Making a final choice of a college or a boarding school once admitted can be one of a student’s most exciting moments in life so far. Due to the global health situation this year, however, many students facing this choice are experiencing frustration and anxiety as much as excitement. How to pick the right school, when campus visit days have been cancelled, and schools aren’t even operating normally? Yet, decisions still have to be made. Here are some tips that we hope could help you choose your boarding school or university, understanding the limitations imposed by measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission:
Make a list of questions you’d like to ask the administration. You should tailor it to each school that you’re interested in. Find the email of an administrator who can put you in touch with a proper person at each organization. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them, politely ask them to forward your email to the proper person if they can’t answer your questions, and remember that it might take time before you get responses.
Use your network to talk to students who go there! Just because you can’t visit campus doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to students. If you have friends who go to your dream school, talk to them. If you don’t, put out a call to help on your social media platforms and see if anyone you know knows anyone who does!
Zoom into a class. Since you only need a link to access a Zoom class, write to a teacher of a class you are interested in and ask whether you would be allowed to sit in on a class being conducted virtually. This might be a good way for you to see what academics are like, just as on a traditional prospective student visit, even if it won’t be in person.
Take a virtual tour. Schools are increasingly offering this option on their web pages: you can see Columbia University’s as an example.
Get in touch with a professor/teacher. Many will be generous with their time and will appreciate that a prospective student is taking the time to get in touch with them. You should feel free to describe what you are looking for from your study experience and ask them how their department might be a good fit for you. Some may even offer to Zoom/Skype with you.
We know that this time is difficult for everyone, and we hope that these tips help you when choosing your school/university for the next few years!