Mastering Virtual College Tours: A Student's Guide to Success

04/09/202312 minute read
Mastering Virtual College Tours: A Student's Guide to Success

Choosing the right college is a big decision, and like any important choice, it's worth exploring thoroughly. In this digital age, the world of higher education has opened up to you in exciting new ways, thanks to virtual college tours.

In this blog, we’ll learn about virtual college tours, what they are, how they work, and how to make the most out of them!

The Rise of Virtual College Visits

Picture this: You, sitting in your comfy chair, maybe with a cup of tea in hand, and a world of colleges and universities right at your fingertips.

Virtual college tours have emerged as a fantastic resource, especially considering the changing circumstances we've all faced.

In the past, visiting campuses in person was the norm. And while there's something undeniably magical about walking through the hallowed halls of a college, feeling the vibes of the campus, and chatting with students, it's not always feasible.

Distance, time, and, let's not forget, global events, can make physical visits challenging.

That's where virtual college tours come in. These digital journeys allow you to explore campuses and get a feel for the college environment from the comfort of your home.

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Are Virtual College Tours Worth It?

There's something uniquely valuable about seeing and experiencing a place, even if it's through a screen.

Virtual college tours help you get a sense of the campus culture, the facilities, and the overall vibe. You can virtually meet faculty members, see where you might be living, and visualize where you'll spend a significant part of your academic journey.

Here are them main reasons as to why a virtual college tour is absolutely worth it:

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1. Accessibility for All Students, Regardless of Location

Imagine you're a high school student in a small town, far away from major universities.

In the past, visiting colleges might have meant a long road trip or expensive flights, not to mention taking time off school or work. Thankfully, virtual college tours leveled the playing field.

No matter where you are in the world, as long as you have an internet connection, you can embark on a virtual journey to explore campuses near and far. It's like teleporting to different universities without the hassle and expense of travel.

2. Time and Cost Savings Compared to In-Person Visits

Physical college visits often require meticulous planning and can be quite expensive.

From travel expenses to accommodation and meals, it all adds up. Plus, there's the matter of time – visiting multiple campuses can eat into your busy schedule.

With virtual tours, you save both time and money. You can squeeze in a tour during a lunch break or even while lounging in your pajamas at home. No need to book flights, hotels, or meals. Your wallet and your schedule will thank you!

3. Availability of a Wide Range of Resources and Information

Virtual college tours aren't just about pretty pictures and 360-degree views. They're treasure troves of information. You can explore academic programs, watch faculty interviews, and chat with current students or admission counselors through virtual open houses.

And the best part? You're not limited by time or location. You can revisit these resources whenever you want, delve deep into specific majors, and compare colleges side by side.

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How Do Virtual College Tours Work?

1. Starting Your Tour

Most colleges and universities host their virtual tours on their official websites or specialized tour platforms.

Once you've arrived at the college's virtual tour hub, you're often presented with choices. Some institutions offer comprehensive tours that cover the entire campus, while others break it down into specific sections like dormitories, classrooms, or athletic facilities. It's a bit like choosing your own adventure!

2. Getting Around

You're transported into the heart of the college through a series of panoramic photos or interactive 360-degree videos.

Using your mouse or touchscreen, you can click and drag to explore your surroundings - just as if you were strolling through the campus in person.

3. Interactive Elements

As you explore, you'll discover interactive elements that provide additional information.

These can include clickable hotspots, which, when selected, offer insights into campus facilities, academic programs, and student life. It's like having your own personal tour guide right in your device!

4. Videos and Photos

Virtual tours often incorporate multimedia features like videos, photos, and student testimonials.

This adds depth to your exploration, allowing you to see classrooms in action, witness campus events, and hear directly from students and faculty members about their experiences.

4. Live Events

Many colleges take virtual engagement a step further by hosting live or recorded virtual events. These can include information sessions, Q&A sessions with admissions staff, and even virtual open houses.

It's a fantastic opportunity to connect with the college community in real time and get your burning questions answered.

5. Interact and Engage

Many virtual tours have chat or comment features where you can ask questions, share your thoughts, or engage with other prospective students. It's a dynamic way to make the most of your virtual tour experience.

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Tips to Make the Most Out of Virtual College Tours

1. Register for Live Virtual Information Sessions

Imagine attending an information session about your dream college without leaving your room. That's the magic of live virtual sessions.

You'll get the inside scoop on academic programs, admissions processes, and campus culture. These sessions often feature college representatives who can provide firsthand information and answer your questions. So, keep an eye out for these events and register in advance.

2. Interact with Admissions Officers, Faculty, and Current Students

Don't be a passive observer; be an active participant! Virtual tours often include opportunities to interact with college representatives, faculty members, and current students.

Take advantage of these chances to gain deeper insights into the college's culture, programs, and campus life. Prepare some thoughtful questions to ask during Q&A sessions.

It's your chance to get the inside track and connect with the people who can provide valuable information.

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3. Engage with Social Media

Colleges are social creatures too! Follow them on various social media platforms to stay updated on the latest news, events, and campus happenings.

You might stumble upon Instagram takeovers, virtual campus tours, and get a glimpse of student life from different perspectives.

Social media is a window into the dynamic world of college culture, so don't miss out on this opportunity to connect.

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4. Connect with Current Students and Alumni

Want the real scoop on what it's like to study there? Many colleges have student ambassadors eager to chat with prospective students. Look out for virtual meet-and-greets with alumni networks too.

These connections can provide invaluable insights into the student experience, academic challenges, and career opportunities. Hearing from those who have walked the same path can help you make a more informed decision.

5. Attend Virtual Workshops and Classes

Ever wondered what a college class feels like? Some institutions offer opportunities to participate in online workshops or sample classes. These experiences allow you to immerse yourself in the college's academic environment.

You can interact with professors, engage with fellow prospective students, and gain firsthand experience of teaching methods and class dynamics. It's a fantastic way to understand the educational culture of the college.

6. Explore Campus Resources Remotely

Libraries, research centers, and labs – colleges have it all! Thanks to virtual access, you can explore these resources from the comfort of your own space.

Dive deep into academic departments' websites and faculty profiles to understand the depth of academic opportunities available.

This exploration can help you gauge the resources and support available for your specific field of study.

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7. Stay Organized

With so much information, it's crucial to stay organized. Create a spreadsheet or note-taking system to track your virtual visits.

Document your impressions, pros, cons, and important details. Having a structured approach will make it easier to compare and contrast different colleges later on in your decision-making process.

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8. Post-Virtual Visit Follow-Up

Here's a pro-tip: after a virtual visit, send follow-up emails to admissions officers or student ambassadors.

Ask for additional information or clarifications about specific programs, financial aid options, or any other questions you may have.

It shows your genuine interest and can open the door to more personalized guidance. Remember, the more you engage, the better your understanding of the college will be.

9. Compare and Make Informed Decisions

Don't stop at one virtual visit. Compare the experiences of different colleges. Take note of the unique features, strengths, and opportunities each one offers.

Consider factors like location, campus culture, academic programs, and extracurricular activities. Incorporate these insights into your decision-making process.

Virtual visits can be instrumental in shaping your college journey and helping you make a well-informed choice that aligns with your goals and aspirations.

10. Plan for In-Person Visits (If Possible)

Virtual visits are fantastic, but if circumstances allow, plan for in-person visits to your top choices. Your virtual explorations will help you narrow down your list and focus on the ones that resonate with you.

In-person visits provide a tactile experience that goes beyond what can be captured in virtual tours. You'll have the opportunity to step onto the campus, meet people face-to-face, and truly immerse yourself in the college environment.

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Virtual college tours are your golden ticket to exploring the higher education landscape in ways that were once unimaginable. Use them wisely, engage actively, and make informed decisions that will shape your academic journey. Your dream college may be just a click away!

Need help finding and applying for the perfect college? Our expert strategists guide you through the selection and admissions process from A to Z, increasing your chances of admission by up to 7 times!