College Tours Canceled Due to COVID? Here's Some Advice on Applying Without Touring
June 16, 2020
If you are an upcoming senior, you are probably stressing out about college applications opening soon. You may have had tours canceled, and do not know where to apply, here's some advice.
To the upcoming senior class, college applications can be stressful, but you will survive. You may be a little more nervous than usual because you haven't been able to tour your dream school due to COVID-19. I'm not gonna lie, I would be a little nervous too, but no need to overthink it. Going in to the college application process, I had some ideas of where I wanted to apply, but I was not 100% sure. I had my dream school, my reach schools, and my safety schools. Some of them I had toured, and others I had not.
Applying to college can get expensive if you do not plan properly. Many schools have an application fee, some of them can cost around $100, just to apply. Therefore, planning out where you want to apply is important. For you upcoming seniors who are about to begin the application process, you may have absolutely no idea where you want to apply, that's perfectly fine. If you are one of those seniors it's time to start doing your research. Here are some ways to do research on colleges you may want to attend.
First things first, start by simply browsing the schools website. Most likely they have some for of "virtual tour" or something similar on their website for students like you wanting to learn more about the institution. Browse through the various sections on the website including residence life, student life and academic life. Everybody has something different that they are looking for when it comes to college, so be sure to get as much information as you can from the schools website. Nowadays, most colleges have great websites filled with resources to help prospective students learn more about them.
As you are browsing the website, you will probably find contact information for the heads of each academic department. Since you can't meet with them in person, reach out to them via email. Most faculty members should be more than willing to answer questions you have about the program over email or maybe even by scheduling a phone call. The professors understand that this is a difficult time for you, and they will want to help make the process easier for you. Before you email them, make sure you have a clear list of questions, and don't forget to introduce yourself.
Another easy way to find out more about the school is by reaching out to current students. Don't get me wrong the websites are great tools, but they can sometimes make the campus and/or student life seem different than it actually is. I have had multiple incoming freshmen and rising seniors reach out to me about campus life and various aspects of my university, I gladly responded. It may be hard to step out of your comfort zone and do this, but trust me, we will be honest with you, and give you information you won't find online.
Remember, just because you apply to a college, that does not mean you have to go there. Application season is exciting, but it can also be scary and stressful. Use as many resources as possible to learn about various colleges before deciding where to apply. I know that it is not the same as touring it in person, however, hopefully COVID-19 will soon pass and colleges will start allowing tours again. Good luck with applications, and finding your perfect school.
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