5 Ways To Start Checking Out Colleges
So, you’re finally getting serious about the prospect of going to college and feeling an itch to start looking at some options. But where to begin? Assuming you’re not ready to shell out hundreds of dollars for flights to attend campus tours around the country, here are a few inexpensive (or free) ways to start checking out schools now.
1. Take a virtual tour
Many colleges and universities now offer virtual tours on their websites. Most will show you the outside campus and inside the library, theater, dining halls, dorms, classrooms and athletic field houses. You can also search sites like YouTube and Vimeo. Or, if you’re looking for a next-level experience, head to YouVisit.com. The site boasts 360-degree tours and virtual reality tours for more than 600 schools. Find a virtual reality headset and dive in!
2. Visit a local college
Even if you don’t plan to attend a nearby college or university, just visiting a local school may give you a taste of campus life. You may be able to sit in on a class, visit the library, eat in a dining hall and check out a dorm room. There’s always a chance you’ll find your dream school close to home when you least expect it!
3. Visit a friend or relative at college
If you’ve got a friend or relative at college, it might be time to invite yourself for a visit! Spending a couple days at a school with someone who can show you around is about as hands-on as you can get. If possible, try to schedule your visit to include at least one weekday so you can sit in on a class and see what campus is like during a typical day. Visiting on a weekend may only give you a taste of what the social life and “downtime” are like at the school.
4. Go to a college fair
Many colleges and universities send one or more admissions representatives to events at high schools, convention centers or other community-gathering facilities to talk about their institutions. They share information and answer questions from parents and prospective students. It’s a good way to start your research, and if you immediately feel drawn to the school, make an initial introduction.
5. Follow colleges and students on social media
There’s a lot to be learned by following a college or university on social media. You find out about events, school news and changes, student experiences and answers to prospective students’ questions, including your own! For slightly less “polished” perspectives on the school, follow a few current students on social media. You’ll likely get a real look into things like Greek life, athletics, events and the general climate of daily life at the school.