Hi Kari, thank you so much for your question and sorry to hear about your virtual college tour experience. I am glad you have other experiences with the school to know that it’s a good school. I will share the link to virtual tours later for other readers but first, let me get to your question. You are doing the right thing by not letting this experience discourage you. After all, not every college will have a great virtual tour or one at all. Props to you for practicing your perseverance skills.
What did you know about the school?
So let’s get started. Ask yourself, what did I know about the college before the tour? This will help you wrap your head around two things: 1) Did you learn anything new? 2) Did it feel like a good fit based on what they chose to highlight? Another thing to think about is 3) Was this the right medium to get to know the school better. Fortunately, there are many ways to get to know a school and its community a little bit better.
Zooming in a Current Student
This has become a common practice. International students and/or students who look at very far away colleges have been doing this for years. Here are some questions you should be asking them: Their experience related to transitioning to online learning, how their school has been responsive to the changes with COVID-19 and most importantly, how is instruction changed?
Chat with an Admissions Counselor
As a former admissions counselor, this is something that we did a lot and I loved it because it gave students an opportunity to ask, even if they didn’t know exactly how to ask it. It’s always a good idea to have a few questions prepared so you don’t go in blindly. One of my favorite questions that students would ask, why do I love working at my institution? This will give you plenty of opportunities to learn more about the people that work there and why they choose to continue to work there. My second favorite question was, favorite place to eat around campus or in the community. Why is this important? Well, gives you insights on where the locals eat and let’s be honest, who doesn’t like to eat?
Share with the college!
Virtual tours are not going away. There are schools (recent announcements by the biggest system: California) that will most likely conduct classes online for the fall. The need for virtual offerings will increase and colleges will need to adapt. Why not share your feedback with the college so that they know they are not meeting your expectations as a prospective student?
As promised, here it’s the list we have compiled of virtual tours on our website. Be sure to check out that post on virtual college tours. Keri, good luck with your virtual chats and virtual meetings with students as you continue to explore colleges!