Anyone else doing DIY walking tours of closed colleges?

Like everyone else our plans to do a big college road trip with D21 are out the window with Covid. But we have been doing a couple of DIY walking tours of some of the closed colleges around our area while maintaining appropriate social distancing. They are all being used as parks and green space for local residents so skateboarders, families with strollers, people walking dogs, etc.

So far we have DIY toured University of Puget Sound, Lewis & Clark, and Reed College and might drive out to Whitman and Gonzaga at some point this summer. You get quite a big more realistic view of what the campus looks like by actually being their in person, even if you don’t do an official tour, compared to what you see on their digital virtual tours that are extremely edited and curated.

Anyone else doing this too? Curious what you look for other than just walking around and absorbing first impressions of a campus sans students.

I’ve posted on a couple threads we have. We saw Lehigh, Villanova and Princeton (just for fun because it’s close and beautiful!). Virtual tours aren’t doing for D21. It was nice to see them in person, but I think if any make the final list, we’d have to go again to see the kids and try to get a better “vibe” before a final decision. We really just walked around, get a feel for the size, surrounding area, etc…

Luckily by us, things are in pretty good shape and a few schools are starting to do in person info sessions and tours. We have 2 lined up for Monday. Although not big contenders for D21, going to go and check them out, because we can!

I want to but my kid doesn’t. I think seeing what kind of campus is as important as seeing what kind of students. Want to check off schools close by to be able to take them off the list ( or reconsider down the road) .

My kid will get out of the house and go do an in-person DIY tour of a local colleges because she is bored and wants out of the house. But she can’t be bothered to do virtual tours. Thinks they are nothing but curated corporate promo. I tend to think she is right. They all look exactly the same. Professionally filmed and photographed and carefully edited on that perfect spring day when the sun is shining and all the flowers are out.

Gonzaga was all poised to re-open in -person tours a couple of weeks ago and it was all put on hold when the state put re-opening on hold until late July or later. It is a bit far for a one-day tour but doable.

Honestly, the DIY tours we do are almost as informative as the standard regular summer tours with student tour guides. We can take our time and poke around. Look stuff up on our phones and i-Pads. Search out the buildings and parts of campus we would be most interested in. We don’t need to see the inside of dorm rooms or cafeterias because they are mostly the same and the food services are mostly provided by the same few companies anyway.

We are going to try to do this tomorrow. We have done some of the virtual online tours and DD22 is not keen on them. I think the combo of virtual and DIY could be good, though. Doesn’t give the real vibe, but it’s as close as we’re going to get right now.

We’ve done Elon and UNC is one of our regular places to walk. Little S’s fave thing to do is walk from the main quad, around the arboretum, to the tower, back down Cameron to Columbia, and back up Franklin making sure to stop at Insomnia Cookies. :lol:
We’re on vacation up in the Blue Ridge right now so we’re hoping the weather will cooperate as we make our way back home later this week. We’re thinking about lunch and a quick trip around Davidson.

We haven’t but the ones my daughter has shown some interest in are primarily gated schools that are currently not allowing visitors. She did however participate in a 2 week virtual tour program (from her high school) and saw 10 different schools - she liked 3 of them.

ChaosParent, you could do a quick visit to App State while you are up there. We liked it when we did a real tour in the BeforeTimes.

DD-22 and I went to UNC-Greensboro today and walked around. We really liked it. DD-22, said it got colored in and shaded on her list now instead of just penciled in. I was pleasantly surprised by what a nice campus it is. I am spoiled by living right near UNC-Chapel Hill (IMO, the prettiest school in NC), but UNC-G was nice.

If the only option is self touring campus with no students, be sure to explore the surrounding area. Don’t assume if the area isn’t glamorous that there aren’t good dining and shopping options nearby. Do a little research before to see which streets might be student hangouts. Even if they aren’t fully open now, it might give you an idea of the kind of people who hangout there now. Figure out where the center of town life is relative to the school. If it’s walking distance and there are places to eat and shop, students will go there.

Back in the day, my D and I toured some colleges in the summer when kids were off campus. We did eliminate a couple that way. One campus was in a neighborhood that was just too posh. It felt pretentious to us. The other campus was very unkempt and felt as though it wasn’t cared for, which was off putting.

Students can look at official college Instagram accounts, or colleges tagged by students. That is a good way to get an idea of campus life and the kind of students who attend.

We have to go right past it, so we’ll have to do a quick drive through. Just looked it up on the map and saw a Chick Fil A and Pedalin’ Pig. Little S is sold already. :lol:

We did a tour last summer when we were in Boone and really liked App. I think a lot of Chapel Hill kids end up there. It’s a good school — not UNC or Duke or Davidson, but I would put it up there pretty close to NC State (although no Engineering). Beautiful area too. King Street is fun, kind of a bit of a Franklin Street vibe. A cool main drag college street is still one of Dd-22’s priorities, along with a good writing program. App does have an “English (BA) – Creative Writing” program, which is nice for undergrad.