virtual college tours

25 Virtual College Tours Worth Taking

Virtual college tours are considered one of the easiest, most accessible ways to learn about a school. While a more typical college tour may still be conducted in-person, the reality of that is changing. With the technological advances of the last 10-15 years, virtual tours have become a new, affordable possibility. Indeed, a virtual college tour can be an excellent way to learn about a school’s campus, programs, student life, clubs and activities, and much more.

You might be curious, how exactly do virtual college tours work? The answer depends on the school. Some virtual tours are live streams or recordings of in-person campus tours. Others are interactive maps where you can click on buildings and see what happens inside. Some will even include Q&A sessions with students. These are just some of the many ways schools show prospective students what life is like on campus. However, not all virtual college tours are created equal.

In this article, we’ll explore the world of virtual college visits, including:

  • Benefits of engaging in college tours
  • Similarities and differences between in-person and virtual college tours
  • Different formats of virtual tours
  • Top 25 virtual tours worth taking
  • How to plan and make the most of your college visits
  • What comes next after a college tour 

Without a doubt, college visits will play an integral role in your college journey. So, let’s dive into why college visits are so important to the application process. 

Why College Visits?

virtual college tours

Before we explore virtual college tours in greater detail, let’s discuss why college visits are important to begin with. First and foremost, college tours are a way to learn about schools before you apply or even attend. Attending college is a big commitment. Therefore, taking the time to learn more about each school will allow you to feel more confident in deciding where to attend. 

Secondly, the college admissions process is a time of self-exploration. By engaging in college tours, you can learn more about yourself just as you do about colleges. Maybe you will notice you like smaller campuses that aren’t in bustling cities. Or perhaps you will realize that having a lot of cultural diversity on campus is important. By learning these facts about yourself, you will contribute to your overall personal development as well as create a holistic college list.

Lastly, college visits for juniors help to put together a strong application. Many colleges request that you write a supplemental essay about why you want to attend their school. Through a visit, you can gain knowledge about the school and be able to speak passionately and specifically about why you wish to attend in your essays. This is more critical than ever since the number of applications has skyrocketed at many schools. As such, you’ll need to make sure your application demonstrates why you are a clear fit.

College visits and the admissions process

As you may have already gathered, there are two times when you might find it most valuable to visit colleges:

Before applying

Virtual college tours and in-person campus tours can help you narrow down your college list. In doing so, you will only spend money and time applying to colleges that you would really love to attend. College visits for juniors can also help them write stronger essays.

After admission to make a final matriculation decision

If you are admitted to multiple schools, a campus visit can help you feel more confident in your final decision. As a senior, you also might have more specific questions about certain activities or campus life. Getting to know the campus more can also help ease the transition into your first year. Since you’ll already know where important buildings and resources are located, your first day may not be as overwhelming!

Now that you understand the importance of college visits, let’s explore what goes into planning a college visit.

Planning your college visit

As we shared, college visits are an important part of the admissions process. However, planning in-person campus tours can be time-consuming and expensive. To begin, you and your family will need to explore what times of year are best to travel. Some common times to visit schools are during school breaks or summer vacations. However, if you hope to see more activity on campus, then try to plan your visit when classes are in session. 

Next, we recommend setting up a visit with the admissions office. While you can, in most cases, visit a campus without an appointment, the appointment helps you gain access to a tour. It may even allow you to speak with an admissions officer. Ideally, you will book this appointment a few months before the visit. If you find yourself running short on time, you can also show up on campus and take a self-guided tour. Occidental College, Haverford College, and Claremont McKenna College all offer self-guided tours, whether using a printed map or a downloadable app. 

The cost of college visits

Regardless of whether you pre-schedule your visit, you will need to pay for your travel including transportation, hotels, and meals. Many students try to see multiple schools in one visit to save money and time.

For some students, setting up in-person visits is difficult. Beyond the expensive nature of travel, parents or guardians may not be able to take off work or find childcare. Some high schools organize college visits for juniors, or even sophomores, where adult chaperones take large groups of students to visit schools. However, this may not be an option at your school.

If the cost and logistics required to attend in-person college tours is prohibitive, don’t worry! In the next sections, we’ll discuss the many similarities, as well as the unique benefits, of virtual college tours.

COVID-19’s Impact on College Visits

virtual college tours

While virtual tours existed pre-pandemic, the COVID-19 pandemic made them a necessity as college campus tours were canceled. Since then, virtual tours have become more advanced and more widely available. In some cases, college virtual tours can offer as much, or more, than an in-person campus visit.

While many students still prefer in-person visits, virtual tours can be used as a tool to explore colleges earlier in the application journey. Virtual tours can also be useful to prepare for an in-person visit. If a student can spend 15 minutes taking a virtual tour and noting what buildings or parts of campus interest them most, then they can focus their in-person tour on those aspects. 

Overall, virtual tours are an excellent way to visit schools that are completely inaccessible, such as ones that are too far away. Many international students use virtual college tours to explore campuses they wish to attend. Indeed, the fact that virtual tours exploded during the pandemic has raised several questions about accessibility, including the need to make more tours available in multiple languages or geared towards low-income families.

Coming up, we will explore more about the similarities and differences between in-person and virtual college tours. 

In-person vs Virtual College Tours

virtual college tours

Luckily, visiting colleges today does not require you to go to a campus. Indeed, the number and quality of virtual campus tours for students have skyrocketed in recent years. Undoubtedly, there are similarities and differences between in-person college campus tours and virtual college tours.

Similarities between In-Person College Campus Tours and Virtual College Tours

  • They provide a layout of the campus.
  • They allow students to get a sense of the campus architecture, including the inside of academic buildings and dorms. For example, UT San Antonio offers special housing tours for students to see where they might be living.
  • Students can learn about specific academic programs. For instance, Harvard offers a specialized in-person tour for engineering and applied sciences students in addition to the Harvard virtual tour.
  • They offer insight into student life on campus. Emerson College, for example, offers videos of students talking about their transition to life in Boston and co-curricular activities.
  • Tours allow students to explore the available clubs and activities on campus.
  • They are opportunities to hear directly from actual students about their experiences. Colgate, Princeton, and Barnard all offer virtual conversations with students.
  • Students can get some of their doubts answered. Many tours offer a live Q&A with current students. Pomona’s live virtual sessions include this offering.

Differences between In-Person College Campus Tours and Virtual College Tours

In-person college campus toursVirtual college tours
• Can give a better sense of how large or easy to navigate the campus is
• Offer the chance to see and experience the area surrounding the campus
• Allow you to potentially speak to more students or even faculty members
• Give you a more realistic sense of campus life, such as where students congregate, what the food is like, or even what the weather is like
• Might include the option to sit in on a class
•Sometimes give access to parts of campus that aren’t open to in-person visits, such as research buildings or club meetings
• Require little planning and can be done at your schedule and speed
• More commonly offer curated information for specialized groups, such as international students
• Can be more easily offered in other languages, like Middlebury’s virtual tour in Spanish, to make them accessible to more families

Note that depending on the school, you may or may not receive information about that school’s admissions process during a tour, whether in-person or virtual. Several schools, like Spelman, encourage students to schedule separate webinars to learn more about the admissions process, as this is not a topic covered in their campus tours. 

Now that we have explored the similarities and differences between in-person college campus tours and virtual college visits, let’s look more deeply into when and how to use virtual college tours.

Understanding Virtual College Tours

When first hearing about virtual college visits, many students and families are skeptical about how useful they can be. However, college virtual tours have advanced so much in recent years that many offer a similar, if not enhanced, experience to an in-person visit. 

As we discussed, there are several obvious reasons why college virtual tours are easier than in-person, including the fact that they are free and require little to no planning. In the following sections, we will discover more of the benefits and uses of virtual college tours. We will also discuss how they work and explore some of the best virtual college tours that exist today.

Are Virtual College Tours Worth It?

virtual college tours

Yes—college virtual tours are absolutely worth your time! Indeed, virtual college tours can be a very good investment of time depending on where you are in your college admissions process. Let’s explore some ways that you can use virtual college visits to aid you in your college decision-making process:

Initial exploration of schools

As a freshman or sophomore in high school, you might not know how to prepare for the college process. Using virtual college tours, you can begin to explore schools and learn about what you like and don’t like in a college. This process can help you stay motivated to work hard as you will visualize your goals with greater clarity. You will also begin to learn what types of schools you are drawn to, which can help you build a college list faster in your junior year.

Exploring more and different schools

In the past, many students were limited to only visiting schools they could travel to. In some cases, leaving their state or country was impossible. Virtual college tours offer much more accessibility for students who cannot travel large distances. Also, since they can be completed in much less time than in-person college campus tours, virtual college visits may allow you to explore schools you had never considered. Perhaps you were only considering applying to big public schools. With virtual college visits, you can branch out and easily explore small, liberal arts colleges as well.

Narrowing down the list of schools you might want to visit in person

You might have a long college list. Ideally, you’ll want to cut it down when considering which schools to visit. This is where virtual college visits offer a unique opportunity to make the most of your time and resources. Before you get on the road, you can do a virtual tour to see if you like the campus enough to visit. Or perhaps the virtual tour helps you see which parts of campus you want to explore further, or which buildings you want to enter.

Alternatively, maybe your virtual college visits give you the confidence to know you like the school enough that you don’t need to spend lots of money on a flight in your junior year. Perhaps you will wait and see if you are admitted and visit the school afterward to decide if you want to attend.

Certainly, we can agree there are many benefits to virtual college visits. However, some virtual college tours are more interactive, engaging, and informative than others. Later, we will explore some of the virtual college tours that are worth taking.

While the quality of the tour may depend on the schools you’re interested in, how much you get out of them ultimately depends on you. We will explore how to make the most of your college virtual tours later. 

What Are Virtual College Tours Like?

virtual college tours

Now that we have convinced you that college virtual tours are beneficial, let’s look at what you can expect from them. Most virtual college tours for students have some combination of the following offerings:

Guided tour of campus

This can include a combination of interactive maps and pictures, embedded videos, informational text, and voiceovers describing what you are seeing. Some college virtual tours offer 360-degree views that allow you to click around and move through campus as if you were there, such as the University of Tampa’s tour. Even more advanced tours offer immersive virtual reality (VR) technology which allows you to put on a headset and bring the campus to life in front of your eyes. However, VR campus tours typically require you to have your own equipment at home.

Campus highlights

Most virtual college tours for students will highlight important buildings or landmarks. These can include academic buildings, monuments, libraries, dining halls, residence halls, and the student union. By showing you these buildings, schools hope to give you a sense of what your day-to-day life may look like as a student there.

Student testimonials

Another helpful part of college virtual tours is student testimonials. Sometimes, this looks like students leading a campus tour while sharing their own experiences. Other times, schools will offer webinars for prospective students to ask questions of others. More common these days is the use of social media to share student experiences. Some schools will allow students to “take over” their social media accounts and post about their day so that prospective students can see what a day on campus is like. Consider following schools of interest on social media so you can get an insider’s perspective.

Now that you know what you can generally expect from college virtual tours, let’s explore the differences between college campus tours across schools.

How Do Virtual College Tours Work?

virtual college tours

As the name suggests, virtual tours happen via a computer, phone, or other piece of technology. However, that can look very different depending on the school you are investigating. As we shared above, many virtual college tours for students include some kind of guided tour of campus, a list of highlights, and student testimonials. However, these items can come in very different formats.

Here are some of the formats you can expect:

Pre-recorded videos

These can look like videos of a student giving a tour or a video of activities happening around campus. Since these are the simplest version of virtual college tours for students, they are the most common. Schools like Dartmouth, CalPoly, and Vassar all offer pre-recorded tours. 

Interactive videos

Some videos let you click on buildings or landmarks as you watch to learn more. In some cases, you can even enter buildings. For example, the Harvard virtual tour lets you click through photos of the athletic center, dorms, libraries, labs, and quads. The Harvard virtual tour also includes a voiceover that provides additional information as you scroll through images. 

Interactive maps

Here you’ll have a map of campus, whether flat or 360 degrees, that lets you click on landmarks to gather more information. Cornell, Bucknell, Wesleyan, and Pace all have online maps you can explore.

Live streams

This is a video that is being filmed at the same time you are watching it. Live streams sometimes offer a chance for Q&A with the student hosting. To take advantage of this, you will need to be present at the exact time the live stream is being shared. In some cases, you may need to register ahead of time to receive the link. An example of a live tour is at the University of Pennsylvania, where students register ahead of time for a one-hour, live, student-led virtual campus tour.

Live Virtual Tour vs. Pre-Recorded Tour

Take special note of the distinction between live virtual tours and pre-recorded virtual tours. Live virtual tours are being streamed as you watch them, which means you will get a better sense of what is happening right then and there on campus. Sometimes, live virtual tours include a Q&A section where you can ask questions. Meanwhile, pre-recorded virtual tours are less interactive but offer the flexibility of watching them whenever you can.

A common platform for many of these virtual college tours is YouVisit. YouVisit specializes in making virtual experiences as interactive as possible. For that reason, you may notice that many of the online virtual college tours you discover are similar in format. YouVisit’s tours tend to include interactive 360-degree maps, voiceovers, videos, and photos.

As you can tell, there are many formats and options for virtual tours. Indeed, the menu of options has exploded in recent years, in part due to the necessity created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Next, we will look more closely at when to take a virtual tour and explore some of the most helpful virtual tours worth taking.

When is the right time to take a Virtual Tour?

virtual college tours

Virtual college tours can be useful at any stage, whether you’re already working on applications or just starting to build your college list.  No matter where you are in the college admissions process, remember: it’s never too early to take a virtual tour! However, before you start exploring virtually, it’s useful to know how virtual college tours can benefit you.

Tours for sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Virtual college tours will look different for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. As a sophomore, a virtual tour might be a way to dip your toes into the world of college admissions. Since you can take virtual college tours from the comfort of your own home, this is a low-stakes way to get a feel for which colleges you’re interested in applying to. 

College visits for juniors are a bit more meaningful. You may be starting to create a college list, so you’ll want to pay close attention to the different parts of the virtual tour. Consider taking notes as you go, so that when you start applying to schools you have observations from your virtual tour to look back on. 

If you’re a senior, there’s another important aspect of virtual college tours to keep in mind: demonstrated interest. When colleges read your application, they often look for “demonstrated interest,” which is a way that you demonstrate that you care about the school. Colleges want to admit students who will ultimately choose that college, and one way to show that you care about a school is to attend a tour. 

What Colleges Offer Virtual Tours?

In general, virtual college tours make tours accessible for people who can’t travel to the school for whatever reason. Most schools understand that not all students can visit in person and will offer some type of virtual tour—whether it’s a recorded tour, a video of the campus, or another interactive option. 

So, how do you decide which ones to take? Up next, you’ll find our list of the best virtual college tours that we think are worth your time.

25 Virtual College Tours Worth Taking!

As we’ve discussed, virtual tours are a great way to get a feel for a school’s campus without having to make the trip to visit. You can take a virtual tour at almost any time—you can even take one more than once!

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 25 great virtual college tours that you can embark on in lieu of a traditional college visit. 

Top 25 Virtual College Tours

1. Princeton University

virtual college tours

First on our list of virtual college tours worth taking is Princeton University. Located in Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton is ranked #1 in National Universities. Princeton’s virtual tour consists of a live-streamed Zoom webinar, where one of their tour guides will take you along with them on their campus tour. You can even ask your guide questions in the Zoom chat!

2. Harvard University

virtual college tours

Next on our list of best virtual college tours is Harvard University, located in Cambridge, MA. The Harvard virtual tour is self-guided, meaning that you can click around the Harvard virtual tour to see panoramic views of Harvard’s classic New England campus at your own pace. Plus, if you’re interested in Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, there’s a separate Harvard virtual tour that goes into even more detail on that school’s offerings.

3. University of Pennsylvania

virtual college tours

If you’re interested in UPenn but can’t make it out to Philadelphia, you can explore UPenn’s campus with virtual college visits. You have to sign up online to take one of Upenn’s virtual college tours since they’re led live by Penn’s student tour guides. With these live tours, every tour is different. Since different students give them each time, if you decide to take the tour more than once, you’ll likely learn something new! 

4. Cornell University

virtual college tours

The virtual college tours at Cornell are self-guided. This means that you can take yourself around Cornell’s beautiful campus in Ithaca, NY, at your own pace. At each location, Cornell supplies fun facts and details about the campus that can help you get to know the school better. 

5. Dartmouth College

virtual college tours

With Dartmouth’s virtual college tours, you can get the best of both worlds: a live-streamed campus tour and a self-guided tour. If you’re just beginning to think about Dartmouth as an option, watch their video of a pre-recorded tour to get a feel. If Dartmouth is your dream school, get to know their campus in bucolic Hanover, NH, by taking a live virtual tour led by a student—that way, you can ask all of your questions and feel more like you’re really there!

6. California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) – San Luis Obispo

virtual college tours

If you want to know more about Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, they provide a wealth of virtual college tours that you can take. Not only does Cal Poly offer the classic student-led virtual tours and prerecorded tours. They also have virtual tours of their housing and of each academic college. Even if you can’t make it out to this coastal California city, you’ll have a great feel for the Cal Poly campus. 

7. Barnard College

virtual college tours
BrillLyle | CC BY-SA 4.0

Curious about college in the Big Apple? Take one of Barnard’s virtual college tours. Once you register for Barnard’s virtual tour, you gain access to spaces in Barnard that aren’t even available on the in-person tour. Barnard also offers an audio tour, where you can listen along to a live tour guide.

8. Pomona College

virtual college tours
Pomona College Reunion” by The Consortium | CC BY-SA 2.0.

At Pomona, a college located in Pomona, California, you can explore in a multitude of ways. Pomona offers a pre-recorded virtual tour, as well as info sessions and webinars that you can attend from home. 

9. University of Texas – San Antonio

virtual college tours

Located in San Antonio, TX, the University of Texas campus at San Antonio offers a self-guided virtual tour. At each location on the virtual tour, UT offers a video accompanied by written information to help you get to know the campus better.

10. Wesleyan University

virtual college tours
Wesleyan University Middletown CT” | Steadyjohn | CC BY-SA 3.0.

If you’re looking for an idyllic New England campus, you’ll find one with Wesleyan’s virtual college tours. Wesleyan is a small liberal arts school located in Middletown, Connecticut, and you can follow along with a current student as they “walk” you through different locations on campus. 

11. Colgate University

virtual college tours
Colgate University | CC BY-SA 4.0.

Located in Hamilton, ME, Colgate’s beautiful campus is just a few clicks away. Colgate’s college virtual tours let students make their way through the campus on their own time, and you can supplement your virtual college visit with webinars and online info sessions. 

12. Washington State University

virtual college tours

Though Pullman, Washington would be beautiful to see in person, WSU’s college virtual tours will make you feel like you’re right there without ever leaving your house. WSU offers a personal tour, where you can direct yourself around the Washington State campus. 

13. Bucknell University

virtual college tours

At Bucknell University, you can take college virtual tours by navigating through their virtual campus map. Though you might not get a feel of Bucknell’s location in Lewisburg, PA, you’ll come away with a great understanding of their campus—they even have a specialized map for prospective engineering students. 

14. Vassar College

virtual college tours
Noteremote | CC BY-SA 3.0

Next on the list of college virtual tours worth doing is Vassar. Vassar is located in scenic upstate New York, but if you don’t want to make the trip, you can easily get a feeling for the campus with their many options for college virtual tours. Vassar offers an interactive campus tour, a 30-minute preview video of the campus, and even sample classes and recordings of past events. 

15. Claremont McKenna College

virtual college tours
Claremont McKenna College” by CampusGrotto | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The second of the Claremont Colleges after Pomona, Claremont McKenna offers recorded video tours and self-guided college virtual tours. Claremont McKenna is also located in Pomona, CA. So, if you’re virtually touring Pomona, you might as well give Claremont McKenna a look as well!

16. Haverford College

virtual college tours
Haverford College – Barclay Hall (1958)” by roger4336 | CC BY-SA 2.0.

If you’re interested in living in Pennsylvania, you can give this lovely campus located just outside of Philly a look. Haverford offers live virtual tours where two students will take you on a “stroll” across campus, giving you advice and answering questions along the way. 

17. Harvey Mudd College

virtual college tours
Harvey Mudd Campus Building” by CampusGrotto | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

If you love Pomona, CA, but Claremont McKenna and Pomona weren’t your vibe, give Harvey Mudd a try. Harvey Mudd’s college virtual tours consist of separate videos for each stop along the tour that take you through all of the most important buildings on Harvey Mudd’s campus. 

18. Middlebury College

virtual college tours
MIddlebury VT – College Library” by Alan Levine is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

For your Middlebury College virtual tours, you get all the benefits of variety. Middlebury College, located in Middlebury, VT, has a wealth of options for students who don’t choose to do college campus tours in person. This includes virtual tours in English and Spanish, self-guided interactive maps, recorded information sessions, and more. 

19. Pace University

virtual college tours

If you want to get to know Pace University, the college offers interactive maps for both of its campuses—one in NYC and one in Westchester, NY. Using Pace’s maps, you can make the most of New York City college campus tours without ever having to navigate the subway. 

20. Occidental College

virtual college tours
Occidental College” by Jeffrey Beall | CC BY-SA 2.0.

Next on our list of virtual college campus tours worth taking is Occidental College. Located in sunny Los Angeles, CA, Occidental offers a self-guided virtual tour, where you can click through 360 views of the campus and hear from Occidental’s student tour guides along the way. 

21. Furman University

virtual college tours

Located in Greenville, South Carolina, Furman University also offers stellar options for their virtual college campus tours. Furman gives you the option to explore individual campus buildings with interactive and immersive technology, which includes videos from their tour guides to give you insider knowledge about each location. 

22. Spelman College

virtual college tours

If you want to tour Spelman, you don’t have to go all the way to Atlanta, Georgia. You can take one of their virtual college campus tours, where you can take your time looking at each of their buildings. Spelman’s virtual map lets you see inside and outside of many different campus locations, and get a better feel for the vibe of the campus as a whole.

23. Emerson College

virtual college tours

Located in Boston, MA, Emerson offers lots of options for students who want to take college virtual tours. Using an interactive map, prospective students can make their way around Emerson’s campus to explore different buildings and facilities. The Emerson campus map also includes some city landmarks, like Boston Common, that are close to campus and part of the Emerson experience.

24. University of Tampa

virtual college tours

At the University of Tampa, students can take college virtual tours to get a feel for the beautiful Tampa, FL campus. The University of Tampa offers tour videos, 360 interactive campus tours, as well as virtual visits. If you register for a virtual visit, you’ll also be able to attend a 30-minute info session hosted by an admissions counselor. 

25. Texas State University

virtual college tours

For the last school on our list of college virtual tours worth taking, we visit (or more accurately, don’t visit) Texas State. Texas State offers a virtual interactive map, a video tour led by student tour guides, and also provides a presentation where you can learn more about the academics and admissions policies at the school. You can tour both of Texas State’s locations, one in San Marcos and one just north of Austin.

As you can see, not all virtual college visits follow the exact same format. However, there are certainly many opportunities to “visit” a school without ever stepping foot on campus. Next, let’s talk about scheduling and making the most of your college visits.

How To Schedule Virtual College Visits

Now that we’ve gone over some of the best virtual college tours that you can take, let’s talk about some logistics. 

For most virtual college tours, you can take them whenever you want—that’s part of why they’re so great! Whatever your schedule is, you can slide in a college visit on your own time. You could even do a bit of a virtual college visit, take a break, and come back and finish later. It’s totally up to you. 

Schools may ask you for your name and email when you click on their virtual college visits. This is totally fine, and also can work to your advantage. Remember demonstrated interest? You want the college to know that you’ve taken their college campus tours, whether it’s a virtual college visit or in-person. This is especially meaningful in college visits for juniors or seniors.

Even though many virtual college visits can be done on your own schedule, some schools offer live virtual tours. If you want to take one of these college campus tours, you’ll need to sign up in advance. Even though these virtual college tours for students require a little bit more planning, it can be helpful to be in a Zoom with other prospective students and tour guides so that you can ask questions in real time. 

Making the Most of a Virtual College Visit

virtual college tours

Even though you might be taking your virtual college tours from your bed, it’s important to still make the most of it. While a virtual tour might not feel the same as in-person college campus tours, there are some things you can do to make the most of the experience. 

Block out dedicated time

At first, virtual college tours for students might not seem very outwardly engaging. However, you should try and make the most of your experience. Don’t multitask, or do college campus tours while you’re watching TV. This is still a college visit, and you want to treat it as such. Immerse yourself in your virtual college visit—you want to get as close as you can to experiencing it in person! 

Consider your priorities

Virtual college visits can serve different purposes for different students. Some students have no idea what they’re looking for from their college campus, and others are already set on what they want their college experience to look like. On the virtual tour, make sure to look at the school’s housing, academic facilities, recreational facilities, and transportation. If there’s a must on your list—for example, if you want a school with a main quad, or a school that’s integrated into a city—see if the school has it! 

Ask questions

If you’re taking a tour on your own, think about the questions you’d have for a tour guide if there was one present. What can you learn from virtual college tours for students, and what do you still have questions about? These are the kinds of things you could ask in an information session or research after your tour.

Next Steps after your Virtual Tour

Once you’ve finished your virtual tour, there are some next steps you can take to make the most of it. 

If you’re just starting to build out your college list, think about what stood out most from your campus tours. Write down some big takeaways from the school, or a list of pros and cons, so you can start comparing schools that you want to put on your college list. These can be informal—something like “huge library,” or “weird vibe” is totally fine—just make sure you write down enough to remember how you felt about the school so you don’t have to take the virtual tour a second time.

If you’re ready to apply, reach out to admissions with any questions you have after the virtual college tours. Explore the application requirements at the schools you’re most excited about. See if the school has any supplemental essays that ask you why you’re interested in the school—these virtual tours can give you great talking points about the school that you might want to include in an essay.

Sometimes after a virtual tour, you might still not know how you feel about a school—that’s okay! Virtual tours are just one way to get to know a college. You can keep doing research, and take advantage of other virtual resources offered by the school. 

Even More Virtual Opportunities

virtual college tours

So what are the other ways to learn more about a school from the comfort of your own home?

Along with the virtual campus tour, many schools also offer virtual information sessions. These are Zoom calls with admissions officers who are there to provide information on the school and answer applicants’ questions. Attending information sessions can also be a way to show demonstrated interest to a school that you want to attend. 

Some schools also have student testimonials, or other videos with students who can answer questions about the school. These are a great way to see what actual students think about attending the school. Many colleges also provide a way to reach students at the school with questions—email the admissions office and ask if there are students you can talk to about their experience. 

Virtual College Tours – Final Takeaway

College visits for juniors, seniors, and sophomores are an important part of the college admissions process. Since the pandemic, you can go on amazing virtual college visits from the comfort of your own home. On a virtual college tour, you can get to know the campus, and see what kinds of resources the school has to offer.

There are a few different types of virtual college tours for students. Some are interactive maps, where you can click on different buildings and explore. Others provide a 360 view of various parts of campus. Some are live Zoom meetings led by student tour guides, and some schools provide pre-recorded videos that you can watch. All of these virtual tours are great options to learn more about the school, and if a school provides more than one, they’re all worth doing!

When you’re taking a virtual college tour, make sure to make the most of it. Set aside some time to really focus on the tour, keep your priorities in mind, and take notes on things that stick out to you and questions you have during the tour. 

If at the end of your virtual tour, you’re sure that you’ve found your dream school, don’t hesitate to reach out to CollegeAdvisor for application guidance. Our team of experts is always here to support students in navigating the admissions process. Happy (virtual) exploring!

virtual college tours

This article was written by senior advisor Courtney Ng and advisor Rachel Kahn. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how can support you in the college application process.