How a College Virtual Tour Can Help You Find a Great Fit
Visiting colleges can be expensive. Between airfare or gas, hotel rooms, rental cars, parking, and food, you could end up spending thousands of dollars. So before you fly, travel in the virtual world. College virtual tours can be a great way to screen colleges and find your fit.
An in-person visit to a college can be a great way to find a great fit. Until you go see a place, you never know whether you’ll like it. Your school is not just a place for an education. It’s the place you live, it’s your community, and the place you will meet some lifelong friends. But since it’s expensive and time-consuming, a virtual tour can be a great start to the process.
Virtual tours give you a great glimpse of what a college’s campus, culture, and environment are like. There’s still a lot to be gained by actually visiting and walking around campus, and meeting college admissions officials. But if you know by a virtual tour that a college campus doesn’t feel right, that’s usually a good sign. So you can use a virtual tour to cull your list. And once you’ve taken a virtual tour, you can follow up with a real visit if it does feel right.
You can start searching for colleges using LifeLaunchr, which can help you find a good fit using many criteria, including cost, academics, selectivity, size, location, and culture. Using these searches can give you a good start to find colleges to tour. Then using virtual tours can help find a fit, and in some cases, you’ll follow up with an in-person visit.
There are many kinds of college virtual tours. Here are some examples:
- Loyola Marymount has a comprehensive virtual tour that includes photos, video, and even drone footage of campus.
- The University of California, Santa Cruz has a completely immersive experience that is just like taking a walking tour of the campus.
- The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign has a tour created using a 360-degree video.
What to Do Next
Once you’ve taken a virtual tour, to make the best use of it, follow up!
- Take Notes: As you (virtually) walk through the campus, write down your questions. Do they have a program you’re specifically interested in? Does the tour mention the food choices at the cafeteria? Do the dorms look spacious and convenient? Is there a honors program? Take notes. It will help a lot later
- Ask Questions: Send a note to the admissions department, asking questions: Tell them you took the virtual tour, and have follow-up questions: How does one apply for the honors program? How does dorm selection work? What are the core courses all students required to take? Treat it like a real campus visit, so you can make the most of it.
- Schedule an in-person visit: If the university seems like a good choice, at least at first glance, email to see when you can come visit. Many schools have online scheduling options, so you can schedule the visit right away.
- Schedule an interview: Many private, and some public, universities offer the opportunity for students to interview. When this is offered, it is always a good idea to do it. Follow up by scheduling an interview. You can meet with an admissions official during your visit, or do an interview by video chat, or with a local representative visiting your area.
Before you spend the money and take the time to visit colleges, do a college search on a site like LifeLaunchr and check out college virtual tours. It could help kickstart your college search!