Researching colleges takes time and a lot of self-reflection. Trying to discover which colleges fit can be complicated in a world where campuses are closed. The ability to get a good sense of the culture is harder and that gut instinct that drives so many when they step foot on a campus is missing. Thankfully colleges are aware of the challenges and have a growing commitment to provide virtual experiences like never before. The key is to uncover the resources so you know where to turn to create an experience for yourself that will allow you to find the right fit.
Virtual Tours and Information Sessions Master Spreadsheet- Colleges have a continued commitment to making sure prospective students have access to information. Virtual tours and information sessions are designed to provide insight on various levels ranging from admission requirements and statistics to culture. Many colleges have even added student panels, professor panels and much more. This spreadsheet is a great quick-reference resource that links to schools’ official YouTube channels, plus CampusReel, YOUniversityTV, and YouVisit pages for hundreds of colleges. (Many thanks to Rebecca Chabrow for pulling this together.)
Connect to recent Miramonte Alumni- In the spring we reached out to recent Miramonte alumni to see if they would be willing to speak with our current students about their colleges. I encourage seniors to reach out to their once fellow classmates to get an insider’s perspective.
CampusReel.org - Lots of college virtual tours are not touching on what the campus is really like. They provide insight into how one particular college’s biology program sits in the rankings or hear about the student to teacher ratio. But CampusReel tours are led by current students, usually on their phone (selfie-style), so you get invited right into their dorm room, classroom, or dining hall.
CollegeXpress.com- If you are still trying to hone your college list, this website offers the ability to do a college search based on specific criteria. Maybe search “Most spirited Schools” or “Private Colleges for B Students.” Get creative, have fun and explore.
Other online resources
Youniversity - Students can click on tabs such as “safest campuses,” “most diverse campuses” and “top academic colleges,” as well as “best campus food” and “coolest dorms.”
YouVisit - Can put students in the stands or on the playing field to get a simulated experience of being an athlete there.
Although it might feel as if there has been an enormous shift the reality is that thousands of students every year decide where to apply and even commit to attending colleges before setting foot on campus. Remember, when it comes time to choose the college you want to attend, doing your research is one of the most valuable tools you have. The choice is ultimately yours to make so go for it, feel confident and know you have options.