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How to commit to a college you haven't seen (due to COVID-19)

mkms2020mkms2020 23 replies7 threads Junior Member
Hi everyone! I am a high school senior who recently got back all of my admissions decisions. I've managed to narrow my list down to a few top choices and booked tours and admitted student events at each of these schools in order to get a better feel for each university.
However, due to concerns surrounding COVID-19 these universities have begun cancelling or suspending these events for indefinite amounts of time. This means I may not get a chance to visit these colleges before the May 1st decision deadline.
Everyone always talks about how they knew what the right choice was once they stepped on campus. Now that I may not get that opportunity I'm beginning to panic.
How do I feel confident committing to a college I've never seen? I know that I can look at pictures online or read through the schools website but I feel as if I won't get the full experience without being physically present on campus. Does anyone have any tips or suggestions for how I can get a good feel for a university without actually visiting? Any help is greatly appreciated!
edited March 12
13 replies
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Replies to: How to commit to a college you haven't seen (due to COVID-19)

  • snakstersnakster 128 replies4 threads Junior Member
    I'm guessing these are distance colleges which made it difficult to visit during your junior year or summer. This definitely a tough scenario if you have several good options in front of you. It's difficult to give good advice since this is a rather unprecedented turn of events.

    Check message boards that have a lot of student feedback. Stick to newer posts, not ones that are more than a couple years old. Try to get a feel if there are consistent complaints and/or praises. And do those things matter to you? Ask questions on those boards.

    Personally, I didn't see the school I went to until orientation. But that was a log time ago and I was first gen college, so the whole college search thing was a bit different. That said, I had some of the best times of my life at that school and wouldn't change a thing.
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  • MeddyMeddy 622 replies40 threads Member
    I imagine you applied to these schools after much research. When D18 was accepted to several schools, any one of those would have offered her a great education-that was clear before applying. Since all of the schools were quite far from home and in several different states, that added something to the equation. Big city to rural town was something for her to think about, too. Resources each school offered, student body diversity, cost comparison, courses offered in the fields she was interested in, acceptance rates to graduate school programs from each school and on and on are things you can go crazy on a spreadsheet considering.

    Visiting and feeling at home on a campus is the cherry on top. Do your best with the cards you are dealt. Cross your fingers and say a prayer that this all blows over and somehow, some way you can visit or you make the best decision with what you the info you have and it works out. There are no guarantees even when you visit sometimes that it is the right/wrong decision. If you do your research, rest assured it will work out well. I wish you the best!
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  • TigerleTigerle 612 replies6 threads Member
    The college that does best by their students moving their business online during this crisis (including admissions business) might be the one you want to start at in August. Just a (admittedly pessimistic) thought
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  • bjscheelbjscheel 712 replies5 threads Member
    If it makes you feel better, my DD'19 never got "the feeling" on any of her visits. Being an emotional type, she definitely thought that was going to happen. It doesn't for everyone.

    She did make a list of some very specific wants and needs, and one school met all but one (and she changed her mind on that one so it then met all). She's been very happy there.

    Another thing that helped was looking through the required courses in her major. Sometimes the lists were quite different and some sounded better than others.
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  • SADMBDADSADMBDAD 37 replies6 threads Junior Member
    bjscheel wrote: »

    Another thing that helped was looking through the required courses in her major. Sometimes the lists were quite different and some sounded better than others.

    That's a great suggestion.
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  • daunt18daunt18 154 replies7 threads Junior Member
    I know this is cheesy, but there are at least 5 youtubers per college campus who vlog about their life and post "day in the life" videos. That might be as close to an authentic visit as you can get.
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  • MOY906MOY906 6 replies0 threads New Member
    In a critical state of limbo. My son was holding out for U of Michigan decision before committing to any offers. Deep dives have waited. Follow up visits have waited. Audition-based scholarships are on hold (orchestra). Now my son is feeling anxious about committing without the follow up visits. As a parent this makes me nervous. Realistically, I don’t think the universities will reopen my May 1.

    Advice...should a decision be made without all of that? Do you have reliable resources for non-biased information (e.g., College Board, US News & World Report)?
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  • CTCapeCTCape 297 replies9 threads Member
    edited March 16
    @Lindagaf This ^^. Started this process with DS20 earlier this week—lets start eliminating and withdrawing decisively. I asked him to pick one, then live with the idea that you aren’t going there for 48 hrs, then withdraw. We’ve eliminated 2, and we have 4 left.

    As things begin to rapidly change, priorities are coming into focus. We will be spending some time online doing “visitations” this week, and then hopefully making a decision and not looking back, as you say.

    Edited to add: Reality is setting in. 24 hours ago considering an out of state “drive by” visit, and today that seems insane. We’re not going to get to go to Charleston. If he picks it, I’m sure it will be fine. Just adjusting to the new reality.
    edited March 16
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  • LindagafLindagaf 10396 replies574 threads Super Moderator
    Excellent, @CTCape . I think too many kids second guess themselves. Even when a kid visits and decides, they can end up with buyer’s remorse. My point is that they have to make the best decision for them based on available information. This is a great opportunity for kids to trust themselves to make an important life decision. Yes, visiting would be ideal, but so many parents here remember that visiting before attending used to not be a thing, and they thrived.
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  • CTCapeCTCape 297 replies9 threads Member
    @Lindagaf They really do second guess themselves. I think my DS thinks that somehow one of his choices is secretly better, and is dismayed that he never had that overwhelming “this is my place” feeling at any of them to guide his decision. I just keep reassuring him that the options that had negatives have been eliminated already, and those that remain are all great, just different. There is no wrong choice, just different paths.
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  • LaliejourLaliejour 53 replies7 threads Junior Member
    I really like to go through the student-run newspapers. It gives a good picture of what's going on on campus, issues, improvements, activities... The activity calendar is a good resource, you can see what students are doing typically. Requirements for the major of course, how many electives you can take. Online campus tours on YouVisit or other, youtube videos are awesome and most of those YouTubers have great editing skills so it's pleasant to watch! Current research topics by students & profs too, and emailing professors about research interests perhaps.
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