Covid-19 makes in-person campus visits a huge challenge since many of them are closed to the public. As a prospective student, campus tours play an important factor in deciding which university to attend. But don’t worry, these tips will help you explore a campus without visiting in person.
But don’t worry, these tips will help you explore a campus without visiting in person.
When it comes to continuing your higher education, choosing the right university is a crucial decision every prospective student could ever make in their academic life.
Thus, if you are looking to continue your education, it is imperative that you choose the one that suits you and your goal the most because choosing the incorrect one will affect your study and your goals in the long terms.
Choosing a college will be more complicated when you are a mature student or a student mom/dad. As an adult, you have many things going on in your life, as well as plenty of responsibilities and certain limitations that your younger peers don’t have.
Therefore, you need to find the perfect institution for you to continue your study, the one that could accommodate your needs and help you reach your goals.
So, how to decide on which university to attend when you can’t visit the campus? Below are some tips for gathering the information you need in a time of pandemic and social distancing.
1. Visit Their Website
Narrow down the campuses you wish to enroll in and visit each of their websites. Campus websites offer almost everything you need to know about their institution, such as their study programs, the faculty member’s credentials, scholarships and internships information, their campus facilities, the services they provide, and so on.
Prepare a list of all the things you want to know. Wrote them down in special notes such as this workbook to record your research.
Put on all the pros and cons you could find, so that you can visit your notes later and make a comparison of your finding before you make any decision.
Nowadays, websites are starting to have a chatbot too. You can chat with a representative of the university and ask around. They will be more than happy to help you with your questions or direct you to those who could help.
2. Download Their Brochures
Visiting a website means you’ll need to navigate its menu to look for the things you need. If you are an adult or a mom and dad wanting to go back to school, perhaps you don’t have plenty of time to spare for your college research.
Downloading the brochures will save you time. Mostly, the universities will have their brochures or prospectus in plain sight, on their home page or so, ready for you to download.
It will contain all the information you need. Unless you need something very specific to your situation, most likely you will find everything related to your study there.
There will be information on the campus facilities, tuition fees, the programs, faculty members, the student accommodation provided by the campus, the college representative’s contact number, and so on, equipped with beautiful pictures of the campus, the facilities, and its surroundings.
Moreover, some colleges even make brochures for each of their study programs, breaking down the curriculum per semester by semester and detailing what could you expect from their program in terms of the study experience and the materials to help you decide whether they are a good fit for you and your goals or not.
Universities that offer international programs or welcome international students also often provide a specific guide booklet about things you need to know and need to do in your country as an international student, to make sure your study abroad experience goes smoothly.
These guidebooks usually give information on how to make a bank account, use a post office service, how to travel around, how to apply for your residence permit, and so on, as well as some information about the city, the country, the tourist attractions, as well as the common courtesy, customs, habits of the locals, and so on
3. Take the Virtual College Visit.
Without the ability to visit campus on a tour, prospective students are missing out on a crucial factor in choosing a university, because sometimes, for many people, the opportunity to see things with their own eyes is extremely important.
Therefore, virtual college tours are worth trying. So, how do virtual campus visits work? First, you need to decide if the campus that you consider applying to offers virtual tours or not.
Or you can check the list of the colleges that offer virtual campus tours and see if there are any of the campuses on the list suitable for you and your study goals. Then you can click the link provided to join their campus tour virtually. It will take you to a 360° video best viewed with cardboard or 360° glasses.
Although the experience will not be the same as visiting in person, at least it gives an adequate replication of in-person campus tours.
4. Enroll in Their Webinars or Online Events
Many universities offer webinars or other online events to provide more information to prospective students who couldn’t visit their campuses due to the pandemic.
During these events, the university representatives and current students (student representatives or student ambassadors) will give presentations and answer questions in the Q&A Sessions.
These types of events will be a good opportunity for you to know more about the university and the programs since you can ask the campus and student representatives directly and get real-time responses from them.
Compare to the other methods mentioned before such as visiting the college’s websites, downloading their brochures, and visiting them virtually on college virtual tours where the actions are one-way, webinars or online events are interactive.
Thus, it’s better if you gather all the information first by using the aforementioned methods above, then collect the information in a workbook, write down the things that are still unclear for you, and ask for the answers and more information from the representatives during the webinars.
5. Reach Out to Current Students or Alumni
After you attend a webinar or online event, you will have contact with representatives. If for some reason you could not attend their webinars or online events and missed the opportunity to talk directly to the college and student representatives, you can reach out to their alumni network.
Talk to them to get firsthand information about their own experiences. Especially if you are an adult student/ student mom and dad, or an international student. You might have some concerns regarding going back to school as an adult or about being an international student in their country.
By talking to current students or alumni, you will have more resources you can tap into to round out your perspective. Find someone with the closest background to your own (another student’s mom, alumni coming from your country, and so on) and see what they got to say about the experience of studying there, with their particular situation that matches yours.
6. Contact Their Admission Department Directly
Reaching out to current students or alumni will hopefully give you some answers you need about your personal situation. But when it comes to campus-related matters, their representatives know best.
During the webinars, you will have restricted time to ask questions. Also, if your concern related to your study is a bit personal, perhaps you don’t want to address it in front of plenty of strangers.
Thus, reaching out directly to their representative is better if you have further questions to discuss. Find their contact on the website or in the webinars and politely ask for their time. Most likely they will encourage you to send an email of your inquiries or schedule a phone/video call with you.
7. Visit Virtual Education Fairs
Before the pandemic era, an education fair was a good way for prospective students to meet with prospective colleges. The event usually takes place in a big hall filled with booths from different campuses, offering brochures and a chance to chat with their representatives regarding the campus and the study programs.
These days, the event has mainly shifted to virtual education fairs. The colleges that participated are having virtual booths instead of physical ones in a big hall.
By attending virtual educational fairs, you can browse through the virtual booths and learn more about the universities. You will also be able to access and download uploaded content such as brochures, forms, and other collateral for sharing and future reading.
As a prospective student visiting an education fair, you could also connect with the staff by talking to university representatives via chat tools. There, you could receive answers to your queries in real-time, just like attending the university’s webinar.
Talking about webinars, in an online education fair, you could also attend webinars and university presentations for a more in-depth browsing experience. There will be a list of webinars available and you can choose to attend the ones from colleges that you are interested in.
8. Research…Research and Research!!!
Find out everything and anything you need to know regarding the universities/ colleges you want to apply to. Don’t overlook the statistics data.
Write down a list of things that matter to you when it comes to choosing a university and the things you’ll need during your study, so you know what you are looking for from the statistics.
When you are an adult student/student mom and dad, some things that might not be important for other students might be crucial to you. What are they? List them down and look for the answer.
Would you prefer to stay close to your family? Or maybe you don’t mind commuting every day? Perhaps you want to chase your dream of studying abroad? In which country? What are the living costs there? The list could go on and on.
Decide what your priorities are. Which ones are the most important factors to consider and which ones are the negotiable ones? If you are still undecided, check out my free guide here.
Use this printable workbook to record your Back to School Research. Don’t make all that Campus Visits, Virtual Tours, Webinars, and Q&A with the school’s admission personnel go to waste !! Write down the information you have collected in this workbook.
Study them later carefully to help you weigh in the pros and cons of each university and decide the best place for you to continue your study.
9. Follow Them on Social Media
Once you have narrowed down your options to two or three universities, follow them on social media to stay updated with the latest news and information. Seeing their posts also will get you the “feel” of the spirit of the campus itself.
After you see them for a while, you could see which one gave you the feel of a party campus, for example, or the too-formal ones, or perhaps you find some that give you the right balance of “work and fun” vibes. It could be anything.
You could also check on their student’s videos and see what they got to say, or videos uploaded about the campus or the city and country where the university is located.
Although it’s not a major factor in deciding which school you should attend, in a pandemic era where we can’t do campus tours, following their social media account will give you some idea about the campus as a brand of the institution itself.
Over to You…
As universities shift to online classes to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, the usual campus visits and tours, and Open Days may be suspended.
Although each campus has its own policies regarding this, mostly the usual opportunities to visit a campus in person are temporarily off the table.
But it doesn’t mean you are left with no choice other than to choose blindly. If you want to go back to school and continue your education, there are plenty of ways towards choosing the right university for you, without visiting them in person as you could normally do through campus tours.
You could visit the college’s websites, download their brochures and take virtual tours if they offered one. You could also enroll in the university’s webinar or online events, where you could talk to their representatives, current students, and alumni, should you have further concerns and questions, and get real-time answers.
Other alternatives are reaching out directly to their representatives from the admission department to have further discussion, with more time and privacy than asking questions in webinars.
You could also visit a virtual/online education fair, where you can get information on plenty of universities at once, as well as download their brochures and other uploaded materials, listen to the university presentations, and chat with their representatives in real-time.
It’s just like what you can do in attending a university webinar, but now you also have access to plenty of other colleges at the same place and time.
And lastly, don’t forget to write down a list of what are the most important things to you when choosing a university. If after doing all the tips mentioned above, you still have concerns, keep researching and reach out to the persons who could provide you with the answers.
Look out for the statistics data about the universities themselves, their programs, the city, and the country where they are located, and see if it can give you the answer you are looking for. You could also follow them on social media to get the latest info and update.
Well, even though for the time being we can’t visit campus tours and it sucks, there are still ways to get to know our dream campuses and “visit” them.
What do you think, which methods are the most effective? Which one do you prefer to do and why? Let me know in the comment box below, I’ll be happy to connect with you virtually
Pssst…do you know anyone who wants to continue their education and go back to school? If they can’t visit their dream campus, these tips might be useful for them. Could you be so kind and share this post on your social media? thanks so much, really appreciate it
Till Next Time !!!
- 7 Popular Myths About Higher Education You Absolutely Shouldn’t Believe
- 9 Crucial Information You Need to Check on Your Future College
- 7 College Hacks for Adult Learners to Survive the Back-to-School Journey
- 8 Things You Absolutely Need to Have Before Going Back to School as Adult Students
Follow me on Instagram