Choosing the right college to attend is hard. What will you like? What will feel right? The best way to tell about a college is to visit it, but what if a college you’re interested in, or even one that accepts you, is too far away to visit? How can you assess whether or not it’s a place you want to study at?
There is a way to evaluate a college without actually visiting it—through the Internet.
Here are a few ways to use the internet to visit a college without actually visiting it!
The College’s Website – All colleges have a website, and there’s lots of information on those sites. Start by looking a college’s website.
• Check out the basics on the site: majors, course programs, activities and organizations, financial aid, campus resources like health and recreation, and meal plans.
• Look at their front pages for recent news. Recent news will tell you what the focus of the campus will be for the next few years, years during which you will be there. Have there been new building plans, meaning both updates and construction. Have there been grants for research that will bring in new programs and new faculty?
• Take their virtual tours. These tours should allow you to see, as if you were there, the campus, inside buildings, what the dorms and facilities look like, as well as they type of students attending.
Social Media – Social media allow you to see the more unofficial side of a college. Social media to check out include Tweeter, Tumblr, Facebook, and YouTube.
• Posts and comments will tell you how students feel about the college which can offer good insight.
• Balance opinions and heated comments by reading articles about the college on sites like hercampus.com. Articles are usually a little more objective.
• You Tube can offer more informal tours and posts which can show you college life, unpolished. Organizations and projects may also be posted to give you a sense of what students take pride in.
Research and opinion both weigh in to give you a sense of a college. Use both wisely. Schools will try to sell themselves, and student opinion can have its own biases. But, the more you read and see on the internet, the better sense you can get for a college without actually having to visit it.