The coronavirus has drastically altered life around the world, and while college admissions isn’t life and death, it’s safe to say that the admissions process has been upended. Colleges around the country have canceled in person classes and most have adopted an online format for the remainder of the semester. With that, it’s certain that spring college visits will be occurring in non-traditional ways. So how can you get a feel for a college when the campus is closed?
In the coming weeks, it’s possible that we will see many colleges postpone the May 1 enrollment confirmation date. For now, it’s best to assume that you may need to make some choices without doing an in-person visit. The NY Times had some great suggestions for “Making Decisions When Colleges are Closed”. It boils down to using your virtual resources.
- Virtual Tour – Many schools already have a virtual tour available. In GuidedPath, you can find nearly 500 virtual tours through YouVisit on the college profile pages. Other collections of online campus tours include YoUniversityTV or CampusTours.com.
- Extended Virtual Visit – Admissions offices around the country are scrambling to enhance their virtual visit options for seniors. Stay in touch with the schools that have accepted you to find out what they will offer. Zoom meetings with admission officers, chats with student tour guides, FaceTime appointments with financial aid counselors, or phone calls with faculty or advisors. Universities are excited to welcome you to campus as an admitted student even if that means welcoming you remotely.
- Crowdsource a Connection – Chances are you may know someone who knows someone who is a current student. And now that those current students have largely returned home, they may be available and excited to chat. Reach out to your friend network or your college advisor to make a connection.
- Stay Positive – Although it is certainly an unprecedented time for colleges and the country, college campuses aren’t going anywhere. Students will return to school and you will have a place in a freshman class. For now, it’s all about making the most informed choice possible.
The best course of action is to stay informed and stay in touch with the colleges to which you have been admitted. Check your email daily and check college websites for updated deadlines and procedures – including financial aid, enrollment forms, housing contracts, orientation and registration. Expect a lot of communication from colleges in the coming weeks. Be sure to have a method for organizing this information. And keep in touch with your advisor to stay on track.