Due to the coronavirus, many high schoolers are left navigating the college search and application process alone. Virtual tours allow students all around the world to view colleges, which could help them determine which school they would like to attend.
During a virtual college tour, future students get to see the dorms that the school has to offer, student areas such as recreational areas, the cafeterias, library, study areas and college stores.
Virtual tours are often directed by a guide who will walk around the school and show the facilities to the future students, which usually requires a meeting time to be scheduled. Many schools also offer a generic tour guide that is more like a simulation.
Zach Schemel has been accepted to the University of South Florida and will be attending in the fall. Due to COVID-19, Schemel was unable to attend in-person tours and was left with the choice of applying without viewing the school or attending a virtual tour.
“I think that by giving students the opportunity to participate in online tours, students will feel more prepared for attending the college of their choice,” Schemel said.
Virtual tours allow families of students to spend less money due to not having to travel to multiple schools. They also allow anyone with Internet access to attend the tour. Online tours have the potential to involve everyone in the family, rather than just the student and their closest guardian.
However, many students feel that college tours online will not cover the same material that is covered during the in-person tours.
“I am hesitant to even participate in virtual tours because I feel like they won’t offer an actual experience to represent the college,” junior Victoria Lee said. “I just feel like we don’t get the whole college search experience.”
Many things are changing with the time, and because of Covid, much more quickly than expected. Although many may not enjoy virtual tours, they still offer knowledge and visuals for incoming students.
“Anything virtual is definitely not the same as being in person,” Law Studies teacher Deborah Cantor said. “Before I committed to a school for four years and my parents invested tens of thousands of dollars into my education, I would only make that decision if I could be present and walk the campus.”
Many students are hopeful that they will be able to attend some in-person college tours, but many schools have not made any promises.
“I just hope that everything gets back to normal and that some of the schools this summer offer virtual and in-person tours,” sophomore Susana Dezcj said.