This blog post is provided by the Unigo Expert Network, a group of top education experts from across the U.S. answering questions submitted by students and parents about college admissions and succeeding after high school. To have your questions answered visit www.unigo.com/expertquestions
“I know that college visits are a great idea, but my family doesn’t have the time or money to visit some of the schools I’m really interested in. What else can I do?”– Jennifer R., Tampa Bay, FL
Gather As Much Information As Possible If You Can't Make a Visit Jill Madenberg, Independent Educational Consultant
Attend college fairs, speak to representatives, take a virtual tour and ask your high school to host an Alumni Day. When former students come back for a visit, you get an inside view through their eyes of the college experiences at different campuses. Additionally, after you get your admissions decisions, see where you are accepted and ask the schools if they can provide you with transportation to visit. Visiting a campus is absolutely the best way to see if it feels right for you. If you can't do that, many schools offer the opportunity for you to ask students questions through the school’s websites.
Research and Reaching Out Can Replace Campus Visits -- for Now Craig Meister, President, Tactical College Consulting
There are cheap and less time-consuming alternatives to campus visits that will develop your familiarity with colleges and increase your chances of admission. Conduct research on specific college websites, look for student reviews online, and read college guidebooks. Then, armed with more knowledge, reach out by email or phone to college admissions officers at the colleges that most intrigue you. Introduce yourself and ask questions that you could not find answers to online. You will learn a lot and impress college reps at the same time. Once accepted, though, make every effort to visit before picking a college.
Make a Virtual Visit to College Campuses Bob Tillman, Director of College Placement, Creighton Preparatory School
There are many ways to learn about life on a college campus other than making a college visit. The computer offers many possibilities. You can access the online student newspaper and read it frequently to get an idea of student life and campus issues. Contact some of the students on Facebook who are attending that college and ask them about their experiences at the college. You can also contact students in a specific department who are majoring in the area that you want to pursue. There are also many colleges that offer blogs on their websites where you can learn about first-year student life at college.
Get the full story from 35 more experts -- including the Dean of Admissions at University of Pennsylvania, Wesleyan University, and more -- at www.unigo.com/expertnetwork. To send your question to our experts, visit www.unigo.com/expertquestions