High school seniors around the world are currently applying to colleges, an important decision that will influence their young adulthood and futures. After four years of stacking the building blocks to their expansive futures, students must finally take the leap into a new chapter of their lives by committing to a college. To explore a variety of colleges and what they have to offer, students visit colleges to personally see which fits them best. But, due to Covid-19, many universities have resorted to virtual information sessions and tours instead.
Virtual college tours and information sessions can become the stepping stones in determining the dream college for many high school students. Visiting colleges in person to meet admissions counselors face to face and experiencing diverse campus environments can be crucial influencers for students. Despite the lack of closer interactions, virtual tours provide a variety of ways to express campus life and college aura. Many universities are tapping into virtual reality and videos presenting 360° views of campuses from the cafeterias and dining halls to the libraries and dorms. College information sessions that are held under normal circumstances are also administered online. These virtual opportunities are limitless in that they are not constrained by time and affordability as students can participate with no burden of travel or risk of contracting the virus. Emily Liu, a junior at Northview High School, affirmed the helpfulness of virtual sessions by stating that “virtual college sessions help students learn about how they might fit into a certain college. By attending these sessions, I was able to learn details about the college that I wouldn’t find anywhere else.”
An example of a college information session that took place virtually was one by Vanderbilt University at Northview High School on October 21. 30 students preregistered to attend the online session, allowing them to acquire information on admission and insight of the college on a more personal level. Ko-Eun Lee, a junior at Northview High school who attended the session, stated that she “was worried that I cannot attend the session at school, but was relieved to know that colleges are providing ways to virtually reach students so that we can still actively search for colleges we’re interested in.”
Websites like eCampusTours and YouVisit provide virtual walkthroughs for colleges, and social media is also a valuable tool that allows students to explore college features, landmarks, and the environment. Virtual information sessions are also helpful in that they are not only opportunities for students to better envision what colleges fit them, but also give students the chance to demonstrate interest and passion in getting involved with future schools. Therefore, virtual tours and information sessions can ease students a step closer to their futures and light the paths forming the outline of their new homes.