Ask the college admissions expert: How do students navigate the application process without access to college visits and fairs due to COVID-19?

19 May 2020 | 10:14

College visits and fairs are two of the most impactful tools students have to get a feel for colleges. How do students access this important information when visiting the school or attending a college fair isn’t possible?

College visits and college fairs give students an opportunity to gain important information about a particular school—the programs they offer, the number of students enrolled—but they also provide an opportunity for students to get a “feel” for the campus and the culture of the school.

And while many schools are offering virtual tours, which can certainly provide a concrete overview of the school and what they have to offer, how can students get that feel and culture of the school without being there?

There are a few strategies that can stand in for in-person visits that students can use to inform their search. The first is to use the virtual tour as an indicator of an institution’s culture. How much effort has been put into the tour? Is there information provided beyond what is readily available on the website? Are there tours or information sessions available for specific programs you may be interested in? How interactive are they?

We recently had a student who did a virtual tour of Clemson which included representatives from different programs, as well as student and professor panels. She was able to really get a feel for what it was like to be a student at Clemson, how Seniors feel about their experience there, and the ways that professors viewed their relationships with students. The experience, though remote, provided her with some powerful takeaways: Clemson is a school that fosters a strong sense of identity and community and where professors see their roles as extending beyond the classroom to supporting students in their whole college experience.

The next strategy is to use the virtual tour as a starting point for follow-up conversations with the school. Contacting the admissions office with substantive and relative questions, reaching out to a professor in a program you are interested i or contacting career services to get a better idea of the supports they offer is not only a great way to expand your understanding of the school but also a great way to get an idea of the institutional culture.

Here at College Mode, our one-on-one services are tailored to support students and their families as we navigate the ever-changing college admissions process and prioritize the students’ needs and acceptance offers for an ideal college fit. Call us today and let’s start this journey.