In the past, the team at Parros College Planning discussed how valuable it is to display your interest when applying for college admissions [See article here]. College tours have always been one option for prospective students who are trying to narrow down their options while also addressing such interest. However, many colleges have ceased in-person visits due to COVID-19. So, how does one show they’re interested in a college when they can’t physically attend events? One answer is rather simple: virtual tours.

Since the pandemic began, most colleges have offered enhanced online experiences in which students can explore aspects of campus life and learn what to expect. When signing up for these visits, college admissions can keep track of who has attended their events. This is a win-win for prospective students, because not only can they explore colleges from the comforts of their home, but they can also demonstrate that they are engaging with their ideal college.

Virtual experiences aren’t limited to college visits, either. Many colleges, such as the University of Michigan, are offering Q&A sessions that allow future students to ask questions to faculty members, current students, and alumni. This allows students to gain valuable information about what they can expect during their college experience. Further, some schools may offer virtual “coffee visits” in which future students are connected with current faculty and students to have a casual, informative chat. These resources serve the dual purpose of answering important questions and also improving your appearance during the college admissions process.

It should also be noted that while most colleges have moved to online tour formats, in-person tours aren’t completely gone. A few select colleges are still utilizing in-person tours under the condition that the total number of participants is limited. These tours offer opportunities to walk through campus while still complying with COVID-19 regulations. Students may have the opportunity to see certain buildings or unoccupied residence halls. These opportunities are limited, but if you have the ability to do so, it could prove to be an essential experience when deciding on colleges.

One shouldn’t limit themselves to just these opportunities, however. If you are interested in a particular program of study, try contacting current professors to establish a form of contact within the department. Such references may be helpful later in your college experience. Another common resource that may be overlooked are college social media platforms. Many institutions have videos and infographic posts regarding particular aspects of campus life that may not be addressed within their tours. Similarly, look for student blogs/vlogs regarding their experiences with the university. Although they’re not personal interactions that help you stand out, you can gain many insights that aren’t offered through traditional events.

Fortunately, many of the traditional experiences that were employed before the pandemic are still available to the public. You simply need to take the creative route of figuring them out. Here at Parros College Planning, we are excited to help you figure out which route to take towards selecting your future college and standing out as an applicant!

Written by: Nate Lasley

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