How to choose a college even if you can’t visit in person
There are hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States. How can you find out about them without paying for expensive trips to criss-cross the country? Post-pandemic, there are many ways you can find out whether a college is the right fit for you without having to hop on a plane. Here are nine ways to find out about a college, virtually!
1. Check out schools’ visit options
Many universities offer ways to talk with current students, meet counselors, and attend visit events online. SPU offers several different “virtual visit” experiences, from individual appointments to webinars on topics from financial aid to study abroad.
2. Tour campus — online!
Some colleges offer online tours of campus so you can get a feel for where things are located and what it would actually be like to make it your college home.
3. Ask all the questions
Now is a time when you might have a lot of questions. That is what admissions teams are here for! Whether you have questions about your application, financial aid, your major, or living on campus, start by contacting a school’s admissions team. At SPU, we can help find you answers.
4. Connect with professors and students
One of the best ways to find out if a school is right for you is to connect directly with 1) the professors you will learn from and 2) the students who have been in your shoes and made the choice to attend. To get connected with a professor in your field or a current student, contact SPU admissions.
5. Follow the schools you’re interested in on social media
This is often where you can see the “personality” of the university and look at what is happening in real time. You can see how the campus changes through the seasons, what events are happening, what students are accomplishing, and how the school is involved in the surrounding community.
6. Research your major program
If you’re certain about the general area you want to study, knowing more about a school’s majors can help you decide on a college. Also being aware of how popular or robust that specific major can be helpful as well. Seattle Pacific University, for example, has 71 majors to choose from, as well as 69 minors that allow you to explore other interests as well.
7. Consider your financial aid opportunities
Costs and scholarship opportunities vary for each school, depending on scholarships, in-state and out-of-state tuition, and other factors. Make sure you are aware of the loans, grants, and scholarships you qualify for at each college. In addition, make note of the different employment and work-study opportunities each school offers, or potential for nearby off-campus employment.
Have financial circumstances changed for you or your family since the COVID-19 outbreak? Contact SPU’s Student Financial Services to see what options are available to you now.
8. Think about location
A college’s location can have a big impact on your college experience, work opportunities, and career preparation. Is the college in a place you would enjoy living? Are there nearby companies and organizations where you could intern and grow in your career? Is it a potential hotspot for the field you’re interested in? Does the college have good connections to the community around it? SPU, for example, is located in Seattle, a leading city in business, technology, science, communication, and the arts. SPU students intern and network with employers from major global companies, often paving the way to full-time jobs.
9. Ask the question: “How will this school prepare me for my future?”
During the next four years of your life, you will grow, be challenged, and change. Think about the future you are working toward. Pray about it. How will the college you’re considering help prepare you for that future?