Summer is prime time for exploring colleges, so you can get a feel for each school’s campus life and academics. But what if you don’t have time for many campus tours? Or, what if your prospective universities are just too far away? You can actually learn quite a bit about many colleges online. At the very least, you could use these tools to narrow the field, and then visit two or three of your top choice schools.
College Prowler. College Prowler asks the questions that most schools don’t include on their brochures. How is the cafeteria food? What kind of social opportunities are available? Answers to these types of questions are provided by students from each university.
eCampus Tours. This site features more than 1,300 virtual campus tours of colleges all across the country. The tours feature 360-degree camera angles, and many include areas of cities surrounding each university.
YourCampus360. Another 360-degree virtual campus tours site, YourCampus360 doesn’t cover as many schools as eCampus Tours. However, the site does include a more “social” section, including blogs and photos from current students and graduates of each school. This added feature can give you a student’s personal take on the environment.
YouTube. Obviously, YouTube isn’t specifically a college information website. However, depending upon the university of your choice, you might be able to find videos posted by both the school and current students. Check out sporting events, classroom lectures, featured videos by various academic departments, student interviews, and perhaps dorm tours. You might be surprised at what you can find on YouTube if you keep digging.
Rate My Professor. Ever wish you could investigate your teachers before selecting your classes? In college, you can do exactly that! Rate My Professor is set up in a similar fashion to restaurant review sites, except former students submit “reviews” of their professors. You can access information such as each instructor’s helpfulness and clarity, along with information on the courses overall.
Of course, if you want specific stats such as class sizes or job placement rates, consulting each prospective school’s website is still a good idea. But these alternate avenues provide terrific resources for those who need more personalized information. Give them a try, but try to schedule campus tours in person before making your final decision.