Updated June, 2022: In 2020, I wrote about the great value in using virtual activities to kick start your college search. Today, there’s even more value in that strategy, because colleges have ramped up what’s available online. Not only do they offer more content now, but they also provide better content.
Almost all colleges offer virtual information sessions. And joining these sessions is a great way to get introduced to a college. I now recommend that families use these events as a way to 1- consider a broad set of colleges without incurring any costs and 2- filter down to a list of colleges they want to visit in person.
If so, you’re not alone. Coronavirus stopped so many Spring Break plans. That week is – or at least has been – the perfect time for sophomores and juniors to make college campuses.
So, what can you do to personally connect with college admissions offices and advance your search for the right college? I’d recommend focusing on connecting with admissions representatives through one or more of the following three options.
1 – Information Sessions
Many colleges are now offering virtual information sessions. These sessions will resemble what you’d experience if you scheduled a campus visit through the admissions office. During these sessions, you should expect to hear an admissions team member share details, general information and stories about their college. While not guaranteed, you’ll likely have the chance to ask personal questions.
2- Interviews & Virtual Meetings
Some colleges, especially smaller selective colleges, offer interviews. And even prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, many of these colleges offered virtual interviews. If one of your target colleges offers virtual interviews, now is a great time to contact that college and schedule an interview.
3- Develop a Connection
Your Information Session leader or Interviewer is a great, personal resource for you. If your target college doesn’t offer Option 1 or 2, find the appropriate representative at your target college. Then, contact that person to ask for advice about navigating their admissions process during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Taking these steps is a great way to ramp up your college search whether you’re just starting or far into the process. In connecting with the colleges, make sure you 1- test the virtual technology you’ll use in advance of your scheduled activity, 2- interact with the admissions team in a way that resembles how you’d speak with your Principal or grandparent, and 3- get contact information from the admissions representative you meet virtually. These individuals care about your interest in their college and will be crucial as you navigate the upcoming admissions process that’s likely changing due to the Coronavirus.
After you pursue these 3 options, virtual tours (example: University of Arizona & Dartmouth) may be helpful. Along with these tours, review these 9 steps to move your college search forward when you’re stuck at home. Many of these steps will help you make the most of your virtual information sessions, interviews and exchanges with your admissions representative.
What other steps are you taking to make the most of this time?
Email me your ideas and/or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fitz has dedicated the entirety of his 25 year career to encouraging higher education opportunities. He worked in the Vanderbilt, Duke Law and St. Lawrence admissions offices prior to serving as an enrollment management consultant for dozens of colleges around the country. He partnered with his former Vanderbilt colleague, Nicole Cook, to form Find The Right College and support their mission to make trustworthy college counseling more accessible.