25Oct

If you can’t actually visit the college you want to go to, try an online campus tour instead. This is a fast, inexpensive way to get to know the school without flying anywhere.

Of course, there are additional ways to find out more about the college you are interested in. If you are short on cash, or are simply considering too many colleges to make a trip to each one, you should learn how you can find out the facts without leaving your desk.

Use the School’s Website to Get a Virtual Campus Tour

Many colleges want to give prospective students a glimpse of student life on-campus, since this can get them excited to apply. Therefore, the college you are interested in may feature an online campus tour on its site. There are entire websites devoted to showing campus tours for thousands of schools.

Each school’s virtual campus tour may differ. Some offer full videos led by tour guides who will tell you about the campus, making you feel like you are there. Others stick to photographs, offering panoramic views of the campus. This can allow you to get an overview of the layout, architecture and even the plant life at the school.

Either way, you can learn whether you like the atmosphere of a college when you take a free virtual campus tour. If you dislike it, you can easily check out another school without having to make hotel reservations and take a flight.

Call the School for Information

Many college staff members are sympathetic to the plight of students on a tight budget, so they may be willing to send you promotional materials for free when you call. These should include glossy brochures with high-quality photos, campus maps and catalogs of the available courses and extracurricular activities.

You may also be directed to promotional videos about the school, which can allow you to see parts of the campus without visiting or seeing a virtual tour. Even a copy of the college newspaper can help you get an idea of what’s important to students, and what activities are coming up.

Read What Students Say Online

The best part of a real or virtual campus tour is that you can get a feel for campus life. But you can do this by simply reading student blogs, too. You can likely find several blogs written by students, and they should mention some details about their classes, dorm room or other important aspects of college.

You can also check forums frequented by students of the college you like. Many people will spend hours discussing subjects that matter to them, including college sports, social life and which professors are the best at the school.  In fact, this allows you to gather inside information you wouldn’t learn during most college campus visits.

Contact People Associated with the School

No matter how far away you live from the college you are looking at, there are likely some alumni or representatives of the school near you. You can call and ask the college for this information, or you can simply attend college fairs in your area to possibly meet with reps. You might even be able to complete an admission interview, when required, without leaving your state.

If you cannot afford to visit one or more colleges in other states, you are not alone. That’s why there are virtual campus tours available. But you can do much more than just watch an online campus tour if you want to learn about your dream school.

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