September 27th, 2019
Virtual tours dominate college process
MON. | 03-01-21 | NEWS
Since the start of the pandemic, colleges have begun transitioning to offer completely virtual tours rather than in-person tours, creating a safer environment for potential students. Virtual tours have become more popular because it provides a safer way for students to observe the college.
School counselor Alayna Maness feels that the virtual tours can be a safer and more efficient way for rising freshmen to get a feel for college life.
“Going into this application year, a lot of our seniors last year were able to apply and tour prior to college tours shutting down, due to COVID-19,” Maness said. “Whereas this year, our seniors have been in COVID-19 since second semester junior year, so a lot of them have missed out on opportunities and have had to utilize the virtual tours,”
With the outbreak of COVID-19, colleges and universities began shutting down most face-to-face college tours and virtual tours were then recommended.
“It was definitely different than prior college tours; I went on an in-person tour at the University of Tennessee.” Carlson said.”In-person, I was able to see the town the colleges were in and I could see students on campus to get a feel for what it is like.”
Similarly, many feel that touring colleges virtually is safer than going to the college in person even though it can be a different experience. Colleges can use live Zoom calls to show the campus off or they can use a pre-recording.
“I did a self-guided tour for the University of Virginia, but the tour would have been better because not being able to step on the campus has made me consider those schools less since I could have a different image of them in my head,” Carlson said.
Since COVID-19 hit the college touring industry, students have found it harder to find a college that appeals to them. Touring virtually can give you everything a student needs to know about the college but it might not feel like home.
“I think that a virtual tour can definitely give a student the feel for a school if it looks like an environment that they would like to be a part of,” Maness said.
East Carolina University is offering in-person tours and virtual tours. Their virtual tours are a pre-recorded video that you can watch to learn more about the school. Their in-person tours are a walk around the campus and dining halls but masks must be worn. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is only offering virtual tours of the campus. They have self-guided tours and a Zoom call available to tour.
Graphic by Emily Mitchum
Touring virtual colleges have affected rising freshmen all over the world. Many are hoping that face-to-face tours will go back to normal as COVID-19 allows.