Admissions

What to Do if You Can't Visit Campuses to Make Your College Decision

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The recent spread of the coronavirus is creating a significant disruption to the college admission process — including the cancellation of campus visits, including Admitted Student Day events. Often, these in-person events can help students crystallize their final college choices.

Although most campuses have canceled these event, many colleges have taken swift action to still provide students with campus engagement opportunities to help them make their final decisions. Many campuses have converted the usual in-person Admitted Student Day events to online experiences instead.


Consider Virtual Events, Tours

Drexel University has converted its Admitted Student Day to a An Admitted Students Virtual Experience. The University of Arizona stated that its admission "team will reach out to those who planned to visit campus to provide more information, answer questions and offer additional opportunities to connect virtually." Washington College posted the agenda for its virtual Admitted Students Day that includes several sessions and a live chat with an associate professor.

Rollins College is offering several different dates for Virtual Experience Rollins in lieu of its in-person Experience Rollins event. During the virtual event, students can take a virtual tour of the campus, interact with several members of the Rollins community and get answers to their questions. In addition, many campuses have virtual tours on their websites if students can't visit, accessible at any time of year.

Terry Mady-Grove, certified educational planner and president of Charted University Consultants, has offered students a chance via LinkedIn to contact her to ask questions about colleges because most campuses have canceled in-person events due to the coronavirus threat. Within a week, 10 students contacted her for advice.

"In this unprecedented time, we are all looking for ways to help, and if I can help to reduce a student's stress, it is at least some help," says Mady-Grove. "The students who contacted me were not my clients and therefore some knew little to nothing about the colleges at which they were accepted and hoped to learn a lot at an admitted students' day."

Mady-Grove says she advises students in this situation not to panic. "I tell students that, while admitted student days are fun and a student may be able to get a good sense of current students and the campus vibe, that these are special days with structured events and are not necessarily a completely accurate view of everyday life on a campus. Many students, including international students, do not have the resources to visit. So they are not alone."

Check These Steps to Learn More

There are many steps students can take to get more information about a college, even if they can't visit campus:

  • Check whether your college has extended its deposit deadline. College Confidential has a directory of schools that have announce new dates.
  • Many colleges have virtual tours, and you can visit College Confidential's directory to find them.
  • Some colleges have gotten really creative and are having virtual accepted students' days with an interactive forum and a live chat with admission officers and students.
  • Visit each college website that you are considering. "Thoroughly review the website and make a written, comprehensive list of pluses and minuses of what is important to the student such as majors, size, location, cost, percentage of students who live on campus, graduation rate, special programs and retention rate, to name a few," says Mady-Grove. "Review the pluses and minuses for each college and discuss these with an adult. With a lot of research and discussion, it is likely that a top choice will emerge."

In addition to the steps above, students also might want to consider calling an independent college consultant to ask if they have an ad hoc service just to ask questions about campuses they have visited, if you want specific inside information.

Also, it may be old-fashioned, but it might also be a good time to crack open a printed college guide. Many college guides are published that have specific information about programs and campuses for many types of students. Although browsing at the library may not be possible, it is still an option to purchase college guides online.

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