Virtual college tours, popularized during the Covid 19 pandemic, have become a common feature to aid students in their college research process.
Without the luxury of being able to visit the college in-person, virtual tours give prospective students a feel of the campus. These tours make use of 360-degree video and virtual reality to showcase university campuses to students who are hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
Made with interactive photos and videos and designed to be compatible with a wide range of devices, these tours give you a sense of what life at the school looks like. You get to explore the architecture, view the residence halls, and browse the range of extracurricular activities provided.
However, having the ability to hop from one campus to another in seconds can add complexity to the college selection process. You might end up overwhelmed with the amount of information you’re bombarded with.
Here are four tips to help you make the most of virtual college tours as an international student:
#1- Start with Some Research
To make the most of virtual college tours, you need to plan ahead. Start by researching the colleges you’re interested in attending. Look into their:
- Academic programs
- Extracurricular activities
- Campus environment
- Overall culture
Make a shortlist of the colleges you’d like to visit virtually. Check on their website whether they have virtual tours and their schedules.
#2- Schedule Your Virtual Tours
Most colleges have their virtual tour schedules available on their websites. Check these schedules in advance and plan accordingly.
Keep in mind the time zone differences between your location and the college’s location. Make sure to adjust your schedule accordingly to avoid missing the tours you’ve booked.
Note the duration of the virtual tours when scheduling. Some tours may be shorter, while others may take an hour or more. Be sure to allocate enough time for each virtual tour so that you can fully explore the campus and ask any questions you may have.
In addition to virtual tours, some colleges also offer virtual information sessions, where you can learn more about the college’s academic programs, admissions requirements, and financial aid options. Check for these sessions as well and schedule them if they fit into your plans.
Expert tip: If you’re scheduling multiple tours, give yourself enough time between each tour to rest and reflect on what you’ve seen and heard. Doing so will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and allow you to better compare the colleges you’ve visited.
#3- Make Sure that Your Technology Is Compatible
In today’s world, technology is an essential tool that can help make virtual college tours more accessible and convenient. However, it’s important to ensure that your technology is up to task to avoid any frustrations and distractions during the tour.
Before joining a virtual tour, check that your device meets the minimum system requirements for the platform. In addition, ensure that you have a stable internet connection to avoid buffering or freezing during the tour.
Test your audio and video settings to make sure that you can hear and see the tour guide and the visuals correctly. Consider using headphones to reduce background noise and improve the audio quality.
Expert tip: Turn off notifications from other apps or programs on your device to avoid distractions during the virtual tour.
#4- Create a Priority List
When planning virtual college tours, prioritize which colleges you want to visit first. Having a priority list will help you make the most of your time and energy.
Prioritize colleges based on factors such as:
- Application deadlines
- Level of interest
Consider your energy levels and availability when prioritizing your virtual college tours. You don’t want to cram too many virtual tours into a single day or week – that can be overwhelming and exhausting.
Instead, try to space out your virtual tours over several days or weeks and leave enough time in between tours to reflect and compare the colleges you’ve visited.
Virtual college tours are a valuable resource for students who are unable to visit campuses in person. With the tips we’ve provided above, you can make the most of virtual college tours.
You’ll be able to get a better understanding of what each college has to offer and make an informed decision for your academic future.
While virtual tours cannot fully replicate the experience of visiting a college in person, they provide an excellent starting point for your college research.
If you’re an African student aspiring to study in the U.S or currently enrolled in a U.S university, join the 8B Community to network with peers, university advisors, and mentors.