All the fear about "unknowns" is impacting colleges. Many are sending students home with instructions to finish the semester virtually. Admitted Students Days, so important to making your final college decisions are being cancelled. Here are a few suggestions for getting the feel of a campus and its students, especially if you've never visited or haven't visited in awhile:
Take a virtual tour of the campus via a link on the college's website to remember (or see for the first time) what the campus looks like. Campus Reel offers virtual tours of more than 300 colleges. https://www.campusreel.org/
Join an admitted students group on Facebook or other social media, if applicable, to get to know your potential future classmates and the culture of the student body. If you “meet” someone you connect with, you can always move the chat to your preferred social media. Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are resources as well. Search for YouTube videos on your colleges of interest and you’ll find plenty of students sharing information and experiences about their colleges.
Review the list of your most important criteria for choosing a college and assess (via a spreadsheet, if necessary) which of your choices best matches your list.
Admissions Offices: Look for announcements for organized virtual tours and admitted student days from the colleges. Reach out to your regional admission representative via phone or email to inquire about their plans. Ask for their recommendation on how best to experience the college virtually. See if they can connect you with a student ambassador through Skype or FaceTime. You’ll get brownie points for demonstrating interest if you are a prospective student.
Do a deep dive into the websites. Look at curriculum requirements and co-curricular opportunities for your prospective major. If you’re undecided, investigate advising resources for students with undeclared majors. Head to the section on student life and learn about student organizations and club sports. There is a wealth of information behind the landing page of every college website.
Talk to your parents, high school counselor and IEC.*
Know that one of the most important determinants of your college experience is you, and what you make of your time there. Trust that you can probably have an amazing four years (plus or minus) at any of the schools you're considering, and that while not ideal, you can transfer in the future if necessary.
Stay positive! Contact me to connect to current students at any college--if I don't know anyone personally I will still find connections for you through my network. Arrange a phone call to discuss their first-hand experiences!