College tour just got cancelled? Not wanting to step foot in an airport? Quarantined? I give you online tools to get to know a college, on the outside and the inside so you can still use your time towards college prep and planning…all from your couch…maybe even in your pj’s.
The Bigger Picture
Use these tools for a broader look at a college and begin a list of schools that catch your eye. Think about things like location, campus size, student body, etc. Don’t worry, we’ll dive in and fine tune later.
Youvisit: Go to this site to virtually tour hundreds of colleges. Not just an overview, but a virtual tour guide will talk and walk you through every aspect of campus. You can even jump to the departments/buildings that matter to you most! We won’t judge if you head straight to the dining hall. Create a free account or browse as a guest. If they don’t have the college you want…head over to YouTube.
Google maps: Google maps, satellite and street view will give you an in-depth look at a campus. Check out the buildings, zoom into street view and take your own tour. Zoom way out and get a sense of the surrounding community, the closest airport/metro and what other activities you can get into. Google University Colorado, Boulder and zoom out to see a Saturday hike at Flat Iron, or head to University of Chicago and see the architecture and museums you could check out.
Unigo: Think about this site as a Yelp for colleges. Current students rate and review everything from food to access to professors to difficulty of classes and life outside the classroom. Read multiple reviews and gain a perspective from students actually there.
The Deep Dive
Got a handful of colleges you know you’re interested in? Here’s how you can really get to know a school, the types of classes you’ll take to help you get picky.
Majors/Courses pages: If you have an idea of what you want to major in or are even slightly interested in studying, go directly to a college’s website and find the department and major. You’ll easily find course lists, descriptions about the major and the research/things happening in the department. Bonus, it’ll actually give you an idea of just what majoring in engineering means.
If you don’t know what to major in, that’s fine too, just think about a larger department that peaks your interest, like arts & sciences or humanities.
Social Media for Campus Life: Check out Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter to get a sense of social life.
Alumni Networks: Keep in mind when you’re looking at a college you’re looking at return on investment. That means when you graduate most likely you’re interested in being successful. Alumni are key to getting a sense of what former students are doing now, how large the networks are across the globe. LinkedIn is great for this. Create an account (you can keep it private, or go public and create a professional online resume profile), search a college and click on the alumni tab.
Support: Wellness support, academic advising, tutoring services, services for students with learning disabilities. At the end of the day you’ll be spending four years in a community, you want to ensure your needs are being met, so check them out on the college’s website.
Bonus: Check out the college newspaper online, search YouTube, find clubs and organizations online and look at religious organizations or anything else that’s important to you. For example, Hillel.org reviews Jewish life on college campuses and services offered to students.