Tips for Navigating the College Search Virtually

I still remember the day I first stepped onto Scripps. It was nearly 100 degrees, the sun was shining, and the grass was all green and lush. Campus was flooded with new students, moving boxes, and more. I was carrying all my bags and rolling my duffels, as my parents dragged a moving cart behind me. My very first day at Scripps College was on my move-in day as a first-year student.

Navigating the college search and application process during covid was tough. It was difficult for me to get a certain “vibe” of each campus without physically seeing their students interact on campus. It’s easy to find details about a school’s size, location, and majors online. But it’s much more difficult to get a grasp of what student life looks like.

That being said, I was able to successfully complete my college process entirely virtually. I learned to look at what events were being held, what specific clubs there were, and what resources were available. I watched many “Day in My Life as a ___ Student” and reached out to current students that attended the school. My best resources were students that attended the schools I was looking at. They gave me a great perspective as to what my days as a student would be and what the community was like. I also attended a lot of virtual programming, where I could get my questions answered. I asked a lot of questions, watched a lot of virtual content, and tried to picture myself as a student within the community.

Some may say it was a leap of faith that I had committed to a school I had never stepped foot on. But in retrospect, I was confident in my decision despite this fact. I’d taken all the virtual tours, attended all the Zoom sessions, and tried to understand the student community as best as I could. Eventually, I was able to make the right choice. I knew what kind of student and person I was, and which school would support me best.

But I will say that nothing compares to that first step on campus. Seeing campus buzzing with new students, smelling the orange blossoms, and stepping into my future dorm was truly better than I had envisioned it, and it felt like home.