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Virtual experiences fail to expose students to colleges Aidan Rogers

A view of the unique architecture, a feel for the warm weather, meeting the passionate students and teachers and exposure to schoolwide pride. This year’s senior class is missing the experiences that allow them to fall in love with a college due to COVID-19 related precautions.

Most colleges have closed their campuses to visitors due to the coronavirus outbreak.

According to The National Public Radio, “[universities] have canceled campus events, tours, info sessions, orientation events, student days, and they've shifted all of this online.”

Sophie Lynch ’21 hadn’t visited any colleges before the COVID-19 outbreak and has only done online tours.

“It’s really hard to get a good look at the school because on the [virtual] tours and sessions,” Lynch said. “They give good information about academic life, which is all-important, but it doesn’t really show you the character of the school, to see if you like it.”

Virtual tours, like Yale’s (picture left) and Davidson’s, allow viewers to explore different buildings and also get additional information about education from linked readings or virtual speakers.

According to Lynch, these tours aren’t giving an “authentic” image of the school.

Some students were fortunate enough to visit schools before COVID closed campuses.

“I did three [college visits] before quarantine, and got to really explore some schools, but the quarantine ones don’t [offer] anything at all,” Justin Franklin ’21 said.

Having a unique experience of already going to tour schools, Franklin is faced with different problems.

“The info sessions are much better than tours online, but it's been hard to follow up on schools I liked,” Franklin said.

Live info sessions have been held by colleges (Barnard University recorded info session above) to explain admissions and answer questions as they would have done on college visits.

According to The New York Times, “Vanderbilt University in Nashville is matching high school juniors with current students for virtual coffee meetings.”

Processes such as this are being implemented to have more personal connections to a college.

Universities have continued to adapt to an online admissions process but might not be able to spark the same interest that in-person experiences did.

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Aidan Rogers