal “type.” Use these tools to create a list of about 30 schools to research. Try to make the list balanced based on likelihood of admission (don’t include all “reach” schools). And, keep your “type” in focus, not name recognition. 3. Use the Web to Narrow
Research the schools on your initial list via the internet. For each school, read the mission statement and take a tour. Check out resources that are not developed by college marketers, like student reviews on Unigo. Spend time at Barnes and Noble perusing schools in the Fiske Guide or Princeton Review over a cup of coffee. Colleges are increasingly making use of social networking, so visit Facebook pages or follow colleges on twitter for a pulse on the latest on campus happenings. Your research will likely yield a narrowed list of schools. 4. Let Them Come to You
Take a trip to visit schools only after you know that you’ve earned admission, before that time meet with representatives from a college on your home turf. Admission counselors travel extensively and are usually quite willing to set up individual meetings with prospective students. Your guidance counselor or the college can also help you connect with students currently enrolled (or even alumni) at a particular college of interest. 5. Only Make Decisions with Offers In Hand
In a job search, everyone knows: without an offer, there’s nothing to decide. But, in the college search, many students lack the patience to hold off on commitment until April of senior year (which is when all aid offers are available). Waiting for the offers can turn a “first choice” at full price into the back-up when “second place” comes with a $20,000 scholarship.
There are many websites such as Youniversity, Unigo, College Confidential and the college’s website that have webcasts and many questions answered by students. In addition, there are numerous books that have detailed information and ratings about many different areas about the school. Many school websites have facebook and twitter on them. Some of the books are even written by students.
You can also try to economize on your trips with discounted airline tickets and planning a trip with multiple schools in one area so a fly/drive trip is an option.
Pick of the phone and talk with the advisers of the schools you are interested in. E-mailing is also a good way to communicate over distance. Ask the same kinds of question you would if you were touring the campus. Check the website of the school to see if they offer a virtual tour.
You can always look into local college access organizations within your city or town (especially non-profit organizations who frequently do business with your high school), to inquire about college tours they may be conducting to institutions in which you are interested. Further, you should contact your high school counselor directly, to ask if he/she is aware of any organization or entity which may also be conducting free or low-cost college tours to any of the institutions in which you are interested. You should save monetary gifts or earnings from a part-time job, to help pay for any of the college tour costs not covered by the school or sponsoring organization. Lastly, I would suggest that you contact the institution directly to inquire about fly-in visits or other student tours offered by the institution itself. Typically, these visits are reserved for the top 5-10% of students in a particular class, based on academics, however, many times, institutions will also offer tours targeted at women, minorities, STEM majors (science, technology, engineering, and math), as well as other groups which it is particularly interested in recruiting.
Most if not all of the schools have information on the web that can answer the questions you might have. Once you have narrowed your choices to two or three schools, I think it is important to visit. I remember a student who was so sure that she wanted to go to University of California in Santa Cruz. When she got her acceptance, she immediately committed herself. In May, she visited the campus for a weekend. Monday morning she was at my door in tears. “I hate it. I’m a city girl. I can’t live in the country.” UC, Santa Cruz had all that she thought she wanted, but it just wasn’t right. It took me a month to
get her back into one of the other UC campuses that was a better fit to her personality. I know that there is an expense involved in visiting. But I have seen too many students make a decision without that visit. It is much more costly to leave the campus in the middle of the semester because the fit was not “right.”
Call admissions and let them know you are interested. Ask to speak to an admissions officer. They may be able to do a phone interview. Don’t forget to take a virtual tour of all the schools you are interested in. Use the web to gather as much information as you can.
If your dream school is across the country or just out of reach, find a comparable school in your own area to visit. While every school is unique, many schools share similarities and visiting a comparable campus close to home can help. Find out when a representative from the distant school is in your area and arrange to meet him or her on your own turf to learn more. In the meantime, continue to research on the internet.
Visit www.campustours.com to take a virtual tour. Also, contact some students that attend currently (facebook linkedin…) and ask them questions and opinions. Contact the admissions office of the schools you are interested in. Ideally if you want to attend this college, you will invest the time to completely determine whether you are a good match.
Well, I have to be honest. You’re setting yourself up for possible disappointment. Would be buy a car before testing driving it? Furthermore, would you buy a car based just on what it looks like online? The answer is no. If you’re the kinds of person who can just deal with whatever you get, you can always follow the ranking, ask your school counselor, or other professions/organization of their opinions about specific schools. This creates a huge risks because you are making a large finanicial investment based on someone’s opinion. If you have absolutely no way to finding out for yourself you can contact the institution, check out the website, and ask someone whose opinion you trust for help.
The introduction on social media opens many doors to students that are not able to visit some of their schools of choice. Some colleges are offering on-line meetings and question and answer sessions. You also have the ability to e-mail each school. Contact the schools that you are interested in and ask if they offer such options. Express your interest in their school.
Contact the admissions representative for your home state or region and introduce yourself. Ask if there might be an alumni interviewer available in your hometown. Visit the college’s table at the local or regional college fair this Spring. Anything short of visiting the campus that you can do to enhance your “visibility” to the college of your choice, is a good thing!
Sign on to a college’s website and really explore all aspects off it. Look at Student Life, Financial Aid, (including possible scholarships), athletic teams (if you’re interested in attending a rah, rah campus or in possibly being recruited., look at their majors and minors to make sure they have the ones you might be interested in, and fill out the Request Information form on the Admissions page. Email or call Admissions to find out when you might be able to schedule a phone or Skype interview. Get onto websites such as this one and read everything you you can that students have to say about where they are currently attending. There are books that you can buy that are not as expensive as visiting. The Fiske Guide to the Colleges and The Yale Insider’s Guide are both good choices. Remember, that no matter what you read, they all have their own biases. If you have friends that attend a college you are interested in, ask them what their experience has been? If you make up your mind to apply, when the college representative comes to visit your school in the fall of senior year, make sure you stop by the Guidance Office to say hello and ask any questions you have. That way, the rep can put a face with a name when your application arrives in their office.
There are lots of things you can do online without leaving your home. You can research the school online and by using their website. You can also take advantage of any resources they have: online chat, facebook, email a current student or professor etc. I would also suggest www.collegeweeklive.com. This is a virtual college fair. Colleges from all around the country will be online and available for you to chat with. They usually have several different representatives from their school such as from housing, athletics, student and health and/or academics. This is a great way to get your questions answered. You can also watch videos of the campus or do a virtual tour of campus. However, before you decide to make a deposit and attend a school, you must visit at least one time.
These days, a lot of families are short on time and money. It’s increasingly common for students to do considerable research, apply to the schools that seem like good matches, and then visit only those where they are accepted to help them reach a final decision. Even if you don’t have the resources to visit all of the schools you’re considering, there are many ways you can learn about their programs, facilities, and culture. 1. Attend local college fairs. Most areas hold at least one college fair every season, and these often bring representatives from hundreds of colleges. Go prepared with questions to ask the reps from the colleges you’re considering. Be sure to take their business cards so you have a resource for follow up questions. 2. College websites are gold mines of information. Almost all schools now offer “virtual” campus tours that will give you a sense of what the campus and its surroundings are like. Don’t just visit the home and academics pages. Really explore and click through the site and you’ll learn about everything from study abroad opportunities to student clubs to quirky school traditions. 3. Access digital copies of student newspapers and other publications. They’re a great way to find out what’s current on campus and to get a sense of a school’s culture and politics. It can also be informative to set up a Google Alert that will send you links to news stories about your campuses of interest when they hit the wires. 4. Seek out current students. There are more ways than ever to get in touch with current college students online and to get an “inside view” of what it’s like to attend certain schools. Remember, though, that the information you receive through casual contacts like these will be subjective; don’t let any one person’s opinions sway you toward or away from a particular school. Most importantly, don’t give up on particular schools just because you can’t visit them. Utilize the plethora of information that is available with a little time, effort and strategic mouse-clicks, and you’ll be able to learn more about your collegiate options than you ever thought possible…all without leaving your bedroom.
There are lots of resources to view, read about or learn about schools if you cannot visit. YouTube, YouniversityTV.com and campustours.com all have virtual tours. You may have to check each site to find the school you are looking for, but they do provide good information. Also, check to see if the school has a virtual tour on their website. Oh, and if you usse iTunes – check out the iTunes U tab. Read, research and read some more. Fiske Guide, Princeton Review both provide great information to get an overview of the schools found in their books. There are tons of other books as well. Collegeconfidential.com and Zinch.com also are good resources. Insidecollege,com, Collegenavigator.com, Petersons.com are another set of online tools. If you hunt around a bit you will find other options as well.
There are lots of resources to view, read about or learn about schools if you cannot visit. YouTube, YouniversityTV.com and campustours.com all have virtual tours. You may have to check each site to find the school you are looking for, but they do provide good information. Also, check to see if the school has a virtual tour on their website. Oh, and if you use iTunes – check out the iTunes U tab. Read, research and read some more. Fiske Guide, Princeton Review both provide great information to get an overview of the schools found in their books. There are tons of other books as well. Collegeconfidential.com and Zinch.com also are good resources. Insidecollege,com, Collegenavigator.com, Petersons.com are another set of online tools. If you hunt around a bit you will find other options as well.
Most college provide virtual tours on their websites. Take advantage of that as a starting point. Do research online since there are companies and counseling groups that also visit campuses and offer excellent reviews. You can also do networking with your teachers who may be graduate of these colleges or contact the college to speak with a current student (many write blogs) or alumni representatives. After receiving your decision from the colleges, you will surely want to visit to decide if it is the setting for you. As both an Independent Educational Consultant and parent of a high school junior, there have been two ways we saved time and money. Whenever we were taking a trip for business or pleasure, we looked up nearby colleges and took time to visit them. We also shared resources with other student and their parents by visiting together. Remember, you wouldn’t buy a house without seeing it first and college will be your home for at least four years. So before sending in your tuition deposit, be sure to visit.
You can always go online many schools have a virtual tour. Research the area the school is located and the majors they offer.
Many schools actually have virtual tours on line. You can also print out school profiles and compare them side by side.
There are a number of ways to gather information about a particular college even if you can’t visit. I recommend going directly to the college’s admission or prospective student page on their school’s website. You can usually find helpful items like videos or student blogs that give you a good glimpse into the college aside from just the general information. Also, many colleges will let you contact a current student for questions if you let them know you are interested. Asking questions of a current student can give you a perspective of what it is like to go to school there even if you can’t make the trip. You can also typically find a link to the school’s Facebook page on their website. Colleges have becomesavvy in regards to social media and often have pictures and helpful tips on their Facebook pages. In addition, there are many websites out there, such as Youniversitytv where you can watch videos about a particular college.
There are several different options for students who can’t visit the campuses they’re interested in. – The Website – This is probably a student’s best resource for information. Not only does this list the facts about a campus, but this will provide you information on what courses of study you can pursue at a college, what options are available for financial aid/scholarships, campus life, and the biggest highlights from the academic and non-academic worlds going on at the campus at that moment. Think of the website as an extended viewbook. Almost any question you could ask can be answered through the campus’ website. (Or should be answerable – some websites prove more valuable than others.) Look at pictures, read testimonials, figure out the curriculum, do whatever you can on the website to get an overall picture of the campus in your mind. – The Virtual Tour – Many schools now offer a virtual tour for students who can’t make it to campus. This allows you to see what various buildings look like, and to get a pre-taped recording of what a typical tour guide might say while showing you around campus. Through this tour you get to see the highlights of the campus and get a furhter glimpse into the buildings that would be your home. – Getting on Contact Lists – This includes mailing lists, but often schools have phone lists as well. Often schools have current students make phone calls to prospective students, and this is a perfect opportunity to get the “student’s perspective” on the campus. Ask questions you normally would ask a tour guide, and get to the nitty-gritty of a campus. (Beyond the glamourized photos and stump speeches you get from the viewbooks.) – Going Virtual – Many campuses now offer virtual opportunities to talk with admissions counselors, student ambassadors, orientation leaders and more. These can be chat sessions that take place at various times throughout the day that work around your busy schedule. Also, make sure to check out the social media outlets of the campus as they will have additional information about events and campus highlights.
Virtual Tours are useful and can provide valuable insight to the landscape of any campus. It does not however, provide an interactive perspective to your experience. I would suggest researching and contacting the/an Alumni Association in your local area/region or attending a local college fair to have a conversation with a current and/or former student . This would be in addition to a virtual tour. Word of mouth is a still a very prominent and valid means of credibility.
There are many ways to learn more about schools you are interested in but cannot visit. Many admissions offices have developed virtual tours that are similar to ones offered on the campus. These can give you a sense of the environment of the campus and an overview of the institution. Many colleges use their alumni to meet with prospective students, other institutions participate in college fairs sponsored by local schools or school districts. You may also learn more about a school by seeking out social media outlets related to the school (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter) to get a sense of students and academics. For example, there are often Facebook pages for student organizations, clubs related to academic majors or minors and even faculty pages. In addition you should thoroughly explore the college website. Visit home pages of departments you find interesting and pay attention to the student resources sections of these sites. These may include: undergraduate requirements, student resources, internships, alumni connections, etc. Finally, look into ways that you and your family might find ways to lower the costs of a campus visit – team up with other students who are interested in the same schools or ones in the same area and coordinate a trip so that costs may be shared. Ask the college admissions office if they offer any assistance for prospective student visits. In some cases, they may offer low cost accommodations. Plan travel at less desirable times in the academic year. For example, in New England October is a busy tourist season as many visit to view the fall foliage and as a result air fares and hotel prices may be higher. Visit in February, or at other less desirable times and travel costs may be lower. One systematic way to approach this situation is to come up with the questions and information you would wish to have during a campus visit and seek out answers to these using assistance from admissions offices, your own research online or with students/alumni of the college – this will assist you in comparing schools you may have visited or others you have not. It is also important to remember that many students start their college career at one institution and transfer in their sophomore or junior years – one study finds that one in three students transfer from their first college. Applicants should take comfort in these numbers because it means that transferring is not extraordinary and that many students don’t truly figure out what kind of institution is best for them until they actually attend college.
Three immediate options come to mind in cases such as these. First there is a website called YouUniversityTV which offers online tours of multiple campuses across the United States. Secondly, almost every college offers a blog or student run/generated site where faculty, student life and popular trends are dressed. Finally, I encourage students to explore colleges of potential interest websites. These often provide student, as well as admission sponsored information and may even offer the means to secure a free visit.
Hit the websites in search of special times of the year a college/university holds an open-house for future students and their families. The websites also have very interactive and user friendly websites chalked full of critical information and contact people in case you’d like to email or call for more detailed information regarding your particular question and situation and/or circumstance. Many colleges/universities also do lots of chats, emails, or skpying with it’s students in order to get you the information you are seeking out.
Students who can not afford to travel due to time or money should engage in the virtual tours that are provided for on line. It is important to keep in mind that these tours are made by the schools so they are showing the best, and leaving off the worse…
While it is ideal to visit every college you are interested in attending it is not always practical. Try one or more of the following ideas in lieu of an in-person visit. 1) See if the college has an alumni interview process. This is a way to speak with someone near your home who attended the college and can speak to thew experience. 2) Check out the college’s website to find video tours, photos, and detailed information about the college. 3) Look for on-line chat opportunities with current students and/or admission counselors. 4) Ask the admission office if there are any current students from your area that you could speak with about their experience. Best wishes in your college search!
As you create your list of Reach, Good Chance and Almost Assured Admission colleges, it is important to visit those in the latter group. It may be a mistake to visit every reach school on your list; visit colleges that appear to be within your reach, apply broadly, then visit those reaches to which you are actually admitted. Try to lock down a couple of almost assured colleges so that you will not be surprised or disappointed if they turn our to be your only real choices. Falling in love with dream schools can be difficult to overcome if you are not offered admission.
This is a common problem. Sometimes funds are short for a number of reasons, or the school is too far to visit, but there are a few solutions. First, visit the schools website. Look at the department website you may be interested in, and try to investigate what the department is highlighting among student and faculty’s work. Second, you can request information from the admissions department. Usually, there is a line that is designated “request information” on the schools homepage. Third, you may consider chatting with someone online. Some schools offer a “chat with us” link in which you will have an opportunity to ask questions that may be determining factors in whether you apply or attend the school. Lastly, try to contact someone who is attending or teaching at the school you are interested in. A lot of the time the best “inside scoop” comes from a direct source, so contact a friend who may be attending or even a friend of a friend to get a student’s perspective. Additionally, if seriously interested, you may email a professor within the department of your choice and ask them for a moment of their time to get some academic questions answered. Many professors are busy, but most professors are passionate about their work and would be happy to answer some quick questions through email or even over the phone. You can easily search the department of your choice for a list of emails. Simply, send a brief email introducing yourself, and ask them if they mind answering a few questions for you. If they say “yes,” great! If they say “no,” don’t fret; just ask another professor.
You may want to take advantage of the technology that exists for most schools now that allow for virtual tours (some will give you a 360 degree look at the size of the dorm rooms)! Some colleges also have live webcams that give you a glimpse of the student body and activities as they are occurring! You may also wish to contact the Outreach or Admissions department of these schools to see if there are some student ambassadors who can contact you and schedule a phone or video chat! If they are willing, they can even “bring you into a lecture hall” virtually through a webcam! Bottom line is, don’t let lack of resources stop you from finding creative ways to better understand the atmosphere, culture and overall vibe of the campuses you are interested in attending!
If you can’t amke it to the campus, try to get as much information as you can from web resources and/or alumni. Perhaps you have a friend, neighbor or family member who attended the school. How did they feel about their experience. Also look into regional counselors. Using the internet you can get college videos, personal ratings, or even take virtual tours. Look for regional college fairs sponsored by NACAC and meet with an admissions counselor. There are plenty of ways to learn more about a campus, but it will take a bit of leg-work.
Talk with the admissions people when they come to your area of the country. Attend the college fairs, look at videos, and if you know an alumni, that too would have a benefit.
Wait until you have the financial aid package and you know that a school is right, then you must visit. You wouldn’t buy a $40,000 automobile without test driving it.
While it is ideal to visit every college you are interested in attending it is not always practical. Try one or more of the following ideas in lieu of an in-person visit. 1) See if the college has an alumni interview process. This is a way to speak with someone near your home who attended the college and can speak to the experience. 2) Check out the college’s website to find video tours, photos, and detailed information about the college. 3) Look for on-line chat opportunities with current students and/or admission counselors. 4) Ask the admission office if there are any current students from your area that you could speak with about their experience. Best wishes in your college search!
Many schools offer virtual online tours now that are great. You can go to the school website and typically click on a link that will give you a view of the campus, and inside of the academic buildings and residence halls. There is also a virtual collegefair calle “CollegeWeek Live” that offers virtual tours of schools and allows you to chat live with admissions counselors.
See if those schools have some alternative options such as virtual tours, podcasts and or Skype. Virtual tour will give you a quick overview of the campus and facilities usually spoken from a student’s perspective. You can find these on most college websites. The same for podcasts. I’d also recommend seeing if there is a Skype option on that campus. Meaning, a set login time with administration, faculty and/or students where you can ask them questions over the web. Some schools also have IM options where you can post a question and either an admissions staff person or student can answer them for you. I’m a firm believer in visiting all the campuses just because there are certain aspects of the college that you can only grasp by being physically there. However, we understand the cost of travel and time so many campuses are trying to make it easier for families by offering these new technologies. You can also keep up with what’s going on at these campuses through their Facebook page and by following their Twitter feeds.
With the help of the Internet, you can still do a lot to “get to know” those schools! I’d advise doing a personal inventory. What do you enjoy? Which school subjects fascinate you? What extracurriculars are you currently involved in, that you plan to continue at college? Then, do research on those areas and try to make personal connections at the universities. For example, if you know you want to continue studying Spanish and plan to become involved in the Latin Students Association, look up the current student president and shoot him/her an email. Most students are happy to talk to prospective freshmen about campus life. Talk to as many current students there as possible to get the scoop on whether that school is a good match for you. I always advise students to go “beyond” the canned tour, anyway!
You can still go on a virtual tour of most campuses using the internet. You can also call the admissions office and interview an admissions counselor. Ask the same questions you would if you were on campus. Ask if there is a student support department that you could call and talk to students who attend there. They may have a better perspective to answer some of your questions.
Nowadays, it’s relatively easy to get great information about a school without visiting it in person. Many websites offer virtual tours as well as blogs or chats with current students. Don’t be shy about asking honest questions, and you can get great information. Most schools also have Facebook pages you can join to stay informed and simply looking at the website for a list of upcoming events can give you a good sense of the campus culture.
Some students choose to visit schools only after they have been accepted in order to make up their mind and there’s nothing wrong with that. I do know of a young woman from Hawaii who had never set foot on campus before attending college and still had a great experience, but I would encourage you to do as much as you can to get a true feel for the school before making a final decision to attend.
The great thing about the internet is that there is so much information available! Take advantage of it by: 1. take virtual tours of the campus via the college website.
2. use google maps to explore the immediate area.
3. google the name of the town where the college is located and see what information is available.
4. promise yourself that you will find a way to visit the campuses that you have been accepted into if this is possible. Narrow it to your top three choices if you have limited time or money.
5. Take advantage of Twitter and Facebook and discover what types of posts and tweets the students at those schools are making to see if it feels like a fit for you.
6. Call the Admissions Office and see if there are any alumni in your area with whom you can meet. Many Alumni volunteer this service to their alma mater and this gives you an opportunity to find out about their experiences at the school.
If you are not able to visit a school due to your schedule or your family is experiencing financial difficulties there are various ways to show schools that you have a genuine interest in their program and are considering applying for admission in the future. 1. Register with Kaarme, Zinch, or Cappex. These programs assist students in creating free online profiles to showcase their academic strengths and extracurricular activities. Think of these programs as “The Facebook of College Admissions.”, except without the Academy Awarding Winning movie attached to them. 2. Find out the state area representative for your school of interest and email him/her introducing yourself and explaining why you are interested in their school and program. Also, you can mention in the email that you unfortunately can not visit currently however, you do hope to in the near future. (Remember your situation can change, perhaps you can join another family from your school on a road trip to schools.) 3. Utilize the online college fair website College Week Live. You can take virtual tours of campuses throughout the country and chat with admissions representatives. This can all be done from the comforts of your own house!
Call admissions and let them know you are Don'[t forget to take a virtual tour of all the schools you are interested in. Use the web to gather as much information as you can.
First, find out if your high school offers college trips. See if you can hitch a ride with a friend or relative. Call the school to see if they would be willing to invite you to their campus. Research how to get there and compare different costs. For example, in NY there is a bus that costs around $20 round trip to Boston. If you absolutely cannot visit, research their website, research books, reach out to alum in your high school who attend the college or did attend the college. In the long run, if this ends up being your college of choice, you will need to find ways to get back and forth from home during holidays and long breaks. If you are really interested in a school… make time. Summers are also a good time to visit colleges. May not be as crowded but you will still get an idea on the campus “feel”
There are an increasing number of college search sites out there that provide written and video descriptions of various colleges. This can help and some of those sites are www.unigo.com, www.zinch.com, www.collegesolved.com, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/. There are also sites the focus specifically on providing users with virtual campus tours of campuses. These sites include: http://campustours.com/, http://www.ecampustours.com/, and http://www.youniversitytv.com/
If you have already read the marketing materials, perused the online videos, read sites like Unigo, worked with a college admissions counselor who agrees it is a good match for you, and fully researched the major and school, then still go ahead and apply. If you are accepted and in your heart you really think this is where you want to go then you can save your traveling for that particular school or wait for a Fly In weekend opportunity. Remember the the famous saying – it is better to be safe than sorry.
First, don’t worry. Colleges and universities understand that not everyone can afford to visit. Knowing that, many schools provide virtual tours of their campuses on their own websites. Another helpful site is http://www.campustours.com. They offer virtual tours of hundreds of college campuses. You can also visit with college admission representatives at local college fairs or when they come to your high school. Let them know that you are interested in attending their college, even if you won’t be able to visit in person. Keep in mind though that nothing can really replace an actual college tour, so try to visit at least your top three college choices. If you can’t visit for monetary reasons, let the admissions office know why, so they won’t assume that you just weren’t interested enough.
Many colleges offer virtual tours. Some allow you to customize your virtual visit and see the things you want, while others provide a general overview. YouTube is also an option. you can find many campus videos there. Keep in mind that these videos are generally created by the admission office. So, they’re showing you all of the best things. That said, you should use the videos to get a general feel for the schools. Once you are admitted to schools, you should make an effort to visit the campuses in person.
This is not a problem at all. Simply do all of the things I posted in “How to Get Your Money’s Worth out of a College Tour” but do them ove the phone. Pre-arrange a telephone or Skype appointment with an Admissions Advisor. Explain your situation clearly. If money is the issue, ask the Advisor about a local event the college may be hosting. Many colleges tour the nation bringing the college to you. If that is not available to you, have the interview over the phone. Be sure to book the time so that you nor the Advisor is not rushed.
Don’t worry! Many schools now offer virtual campus tours on their websites so you can get a great feel for what the campus looks like. You can also try to arrange a Skype, FaceTime or telephone interview with an admission counselor, as opposed to having one on campus. Another great way to get to know a school sans visit is to ask your admission counselor if there is a current student with whom you can communicate via email. This student to student contact can be an invaluable resource for you.
I would do a few things: 1. Take the virtual tour ahead of time. Almost every college and university has one at this point, and there is a lot more narrative. Unfortunately, some colleges just tell the tour guide to go wherever they want instead of trying to appeal to everyone, but a virtual tour can go only where you want it to! 2.) Make SURE to sign in so the college knows you are there and so that you are on the mailing list. 3.) Check to see when the college is in your area for a recruiting event. Colleges ARE recruiting in your area, they ARE coming to you. Find out where and when with a quick Google search, like “princeton on the road,” which will tell you when Princeton is having an event near you.
There really is no replacement for actually being on a campus to truly experience the life of a school and if it really suits you. However, if you really can’t find the time or money to visit, then I would take a virtual tour of the school online. Plus find other students who attended this college and talk to them about their experience with the school. Again, this is not as good at being there but it will help narrow down your choices. I would always visit a campus once you decide you want to attend there however. There really is no replacement for just being there.
We live in a great time in history – you can learn a lot right from your computer! Websites like www.campustours.com give you a great opportunity to virtually visit schools from all over the country without leaving your seat. Likewise, YOUniversityTV.com and www.collegeweeklive.com can provide you with some insight on what facilities and campuses look like right from home. And of course, you should use unigo.com to collect your data on whcih schools to visit virtually!!!
I have a number of students (in Colorado) who would love to visit colleges “back East,” but for whatever reason, cannot make a trip out of it. One suggestion I give is to visit colleges closer by that at least our representative of the schools I am interested in. We have a great private, liberal arts college in our city, and though not all liberal arts colleges are the same, at least visiting that one gives the student a good feel for a selective, private, liberal arts college. We also have a medium-sized public school in town that is representative of a school of 8,000 to 10,000 students. Within our state, we have every kind of college represented. So especially for sophomores and juniors, I encourage them to visit local schools.
I also encourage students to tie in college visits with their family vacations. Wherever you are in the country (or even out of country), you can visit the area’s colleges. Families come back and say how much fun they had visiting a college or two in each of the areas they were visiting.
For seniors, we have a large number of admission-reps visit our school. So instead of traveling everywhere, I encourage our students to meet with the reps that come to us. (We have close to 100 schools visit.) (College fairs are a great way to gather information all at once about schools as well). After seniors have their list narrowed way down, or even after they have received some acceptances, they can much more easily visit their top three schools.
First, many colleges now have virtual campus tours right on their websites. You certainly can make time to check out those. Another must- do is to read the more popular college directories such as The Best 376 Colleges (Princeton Review), The Insider’s Guide (Yale), or Fiske Guide to Colleges. Their write ups are a little more revealing than just a standard directory. Last, have you checked out YOUTUBE? There are some videos of tours available and more are being added as we speak. Some colleges might or might not be sympathetic to the “I-don’t-have-the-time” thing.
Many of the smaller schools are looking for demonstrated interest. Which means
your physical visit(s). Perhaps in your case this might translate to your “touch” via email, skype, facebook, video, etc.
Obviously, visit as many as you can, and consolidate visits, by visiting several schools located closely together whenever possible. If you absolutely cannot visit, here are some suggestions: If you are a student of interest to a particular college, and the reason is financial, inquire to see if they have a program that might help pay your way, fully or partially. Failing that, see about phone or Skype connections with admissions staff, currently enrolled students, or faculty members. Also see if there are active alumni in your town or area who might be willing to meet with you closer to home.
Visiting the schools you’re interested in is always best to determine which one is right for you. However, while you can’t see and feel for yourself, you just have to be more creative to get that same type of intangible information. Here are a few other ways to get information: Website
There is a vast amount of information on schools’ websites and practically everything you need is there, short of visiting in person. You just have to be more targeted and strategic in your web search. Do a very comprehensive search for information and try to get a feel of what the school is like from the pictures, tone of the text, etc. Don’t limit your search to the future students or admission pages, check out the program and faculty pages as well. Take the virtual tour of the campus and residence. There may be a way for you to get on their mailing list so you can get information directly to your inbox. Social Media
On the website you’ll see links to the schools’ social media. Follow the school on twitter, facebook and youtube. You can learn a lot about campus activities and will eventually get a feel for the school. You may also see links to student blogs. They are a great resource when learning more about a university. Don’t forget to check them frequently, if not daily. Admissions Office
Again, on the website you’re sure to see something that says “contact us”. Take advantage of this and prepare a list of questions that you want answered and contact them. Do mention that you’re not able to visit and would appreciate as much information by telephone or email as possible. Can you get copies of handouts, presentations, etc. of information that is available to those who visit in person? Be polite, but If you don’t ask, you don’t get! School visiting your area?
Look on the website to see or ask if the school will be visiting your area. Many schools travel especially in the fall so pay attention to these visits and do try to attend. Be flexible, if they are not coming directly to your city, maybe they are visiting a nearby city and it will be worth attending an event a little further away from home, but not as far away as the school. Current student
Ask to be connected to a current student. The best student is someone who is enrolled in the program you are considering. But if you can’t meet with someone in the same program, don’t insist on this since it will still be an invaluable conversation to have. Student visiting your city?
University students return home for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other random weekends. Why not contact the schools you’re interested in and ask if you can be connected to one of these students? If the university is not able to give you any contacts, try your high school guidance office and teachers. They may be in touch with former students who are attending that school. Remember six degrees of separation, you’re sure to find a student from your city if you just ask family, friends, neighbours, etc. Alumni in your city?
Likewise, you may find that there is a recent alum leaving in your city that you can speak to and get very good first-hand information. Google Alerts
Use google alerts to get information on the school, whether it’s a newspaper article, website, blog, etc that mentions the school’s name. This is an excellent way to get information that is not ‘school-filtered’. As you can see, there are other good ways to learn more about a school, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t visit. Just work harder to get answers to your questions.
Fortunately, the digital world in which we now live offers great access to colleges via online videos and virtual tours. YOUniversityTV and ECampusTours.com, as well as YouTube and the individual campus websites, are great places to start. CollegeWeekLive offers access to admissions staff if you are unable to attend college fairs or interview on campus.
Many colleges like to see “demonstrated interest” in their schools from prospective students, but understand that it is not always practical nor affordable to visit. There are lots of ways to research schools and establish contact without actually being on campus.
That being said, since you are going to be spending the next 4 years of your life there, it would be wise to visit before you make a final decision to attend.
If you want to learn more about the school:
1. Read college guides
2. Visit the school website
3. Visit a school near you with similar characteristics: small/medium/large, urban/suburban/rural, etc.
4. Seek out and talk with current students or alums If you want to try to improve your chances of being accepted:
1. Go to college fairs or info sessions and speak with the rep
2. Request more information from the college admissions office
3. If there’s an appropriate place in the application, mention your interest in the school and the ways in which you’ve researched it
I have a number of students (in Colorado) who would love to visit colleges “back East,” but for whatever reason, cannot make a trip out of it. One suggestion I give is to visit colleges closer by that at least our representative of the schools I am interested in. We have a great private, liberal arts college in our city, and though not all liberal arts colleges are the same, at least visiting that one gives the student a good feel for a selective, private, liberal arts college. We also have a medium-sized public school in town that is representative of a school of 8,000 to 10,000 students. Within our state, we have every kind of college represented. So especially for sophomores and juniors, I encourage them to visit local schools.
I also encourage students to tie in college visits with their family vacations. Wherever you are in the country (or even out of country), you can visit the area’s colleges. Families come back and say how much fun they had visiting a college or two in each of the areas they were visiting.
For seniors, we have a large number of admission-reps visit our school. So instead of traveling everywhere, I encourage our students to meet with the reps that come to us. (We have close to 100 schools visit.) (College fairs are a great way to gather information all at once about schools as well). After seniors have their list narrowed way down, or even after they have received some acceptances and scholarship offers, they can much more easily visit their top three schools.
The first thing a student can do, is visit the university/college web page and browse through the campus catalogue, schedule of classes and possibly the campus housing page. (Some campuses may even have virtual tours on their website). A second step is to contact the college’s Student Outreach/Welcome Center or Tour office. Often times this is a direct opportunity to speak to a current student of the university and receive answers on what campus life is like as well as the opportunity to hear first hand from a current student.
When a lot of college counselors get together, especially those of a certain age, they tend to joke about how random their own college research and application processes were. It’s ironic to us that we now counsel students to do so much research, visit, and so on. I’m pretty sure that if we had known we were supposed to do all that we would have, but the fact is that most of us ended up loving our alma maters no matter how we got there, and recent studies have shown that this is still true of students today, even those who didn’t get into their top choice schools.
Bottom line: If you don’t have the wherewithal to visit, don’t worry. With the internet you can see quite a bit online and you can even in many cases chat with students who have volunteered to talk about their experiences at Constant U. Save your visiting time and money for the spring after you’ve been accepted and visit your schools during their accepted student weekends. You’ll be feted and courted to within an inch of your life and meet students who may become your classmates. Not a bad deal.If you can only go to one, choose your top choice.
If you’ve done your research well, you will probably be happy wherever you go even if your first time on campus is when your parents drop you off at your dorm before freshman orientation. Again, it helps to know that over 85% of students are happy with their college choices however they arrived at them.
Many colleges have “virtual” tours on their websites, and in some cases, the students “blog” about their schools. Try checking out facebook and twitter accounts for the colleges/universities you are interested in attending. Ask the students what they like about the school and what they would change. Make sure that you are very familiar with the admissions process and the awarding of financial aid for the schools. You can go to College Board’s website to find out how “generous” a school will be to meet your financial needs.
Lucky for you, there are now virtual tours available online. Via the computer, you can “stroll” the campus and see what it has to offer. Also, contact the admissions department at your school of interest. They should be able to connect you with the student group that they have to assist incoming freshmen. You may exchange email addresses and ask them all the things you want to know about the school. And Facebook can also connect you with several current students at the college who will be willing to share information about their college with you. And lastly, if you connect with a student at the college, you may utilize Skype to see exactly what’s going on at the college. The computer will be a great tool to utilize in this manner.
First, you can visit the scholls websites to learn about the academic, social and cultural opportunities they offer. You can also find out the cost and some general information about scholorships and financial aid. College’s websites typically offer a great deal of information about the school. Some will offer virtual campus tours that might help you to get a feel for the campus, as well as streaming video interviews with current and former students. You might consider the ease of navigation of college websites when making your decision about applying to schools since this is one of the main sources you will have to navigate through your college experience from start to finish. In additon to visiting a college website, you can order an application packet and college catalog to be sent to your home. This might help you to remember what you learned from their website.
Best wishes in your search!
simply .to search the online collages.and find scholarship online.don’t visits here and thee.
Choose wisely and take virtual tours. Talk to current & graduated students to get a feel of the college & good luck!
Many schools will come to you, via college fairs and school visits. Plan to see the college representative at those. Most colleges will provide the name of alumni who will interview the candidate for admissions, as well. Contact the college for that information. As far as campus visits, some colleges will provide the transportation if they really want the student. Most students can get a virtual tour online. Many colleges now provide those. Another way to virtually visit a college is to go to the website: ecampustours.com.
This is a common problem, especially if the schools you are looking at are out of state or you are a very busy student. Many schools now have virtual tours on their websites, where you can get a sense of what campus is like. Call your admissions counselor and ask if he/she would be willing to videochat with you, so you can meet “face to face” to get your questions answered. Most schools will also be more than happy to connect you with current students who can answer your questions about what it’s like to live on campus, attend classes, and be a part of the culture at the school.
Choose wisely and take virtual tours. Talk to current & students who graduated to get a feel of the college & good luck!
Well the first option is the internet. There are amazing websites that provide information, photographs, videos, blogs, and even google maps can let you explore areas without being at them in person. The second way is to then find out who from your area goes to schools you are interested in and try and get to talk to them over their breaks from school, because all college students like to brag about their school. Lastly back to the web if you can’t find local students from the school, there is all types of options from blogs to social media to reach out to current students. Just be clear about what you’re doing contacting them and hopefully it works out. The admissions department usually has student interns to talk to people as well but some find this too “fake” of a source.
As an International College Admissions Counselor, this is a common problem for our students. it is difficult to travel 5,000 miles to conduct a campus visit. The key for students who cannot personally visit a college is to get as close to the live experience as possible. View links on college websites, attend CollegeLive online events, connect with college students through resources such as Unigo, connect with high school alumni who are attending schools of interest to you, see if there is an alumni chapter or contact in your city. These are some ways you can make the college ‘come alive’ when in-person visits are not possible.
Visit it virtually navigating the website effectively and talking to university people.
In that case you should look at all available pictures, videos of that school and ask lots of questions to people who’ve ever been there. Then you have to trust your intuition: if you can feel the atmosphere presented in those videos is exactly what you’ve been looking for, go for it. If those pictures, videos and opinions of people are not that good and something feels wrong over there, make the decision based on your feelings inside your heart.
I’m sure it will lead to your right place you’re supposed to be.
School visits are not necessary for you to gain admission to a school in almost every case, so you needn’t worry that not being able to visit will affect your chances of getting in. If you want to learn more about the school, try online research to get you acquainted with the campus, atmosphere, and student body. Many school websites offer virtual tours of campus, or at the very least put up campus maps with pictures of the buildings on their websites. This will give you a feel for the aesthetics of campus. If you want to learn more about the academics, email a professor in a department that interests you, or even just the admissions counselor. Employees of the school will be happy to tell you about it even if you can’t be there in person. Lastly, if you know anyone from your high school who is currently attending the college you are interested in, reach out to them through facebook or email to get the inside scoop on what it’s like being a student there. If you don’t know anyone, find a student from your hometown or through family friends. If students like their school they should be happy to talk to anyone about it! This way, you can get a feel for the look, the academics, and the student life on campus without ever actually going there!
Although a visit is important and probably vital for the final decision, sometimes it’s just not possible for every college. So, go on the website; many schools have virtual tours. Do you like what you see? If so, check with the college advisor at your high school to see if the college you are interested in has any current or alumni from that school. If so, contact them and talk through their college experience. Ask them what has been the best and the worst part of attending that school. If no one from your school surfaces, use Facebook to ask the internet world for a connection. use your networking; check with mom/dad/grandparents and friends for a contact. A phone message will be the best option. Realize that your final college decision choice may be binding but if the school doesn’t work out, you may be able to transfer.
I work with many international students who can’t visit colleges before they enroll. It definitely adds uncertainty to the process – but you could also look at it as adding adventure! Remember that you will have to adapt to lots of aspects of a college in your first semester, whether you’ve visited or not. Not visiting just means that you have to do more thorough research before you commit – get to know that school inside and out through good printed materials, conversations online with current students, and other resources, including the college website. It almost always works; and if it doesn’t, and you don’t like it, it’s not that hard to transfer. Very little in life is permanent. Remember – it’s an adventure!
Always use the internet to take a vitural tour first.
Having the money to travel to several different schools can be spendy! However, it can be even more spendy when you wait until your Senior year to start your visits. Try to begin visiting schools early. Find out what colleges are close to your home or near family members that you may visit. I even suggest that families add a college tour to their itenerary when vacationing. Even if these schools are not your first choice, they give you an idea of solidifying the attributes about a school that you will or will not live without in your college choices.
Sometimes there are “high school weekend” events at college campuses that offer financial assistance for students with financial hardships. It never hurts to ask if this type of program or assistance is available. Some assistance may be determined by your academic promise, but research what your school of interest offers and you may be surprised.
Lastly, more and more schools are offering web-tour’s online and are willing to set students up with alumni or even a current student that can offer “skype” type tours If nothing else they can answer honest questions and offer insight about the school’s campus.
This is a question I come across frequently especially when dealing with international student’s who are unable to travel to visit specific schools that they have interest in. Although the benefits of attending prospective college’s are significant, there are other factor’s which can help in making the right choice. Contact the college to ask whether there are alumni’s that are located close to you that you may be able to meet with. The experiences of alumni are often going to be quite one sided, however it gives a good incite nevertheless.
I would recommend writing a list of components that you feel are important to your overall college experience e.g. does the school offer excellent library resources? is there a decent health and fitness facility that I have access to? are there good oppertunities for both dorm living and off campus accomodation close to classes? If it’s in or close to a major city, are there any links to companies if studying something applicable thus possible internship opportunities? These are the type of question’s which you would probably be asking or experiencing on a campus visit, therefore need to be answered and satisfied before application. This information needs to be organised before application’s have been written so that you don’t waste any of your important time and money.
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