Photo taken from uscdnews.uscd.edu
Traditionally, college tours are held on campus and allow students to learn about prospective colleges and universities. These tours can greatly influence a student’s eventual college commitments. The ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 have greatly altered the format of these college tours. Many have moved to online tours, allowing students to “visit” a more diverse selection of schools and making it possible for previously unavailable tours to be attended.
For California students, the well-known and well-regarded UC college system is providing virtual college tours.
“[Virtual tours help students to] get to know the nine UC undergraduate campuses during individual video overviews.”
Online college tours allow students to learn about campuses in an unusual way and get in touch with admissions representatives who can work one-on-one to answer students’ questions about majors, programs, and any other inquiries about the schools they are representing.
Gabby Yates, Sage Creek’s guidance technician, commented that students who attended virtual tours this year had more flexibility when it came to learning about colleges.
“They were able to just ask whatever questions they had directly to the admissions officer,” Yates said.
She noticed how virtual tours allowed students to spend more time with admissions officers as well as getting rid of the stress of asking questions in front of large groups.
Another upside that Yates mentioned was that these tours are experiencing a much larger turnout than other years.
“There have been more visits than we’ve ever had before.” Yates mentioned how “[The virtual nature of these tours] has allowed students to ‘visit’ east coast schools like NYU, Penn State, that have not been able to come to our campus. The lack of in-person tours is one downside to these developments, but because of that it has created a “unique opportunity for students to get to know more about those campuses.”
Another organization offering virtual college tours for students is the National Association for College Admission
“[Representative meet]online to talk with high school juniors and seniors,” as well as “one-on-one meeting[s] with college[s],” stated Counseling.
Virtual college tours have also opened up many opportunities for colleges and universities to host international students from around the world. Georgia Tech is one of many colleges that has had great success expanding visiting opportunities beyond the United States.
“40,000 students from 84 countries visit [Georgia Tech’s] campus virtually, averaging ten minutes on-site, [they have] added efficiency to the admissions department, [and] minimiz[ed] travel, marketing, and international recruitment costs.”
While COVID-19 has postponed and changed many activities, college tours have adapted and found a way to provide students with the information and insight regarding college decisions.
Making a commitment to a college or university is a decision that a majority of high school students have to make, and the presence of knowledgeable experts and helpful guidance can greatly ease the difficulty of making these life-changing decisions. Even virtually, students are still able to make these decisions with help from college administrators, and experts that can guide them towards the right choices.