Before the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown, in person
–college visits were essential to prepare a future college student for life away from home in a most likely unfamiliar environment. A common time for these visits is around spring break, and like other juniors, I had a big trip planned to several colleges in the East Coast.
However, the coronavirus disrupted those plans by causing school closures and limited travel, including college visits. At first this seemed terrible, as visiting the college in
–person is an essential part of the college application process. However, as the situation progressed, colleges began to offer virtual options for visiting campuses.
At first I was skeptical: I was unsure if this was a sufficient replacement for a physical tour of a college, as college tours showcase every facet of one’s respective college choices. I decided to try out the new virtual tours and information sessions, expecting them to be sufficient, but not special.
The first one I experienced was an information session about the Claremont Colleges. I was taken aback by the amount of information the presenters covered and the amount of visuals and pictures in each section of the lecture. I was able to ask questions at any time in a chat box and I ended up learning far more than I thought I would through an online platform.
This experience convinced me to sign up for information sessions in colleges across the country. It was almost as if I was traveling all over the place but never leaving the comfort of my chair. The virtual journey came with the added chat box feature that made it easier to ask questions even when the lecture was going. These questions were answered by an assistant in the chat box.
Sure, I wish I could physically journey from place to place and experience the college atmosphere by actually being there. However, in the extraordinary circumstances of COVID-19, virtual college tours have effectively captured the college experience and transported it home.