We use cookies to personalize and improve your browsing experience. 

To learn more about how we store and use this data, visit our privacy policy here.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic broadly disrupted many aspects of college life, including in-person classes during the spring semester, fall travel, and on-campus tours. While visiting prospective campuses is a major component of the college search process, there are other options available when researching which college or university may be the best fit for you. Here are four alternatives to the on-campus tour designed to effectively help you scope out potential college options.

Take virtual tours

In addition to hundreds of virtual tours featured on petersons.com, you can take a virtual tour from over 600 colleges and universities featured on YouVisit without leaving your home. Each virtual tour features a 360 degree view of spaces throughout campus, along with narration about the location. You can also schedule a future campus visit or apply online.

Virtual tours eliminate the cost and time barriers to seeing what colleges are really like, and can help you make informed decisions on your future educational path.

Participate in virtual events

Due to closed campuses, many colleges and universities have launched a number of virtual events, including webinars and online open houses to include informative sessions about campus resources, student activities, and academic programs.

Virtual open houses feature a variety of topics prospective students and their families need and want when visiting colleges.

The Academy of Art University, located in San Francisco, CA, recently held an online open house where admissions representatives assisted 200+ prospective students with the application process and answered questions about the different academic programs available, and financial aid. 

“At our online open houses, students can get a broad overview of the Academy’s 120+ degree programs, admission process, financial aid, student life, and online education,” said William Liu, VP of Marketing at the Academy of Art. “Our admissions team will be on hand to answer any questions via online chat during the event and will be available to discuss any of their questions after each session.” 

Academy of Art University will be hosting three types of online events in July and August, including free online interactive workshops where students can access hands-on skills from faculty or guest industry professionals, and get a taste of what it’s like to learn art and design online; prospective students also have access to online education webinars to help them dive into the virtual learning experience with a live demo of their online education platform. 

Visit school websites

While this is often the first step for many students, you can learn a lot about different colleges and universities by exploring their websites. Learn more about the types of programs they offer, their admissions process, social clubs and organizations, transferring credits, student success stories, and more. Many schools also showcase any academic or athletic achievements their school has accomplished, or their involvement with outreach programs in their community. 

Related: The Essential Guide to Navigating College Amid COVID-19

Connect with the admissions counselors

Now more than ever, schools are receptive to connecting with students online. Admissions counselors are a great resource in answering your questions about the school’s campus and academic programs, or guiding you through the application process

College admission counselors know the ins and outs of their school and serve as experts in knowing if you would thrive and be a good fit there. Their answers to your questions are far more personalized than anything posted on the school’s FAQ site, so make sure to benefit from their experience and knowledge when needed. 

During these uncertain times, don’t let the temporary cancellation of college visits discourage you from your college goals. Use this downtime and the many resources available to explore your options and research the colleges or universities that interest you. Once school campuses re-open, you will have already narrowed down your list and can focus your efforts on the best fit schools for you.

Want to continue exploring colleges to find that perfect fit? Check out our college search tool