There are lots of reasons why you might not be able to visit every college on your list. Maybe you’re looking at West Coast schools and living in Virginia. Maybe the world succumbs to an international pandemic and no one is allowed to travel. So the question is, how do you choose the right college went you can’t even leave your house right now?
Rest assured you CAN make an informed college search and decision from the comfort of your home. Thanks to technology (and recent world events), it’s never been easier to get to know a college campus from afar. Here are our top tips on how to choose the right college from your sofa:
Every college has a newsletter that you can sign up for easily, getting all sorts of material from that college’s voice and atmosphere right to your inbox. This is a great way to see if you connect with the material that they are putting out there. Can you see yourself on the campus they describe?
We suggest setting up a new email account that both the college-bound student and parents have access to so that everyone can see the newsletters and emails coming in that are related to your college journey. This is an easy way to make sure everyone is on the same page!
Plus, you’ll be getting a lot of emails if you are interested in several colleges, which is a great way to compare different campuses and choose the right college for you. All these emails will fill up your inbox though, and once you make your college choice, it’s a pain to go back and unsubscribe from everything. With a designated email, you can just delete the whole account and forget about it!
Colleges can also see who is opening the emails and who is not. So if you want to show them that you’re interested in their school, open all the emails and click the links!
A great way to see if you connect with the people and community surrounding a college is to check out online message forums. Keep in mind that you have to take some opinions found online with a grain of salt, but overall there are some great places to get a feel for a college right from your phone.
Our suggested app for this is ZeeMee. This interesting tool can be used to spice up your applications to colleges with video portfolios and showcases. You can also connect with other students applying to the same college. There have even been cases of people finding their roommates on ZeeMee! They have a fun roommate quiz that matches you with other users going to the same school.
Do note that admissions counselors for the colleges are also on ZeeMee, so this can be a great opportunity to ask questions and BE SEEN. And make sure that you check the privacy settings on your account before posting your videos if you don’t want to be searchable.
We want to mention College Confidential as well, because it is well-known in the education realm. This can be a great tool when used correctly, but keep in mind that absolutely anyone can post about colleges there, so don’t put too much consideration into all the opinions you might see. When in doubt, always apply to a college you might be interested in. You can always turn it down later!
Another great way to get the feel of a college is through their social media. You’ll see lots of pictures from campus activities and day-to-day life throughout the year. This is a great way to make sure you like the weather in your destination (something a lot of people forget about)! If you aren’t into snowy winters, be sure to look at your college’s social media for those months to see how cold it gets.
Social media can also help you catch a glimpse of the students already attending the college. Check out the college’s hashtags to see what students are up to.
Virtual tours have really become a thing this past year, and in comes one of our favorite tools to help you find the best tours in one spot: Campus Reel. We highly suggest this platform over YouTube because it is dedicated to college campuses, meaning you’ll see high-quality videos and material of the colleges of your choice. This is a great way to see several colleges all at once from your living room!
Many colleges have also started one-on-one tours with students, where a current student walks you around the campus virtually with their camera. These tours are live, and allow you to really see the day-to-day life with a real student guide. Just ask the admissions office if something like this is available at the college you are interested in.
Several admissions offices across the country have taken to hosting virtual events for interested students this past year. This is a FANTASTIC way to be seen by the admissions counselors and show interest in the school. These events will have other students that are applying to the school as well, so you can meet incoming freshmen like yourself and hear the questions other students are asking.
You might even have events with professors from the university, which will help you to get to know your chosen program better to see if it’s the right fit for you. In the end, though, be sure to join some events with students that currently attend the college. More students tend to transfer out based on campus life and not their grades.
How To Choose the Right College For You
Feeling stuck on what you should even be looking for in a college? That’s where a college and career advisor can help. Check out our bio today to see if we could be the right fit to help you along your college journey.