Ten ways to learn about a college when your visit has been canceled

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This has been a disappointing couple of weeks for college-bound students. Juniors have had to cancel their spring break visits and seniors, hoping to attend admitted student events, are concerned they won’t be able to revisit their top colleges before making a final decision. We feel for you and understand this isn’t quite how you expected this process to look.

The current health crisis has changed circumstances in a way we never could have anticipated. It is forcing us to be flexible and to look at alternatives – in many areas of our lives – including college planning. But while nothing can fully replace visiting a campus, there are many ways to get to know a college, its students, its academic programs and its staff when an in-person visit just isn’t possible. Below are some suggestions.

And College Expert students, remember, we have visited hundreds of colleges and have the expertise to know what colleges are the best fits for you. If you have any questions, we can give you the inside scoop and help you determine if a college is right for you.

To learn about a college:

  1. Take a virtual tour via a link on the campus website to see (or remember) what the campus is like. Here is a great example of how Tulane is sharing virtual experiences with students https://admission.tulane.edu/virtual-visiting.
  2. Use online resources and apps. Listen to first-hand student testimonials and tours through websites like CampusReel, YouVisit, Induck and College Vizzy. YouTube is another great resource. If you are a College Expert junior, you also have access to all the resources in your Custom College Plan account. 
  3. Sign up for an online information session. Most colleges are offering information sessions online, and their schedules are on their website or will be soon. They’ll also send email invites to students who have signed up on their mailing list and will have someone available for one-on-one phone calls. Again, Tulane is a great example of how colleges are staying connected virtually https://admission.tulane.edu/virtual-visiting
  4. Talk with current students. The admissions office may be able to put you in touch with a current student (or if you’re a College Expert student, we may be able to connect you with a student we know.)
  5. Revisit your resources. Review the sources that you found most valuable when you built your apply list, such as guidebooks and websites.
  1. Follow prospective colleges on social media. You can learn a lot about the college and campus life, and some are also posting links to their virtual tours.

If you’re a senior, you should also:

  1. Join an admitted students group on social media. This will help you get to know potential classmates and get a sense of the college culture.
  2. Review your college acceptance list against your list of criteria for choosing a college. Assess which of your choices is the best match and why.
  3. Reach out to admissions or other college personnel. Get answers to any final questions you have that could affect your ultimate decision.
  4. Schedule your College Decision Meeting. If you’re a College Expert student, schedule your College Decision Meeting soon with Sue or Ryan. During that meeting, we’ll go through a unique process to help you make your final decision.

Every year, under traditional circumstances, we work with students who don’t have the benefit of going on college visits. And while it’s not ideal, we know that it is still possible to get to know a college using other resources and feel informed, confident and excited about your final decision.

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