Are you the parent of a high school student who missed visiting college campuses this spring because of Covid-19 closures? Were you planning to visit this fall, but you’ve learned that some colleges have announced they will remain closed?
Students and families are visiting campuses virtually. While this type of visit doesn’t provide the vibe you experience in-person, with the right research it can still help you learn which college might be the right fit.
Seven tips when researching prospective colleges online:
1. Visit the college’s website. Most are highlighting steps they are taking during Covid-19 and how they are communicating with prospective students. Look specifically at the Office of Admissions page.
2. Take a virtual tour. Some colleges are offering live-hosted tours and/or virtual information sessions.
3. Reach out to an admissions counselor and schedule a phone call so you get answers to specific questions. Building rapport with an admissions counselor can be beneficial so they learn more about you.
4. Research the academic degree program you are interested in. Learn about the credentials of the faculty teaching in the program. Seek available data regarding graduation rates and graduate employment.
5. In addition to the Office of Admissions, check out pages for other services and resources available to students:
• Academic Support / Tutoring
• Career Services
• Jobs for students
• Residence Life / Housing
• Accessibility Services
• Dining Services
• Counseling Services
• Wellness Center
• Campus Safety
• Diversity & Multicultural Office
• Financial Aid Office
6. Follow the college on social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. They typically keep these channels updated with what is happening. If they have a Facebook group ask questions to current students who are interactive in that group.
7. Research the local community – entertainment, shopping, outdoor activities, cultural experiences, etc. Can you see yourself living there?
By taking time to do necessary research you’ll be better prepared in making an informed decision.
Betsy Sheets is a Career Coach in Southern California where she has a private practice. She helps people gain clarity with what career they want to pursue and gain confidence in their job search. Betsy has advised hundreds of students with academic planning. She is also a co-founder of a non-profit veteran service organization where she and other career coaches and human resources professionals volunteer helping senior level service members and spouses transitioning from the military into the civilian workforce.