Reading Time: 3 minutes

You’ve probably heard more times than you can count that “you need to go on a campus visit” to decide if a college is truly the right place for you. Guilty, we definitely told you that. Although it’s ideal to step foot on the college campuses you are considering, sometimes, it’s just not realistic financially or timing wise. If you can’t make a campus visit happen, check out these things you can do instead:

Virtual tour

You gotta love the power of technology. If you do a quick search on the admissions website or YouTube, you are bound to find a virtual tour of campus that you can “attend” from the comfort of your own bed. This tour will highlight very similar things to the in-person tour. The perk of virtual tours: you can hit the pause button to take notes or jot down any questions that you have.

College Fair

Be sure to connect with your high school counselor to find out if there are any college fairs coming into your area. If there are, you can find a list of the colleges that will be attending. Make it a point to attend if your school(s) of interest will be there. This will give you the opportunity to connect with admissions representatives face-to-face, demonstrate your interest, and ask any questions that you have.

Your admissions counselor

Even before you begin the admissions process, you will have a specific admissions counselor to guide you through the application and answer any questions you have about their school. Admissions counselors are usually assigned based on your geographic location or by intended major. They will be your go-to person from the time you first show interest in a school to when you enroll. Ask them if they have any visits planned for your area. If they don’t, they may connect you to the school’s alumni chapter in your area, so you can meet someone and learn about their first-hand experiences.

Social media

As you already know, social media serves as the glamorous “highlight reel,” but it will definitely give you more insight about things going on around campus. Browse some hashtags that are widely used at the schools you are considering or the pictures taken at the school’s location to see what people are posting about.

Current students

If you know any students who currently attend your school(s) of interest, don’t be afraid to reach out! (Even if it’s a friend of a friend’s third cousin). If you can’t find anyone within your network, try social media. There may be a Facebook group you can join to connect with some current students. You can also check Twitter; many schools have social media ambassadors that post about student life for the purpose of helping out potential students. 

Don’t be afraid to reach out with questions. A good question to ask: “What do you wish you had known before you enrolled?” Hopefully, this will paint a realistic picture of the school, but of course, you should always remember that everyone’s experiences are different. If you’re having trouble thinking of questions, here’s a list for inspiration.

With technology right at your fingertips, the world has become a much smaller, more connected place. With a little bit of resourcefulness, you can create a “campus visit” experience for yourself that rivals an in-person visit. Once you are in college, there may be an opportunity to connect with a student in a similar situation. Be sure to pay it forward and provide them tons of insight into your experiences!