Colleges are cancelling campus tours and accepted students days.

Your high school senior can’t decide among their college acceptances and you had planned to make some final visits to their top choice colleges to help them find which campus felt most like home. Or maybe you’re the parent of a high school junior and booked a couple of college tours during your teen’s Spring Break. What do you do if the college has cancelled upcoming campus tours or your family isn’t comfortable visiting colleges right now in light of the coronavirus epidemic?

There are ways to learn more about a college without stepping foot on campus.


The virtual tour Almost every college offers this close-up view of their campus where, with a click of a button, you can take a guided “walk” around via smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop.  The tour can be accessed anytime from the college’s website.

If your teen has never visited the college, this is a way to check out the various buildings, get a feel for the size of the campus and discover more information about the school. For students who’ve visited once already, then this is a refresher, and the chance to look more closely now that they’re trying to imagine living there for the next four years. Search the college’s website for “virtual tour” to learn more.

Live virtual sessions This is an opportunity to interact with the admissions office as they share info about the college and try to address questions from accepted students and their parents. These are offered on specific dates but may be recorded so you can watch the session later if you couldn’t attend live or want to view it again. Check the Admissions website to see if and when a session is offered.

Online college newspaper To find out what’s happening on campus, good and bad, check out the digital version of the college’s student newspaper. It will cover the latest on everything from campus issues to student government, upcoming performances to sports.

“Talk” with current students The Admissions office can put your teen in touch with a current student, possibly even one in their prospective major, to learn more about campus life and their program of study.

Find students you know Whether it’s a recent grad, friend’s sister, cousin, etc. who attended or attends a college on your teen’s list, encourage your student to get in touch to find out more about the school than what they’ve heard from Admissions, gain firsthand insight into life on campus and have their questions answered.

Their class’s social media page Many colleges set up an official Facebook or other social media group for incoming freshmen that’s open to accepted/admitted students. Sometimes incoming freshmen set up informal pages or groups themselves. Your student can join to get a feel for who their fellow students might be and learn more about college life.

Pictures and notes If you or your student took pictures when you toured campuses and made some notes after each visit, pull them out now to refresh your memory about what you and your teen did and didn’t like about each college.

The campus catalog Review the course catalog for each of the final choice colleges and compare what’s offered for your teen’s intended major. See the direction of the program  and the specific required and elective courses to determine which coincides most with your student’s interests and career goals. Check out the department’s webpage, too to learn more about the programs, professors, and opportunities for study abroad, internships, co-ops and more.

There are ways to learn the important details about a college even if your teen can’t visit before making their final decision or, for underclassmen, creating their list of colleges. Make the time to help your student do the research and find the answers they’re looking for using some of the above suggestions.