Taking a campus tour or scheduling an overnight visit are great ways to learn more about a college or university that you are thinking of attending. After all, there is no better way to get the first-hand student experience than by sitting in on classes, walking around the quad, sleeping in the dorms, and eating in the dining halls. But what should you do if you can’t visit a school in person? International students face this problem quite frequently. Scheduling campus visits can be very expensive and time consuming. Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to learn more. Here is how you can get more information if you can’t visit a school in person.
Take a virtual tour
Colleges know that not everybody has the opportunity to visit the school in person. This is why many of them offer virtual tours online! These generally allow users to click through a self-guided tour with pictures and videos of the campus. Some schools feature virtual tours on their websites, and there are also third-party websites such as YouVisit that offer their own virtual college tours. Be sure to check them out if you can’t visit in person!
Email students and professors
One of the benefits of visiting a campus is that it allows you to speak face-to-face with current students and professors at the school. However, just because you cannot visit a school doesn’t mean you cannot talk with students and faculty!
Just about every university includes a staff directory on its website. You can also look up specific departmental websites if you already have an idea what you want to study. This is a great way to find professors and faculty in the fields you are interested in. Most college professors would be happy to talk to you if you send them an email.
Additionally, you can contact the admissions office and ask them to put you into contact with students who are involved with the activities and classwork that you want to learn more about. Many schools have student ambassadors who love talking to prospective students!
Research the course offerings
Another great way to learn more about a school if you can’t visit in person is to research the classes that are offered. Most schools include guidelines and requirements for students to follow within specific majors. This will give you a good idea of what classes you might be taking if you enroll. Some schools even have pages that allow you to view all the course offered at the entire university. For example, Transylvania University’s Courses page lets you sort all classes by major and view which academic programs are offered. Think about whether these courses sound interesting to you! Can see yourself taking them?
Look up the clubs and student organizations
Going to college isn’t just all about attending class. Part of your college experience will be joining clubs and meeting other students. Clubs offer the opportunity to make friends and have some fun when you aren’t studying. Most schools’ websites include a page dedicated to listing all the student organizations that are recognized by the university. University of Dayton’s club directory includes over 250 officially recognized student organizations. Viewing club directories is a great way to learn more about what students tend to do when they aren’t in class.
Watch YouTube videos
If you can’t visit a school in person, watching a video is another great way to see it! YouTube is a great place to find videos about college campuses, student interviews, and ongoing events. Many schools even have their own YouTube channel. For instance, Marist College is very active on YouTube and has posted several hundred videos to-date. Viewing YouTube videos and related content is a great way to get more information about a school.
Join Facebook groups
Many schools have Facebook groups for admitted students. These allow students to connect with each other and learn more about the school. For example, Auburn University’s Facebook community has over 21,000 members. If you get accepted into a school, but you can’t visit in person, the Facebook group will be one of your best resources. Here, you can ask current students questions, see what is going on around campus, and get a feel for the general attitude and culture of the student body.
Talk to alumnae
If you live too far away from a college to visit, consider connecting with alumni in your area. Many alumni love to talk about their college experiences and would be happy to speak with prospective students. If you don’t know any alumni, you can contact a school’s office of alumni relations and they can connect you with someone who lives in your area. Another way to connect with alumni is through LinkedIn.
The Internet has endless information for you to learn more even if you can’t visit a school in person. There are many websites with online profiles for every college and university. If you are looking for a good place to start, we recommend checking out our list of International-Friendly Universities and clicking on the profiles for any of the schools.