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How to Research Colleges When You Can't Visit

As many students start to work on their college applications, one big question remains: how are you supposed to narrow down this big list of schools to apply to when you can’t set foot on the campus? Well, the good news is that while your college research may be a bit different than you imagined, colleges and staff are working hard to be as virtually accessible as possible. Professors who may have once deleted an email from an inquiring high school student are now much more likely to respond, and admissions offices that led daily campus tours are now pouring all their energy into producing awesome, interactive virtual tours. Hope is not lost! Read on for great ideas on how to really experience and learn about what a college can offer you from the comfort of your own home.



1. Sign up for any and all information sessions, webinars, virtual tours, etc. offered by admission offices Not only will you learn a lot about a school through these avenues, but your name and email address will now be recorded by the school. Many colleges track students’ “contact” with their school. When it comes time for your application to be reviewed, your past contact will demonstrate your genuine interest in the school and possibly give you a leg up.

2. Follow colleges’ admission blogs All admission blogs are written by current students or admission officers. These blogs will not only give you insight into each school’s admission process, but also student life. 3. Contact professors! This could be one of the most useful and rewarding ways to learn if a school is a good fit for you. If you have an idea of what department or major you may be interested in, you should research professors to contact. Perhaps a professor is doing research in a field that piques your interest. Reach out to him or her and ask if they allow undergraduates to assist and/or collaborate. You can learn a lot about school culture and accessibility by the response of the professors. Best case scenario: you develop a relationship with a professor who may offer you valuable advice and guidance! 4. See if you can attend a virtual class When contacting professors, you may ask them if they would allow you to sit in on a virtual class or lecture. By doing this you may get a better sense of how classes are structured and learn more about a subject you are interested in. 5. Reach out to clubs and student organizations You don’t just choose a college for its academics; you also want to make sure their extracurricular opportunities are exciting to you. Check out the student organization directories at each school; when you find organizations you may be interested in, browse their websites and try to connect with members. Ask members what they enjoy most about the club, what opportunities the club has provided them with -- the list goes on and on! 6. Become a social media sleuth While official websites and social media accounts are gold mines for information, you want to get a real, unfiltered sense of what day to day life is like at your colleges of interest. The best way to do this is by becoming a social media sleuth. You can search hashtags, browse pictures using locations (think the student center, rec center, campus library, ect), find dorm room tours on YouTube, or even look at the tagged pictures for a college’s largest social media account. 7. Use your network Looking for a direct school contact? Network by posting on Facebook asking if anyone knows students at your list of interested schools -- utilize the power of social media to help connect you with college students! Don’t feel awkward reaching out to current students at a desired college. They understand the predicament you are in!

Researching colleges and filling out application can be daunting but our experience counselors at Eureka College Admissions Counseling can make the entire college admissions process manageable and fun! Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about the college admissions packages we offer!


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