During these trying, unpredictable times it can be quite stressful for incoming juniors and seniors to learn about the schools they plan on applying to, but hundreds around the country have been quite active in giving high school students the same, and perhaps more, opportunities to explore their institutions.
Some of the opportunities that colleges are offering include:
Virtual Tours: Virtual College Tours, Virtual Reality Education
Many colleges have begun offering online tours of their campuses with a platform called YouVisit, which is linked above. On the site you can look up schools to see if they have virtual tours, and they even have the option of using a VR Headset, if you have one, in order to do a tour in virtual reality. When scrolling over school tours, the site also provides basic information, such as tuition before aid, number of undergraduate students, the length of study (4-year vs. 2-year program), and whether the school is public or private. If you cannot find the schools you are looking for, you can also visit the school’s individual website and type in “virtual tour” or just “tour,” as some schools have either made a page for virtual opportunities and others have put virtual experiences in place of the original on-campus experiences.
Test Optional Applications: The National Center for Fair and Open Testing
Many schools have also moved to test-optional models. During this tense time, not knowing if you will be able to take standardized tests, and at this point no one knows if the tests will return in person, online, or even resume in time for applications, so, in response to this, hundreds of schools across the country have changed their application process. Above is the link to a long list of schools that have changed their policies. It is still important to check schools’ websites, but the list gives a great number of examples of schools that may have new policies for the coming year or even years.
Many schools also offer online classes if you would like to see what a class at their institution would be like. Before the pandemic, many schools offered high school students the opportunity to audit classes or attend a mock class in person, so now many schools have made these virtually accessible. The two links above give many different options for classes that can be taken online. One of them is a list of 450 courses that the Ivy League collectively released in January.
Virtual Information Sessions & Virtual Interviews:
Many schools have also moved their information sessions and interviews online. There is not a concise list of schools that have done this, but if you go on a school’s website and search “virtual information session,” “information session,” “virtual interview,” or “interview,” you can probably find information on what you are looking for. If you are not able to find what you are looking for, some schools have not made put in place these opportunities available yet, but you can always contact the admissions office with questions.
Speaking with Current Students:
Lastly, many schools also offer the opportunity to reach out to students who go to the school already. You can find this information on individual websites, as well.