Can’t visit campus because of coronavirus? High schoolers turn to virtual tours

Suzanne Monaghan
March 19, 2020 - 4:22 pm

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It’s hard enough for a high schooler to decide where he or she will go to college, but it’s even more challenging when you can’t see the campus for yourself first.

Normally, students have until May 1 to make the decision of where to study in the fall. Fortunately, amid the ever-growing coronavirus pandemic, many universities have extended that deadline.

Although college tours are canceled, some universities have expanded their virtual tours online.

“I’ve seen newer features on admissions sites, like links to videos containing the information that you would normally see in an info session on a campus,” said Kristen Dunning, counselor at Strath Haven High School in Delaware County. “The ability to register for virtual meetings with admissions representatives, particularly at some of the smaller schools.” 

The best sources of information: Reach out to college admissions representatives.

“Students should use this time to create lists of questions based on the research that they’re doing and email those admissions reps,” Dunning said. “They’re there to help you learn about their schools and whether a particular school is the right fit for you.”

For seniors waiting to receive acceptance letters, admissions staff are still working and sending them out.

“In the meantime, those accepted students visits — where students go to make those final decisions — are being transferred to virtual accepted student visits, and they’re doing a really good job of switching that programming over to virtual stuff really quickly,” she noted.

Other websites are available for 360-degree campus tours, like YouVisit. Informal, student-led tours can be found on YOUniversityTV. CollegeXpress provides lists and rankings, ranging from school spirit to social justice.

Now may also be a good time to drive around some universities, if they’re not too far. However, some schools aren’t letting anyone on campus, so do some research before you go.