When a high school senior is debating which college is the best for him or her, it’s highly important that he or she physically goes to visit his or her college-of-choice before making any commitments. After all, students need to feel comfortable knowing that the school is a “right fit” for them and that the establishment will actually be able to help them accomplish all their goals, including career and social. But visiting several different colleges can get expensive, especially after considering traveling costs, hotel accommodations and food. If your family can’t afford to travel to several different campuses right now, there are still a few (free) ways you can get a feel for what a school is like without ever having to step foot on campus. To learn how, continue reading below.
Take Virtual Tours
There are some college websites that actually offer interested students “virtual tours” of their facilities, including the campus and residence halls. You may not be able to see it in the flesh, but some of these tours are so well-executed and use such good photos that you feel as though you’re really there. You may also try doing a Google search and seeing if there are any videos about your school created by other students that may be able to give you a better inside look into campus-life.
Read Campus Newspaper Online
Another easy way to get a “feel” for what life on a certain campus will be like is to read the school’s student newspapers. Most colleges offer their student papers online for free. You may need to do a simple Google search first to discover the name of the publication however. What reading the student newspaper does is give you some insight to what’s going on campus and the city as a whole. Thus you can get a better idea of what the crime rate is like as well as what kind of events are thrown at your school. You can also get a better idea of what your peers will be like and learn a few of their accomplishments.
Call Alumni Centers
If you want to get a first –hand, unrehearsed account of what life is like at your college but don’t have any friends who have attended the school, then your next best bet is to call the school’s alumni center. Someone should be able to put you in contact with a former college student who will be able to answer all of your questions about the school so that you can make a more formal decision if whether that particular school sounds like someplace you’d like to be for the next four years.
Scour Open Courseware
Last but not least, you want to see if your school-of-choice offers open courseware. Open courseware is free online classes that are opened for the public. While you won’t need to take these courses, sometimes it can be beneficial to take a peek to see what’s to come. Or in other words, you can see what might be expected of you and get a better idea if the academic department is up to par with your standards. On that note, you’ll also want to do some research on your potential department’s faculty team—are there any notable professors who have done groundbreaking research? Are there any notable graduates from the department that went on to accomplish great feats? All of this should be considered before committing to a school.
This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas, who writes for online universities blog. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: firstname.lastname@example.org.