Visiting Virtually: The College Search in a Pandemic

Plager played in a total of 615 games for the Blues

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Plager played in a total of 615 games for the Blues

Kalea Reeves, Staff Writer

It’s finally spring, which is a time for seniors to receive their long-awaited college acceptance letters and for juniors to start the infamous college search. One of the best ways to decide if a school is right for you is to go visit and tour the campus, but since we are still in the middle of the pandemic, most colleges are offering virtual options to aid in your search and to keep you safe.

In place of in-person visits, many colleges are providing an immersive, 360-degree virtual reality tour of the campus that is one of the best ways to get the feel of a school in this era of social distancing. Many of these tours are narrated, so it feels just like a college tour guide showing you around in-person. You can find these tours on your prospective school’s website.

Along with exploring the campus virtually, most colleges are offering a plethora of online informational sessions. You have the chance to tune into student panels, where you hear from real students and get a feel for what the school is actually like outside of the veneer put up by the admissions team. You can also attend a webinar from the department of what field you would like to go into, so the information is personalized to your experience at the school.

Although they can be extremely boring, many schools host virtual conversations about financial aid and scholarship opportunities, which are very important to see if you are able to attend.

A super helpful way to make sure that you stay up to date with all of the virtual events is to get on different colleges’ email list, where they’ll tell you all the upcoming virtual opportunities.

For a more personalized experience, you can always sign up for some of the different visits from college admissions officers at our school. By filling out a Google Form sent by college counselor Mrs. Dodge, you can have an individual Zoom meeting with the representative. This is much more personal than a tour or information session, so you can really figure out if the school offers what you need specifically.

“No two schools are the same, and talking with representatives helps you to make sure you are choosing the best college/university to suit your specific academic and professional goals,” Mrs. Dodge said.

For the seniors who already have already been accepted, colleges are still utilizing virtual programs for incoming freshmen. Mizzou, for one, is offering a hybrid of online and in-person orientations. Those who wish to attend in-person have to sign up, but there are only a limited number of people they can allow. It’s a great way to introduce freshmen, while also keeping everyone safe.

With the pandemic still carrying on, it can be difficult to think about the uncertainty of college. Yes, it can be dangerous out there, and by taking advantage of virtual opportunities, we are able to stay safe and still take control of our future.