The thing is, college visits can be expensive and time-consuming. And if you’re applying to colleges out-of-state, the airfare alone may send you running.
Virtual tours offer a look at schools without having to leave your home. And because there are a number of quality sites out there, you can get a pretty good idea of what a school offers. A virtual tour is exactly what it sounds like: it's a tour online, usually combining video, photos, and narration, and may have other elements like student testimonies and samples of class lectures. I know this isn’t the same as a true real-life visit, but this can at least give you a glimpse of what the school is like and help you narrow your options.
Ready to get started? Close your eyes, think of a happy memory, and let the pixie dust do its work! You’re about to fly to somewhere new and exciting!
Step 1: Choose a school. You don’t necessarily have to have a school in mind to get started, but it does make it easier.
Step 2: Visit the school site and see if it has a virtual tour ready to go. You can usually find the tour by going to the search box and simply typing in "tour" or "virtual." If one exists, check it out!
Step 3: Head to YOUniversityTV.com. This is a great place to start because the tours are very student-friendly. You’ll enjoy the images, videos, and music. Type in the name of the school, click on it, then watch.
Step 4: Keeping the same school as your search, go to a more information-focused site. You can choose from YouVisit, CampusTours, or eCampusTours. Each one offers a similar experience, although not all schools are on each site, so keep trying until your find your school.
Step 5: The last site to check out is all about the student’s experience at a school. CollegeClickTV is full of videos of students sharing what they like in an interview-like fashion. It’s interesting and definitely sheds new light on the school.
Remember to document what you like and don't like about each school. If you've already joined CollegeXpress (see the step-by-step tutorial here), that may be a good place to hop over to and favorite the schools you liked. If not, jot down your thoughts on a piece of paper and share them with your parents or counselor. It's easy to get lost in all of your research, so make sure you are detailed and clear.
I hope you enjoyed your journey today. Remember that finding the right college match takes time and energy, but it will be worth it in the long run!