While visiting a college campus is typically the strongest way to determine fit, much can be done before or in lieu of a visit to get a sense of a school.
Here are some tips for exploring a campus virtually:
- Go to the college’s website and explore the Undergraduate Admissions page. What themes or messages are highlighted throughout the admissions materials?
- Attend a Virtual Information Session, offered live regularly and also recorded for watching after a prior event
- Connect with current students via a Live Chat or through your own network. Many admissions offices are now offering this opportunity to connect with current students which can be incredibly powerful.
- Explore the Academic Department pages for your areas of interest. What classes are offered? What type of research are professors conducting? How do students apply what they learn in your majors of interest to life after graduation?
- Attend a virtual class (facilitated through admissions)
- Take a Virtual Campus Tour (again, on the admissions page and/or independent sites like (e.g., Campus Tours)
- Explore student life in the areas that interest you (e.g., housing, dining halls, student centers, academic support, clubs and organizations, athletic facilitates)
If you like what you see on the college’s website, you can then look beyond those resources to get a better sense of the school outside of what the college shares. What do students have to say about the school? What do alumni say about their experiences afterward? How do students spend their free time? Are faculty engaged with undergraduate students? Is it difficult to get classes?
You might consider exploring:
- the college’s social media outlets (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc)
- student review sites like Niche and Unigo
Many students like to manage this research process in a systematic way – using one spreadsheet for all information collected or a note on your phone.
Bottom line – much can be done before you even set foot on campus to determine fit. This research will also help you make the most of your upcoming connections with a college whether it be eventually in person or virtually in the mean time.