The COVID College Search


Evelyn May

In a normal year, spring break is a common time for juniors to get a jumpstart on college visits. However, like many things this year, campus visits and tours don’t look like they usually do. 

Colleges across the country are offering virtual tours on their websites for those who wish to tour from the comfort of their own homes. (The Princeton Review has compiled a list of links to these virtual tours here). However, virtual visits may not provide students with everything they’d be getting from an in-person visit. 

“Some things that virtual visits just can’t quite give you are the actual feel of a campus,” junior Spenser Eisele said. “There just isn’t a good way to get everything on a video or picture to communicate what your program really looks like.”

The culture of a campus can certainly be an important factor in some students’ college decisions. For those students, while the colleges they’re interested in may not be offering official tours, they can still walk the campus on their own. 

I have visited Grinnell [College] to walk around the campus and see what it looks like, but they are not doing tours,” junior Avery Rahe said. “We walked around outside only and wore masks.”

Precautions such as those Rahe took are common across most, if not all, colleges and universities, whether they’re providing in-person tours or not. 

Eisele also went on an in-person tour to Kansas State University.

 “Some precautions that were taken during my in-person visit at K-State included masking, social distancing, and small tour groups of about three people that went about the visit on their own,” he said.

In the end, like many things, the college search process has been affected by the pandemic. However, many options are still available to students wanting to get a headstart. 

“The college-search process is definitely harder this year compared to the average year,” Eisele said. “But overall, I feel pretty positive about it.”