The university and college you prefer to attend is more than a place of education, it’s your home for next four years. Beyond its academic aspects, a school is a society of teachers, students and staff. Even the city, village or town surrounding your university can alter your experience significantly.
The best means of evaluating the “feel” of a school is by physically visiting college campus. Thus, traveling to distant universities and colleges can be very expensive, mainly if you must visit various locations. Virtual tours provide a potentially useful alternative to a physical university campus tour, albeit with a number of key drawbacks.
Online tours are cheaper than in-person visits, but cannot fully capture a university offering.
Virtual tours often do not show the less desirable parts of college campus life, but they can act as a initial point for further research.
Here are some important points to consider while exploring colleges from afar:
Virtual tours provide one point of view:
Virtual tours are perhaps most pertinent when gathering a sense of the school atmosphere, such as its landscaping and architecture. Virtual tours may not shed light on all parts of a university and college, such as less desirable dormitories and outdated science laboratories.
Rather, you will gain a picture of the college or university as it wishes to be seen: neat and clean, with recently well-maintained and built buildings surrounded by wonderfully landscaped plants.
Consider the inner workings of a virtual tour site. The tours provide more than common-domain photographs of a college campus. There is a human tour guide who narrates each key feature of the university or college, accompanied by high-quality images.
This content is available to prospective teachers and students free of charge, despite the evident cost of creating such well-produced content. If students don’t pay for the tour material, it’s likely that advertisers do, which can bring up concerns about how objective the tour truly is if the school itself is sponsoring it.
Virtual tours enable further research:
Another reason for virtual tours is to offer an entry point for Internet research. Virtual tours provide potential students with a list of prominent landmarks on college or university campus, with the roles of several buildings in college campus life.
You can use Google Maps, Google Images and other similar tools to search for other photographs that balance and complete the perspective you get. Subgroups, Message boards on the site YouTube channels and Reddit that focus on specific colleges can enable you to see what students are participating and discussing in at an individual university and college. Again, none of these options will offer you with a holistic picture, but you will be able to gather extra information on a given university campus.
Even if you visit a school in summer vacations, there will be teachers, students and staff with whom you can speak. You can still take a tour with a trained guide, and you can also explore the university campus independently.
For instance, the virtual tour of Ohio State University, a college which I love and with which I am intimately familiar, doesn’t offer interior views of dormitories. The tour also doesn’t visit the off-campus locations near the college campus where the great majority of students live.
Prospective science majors aren’t able to view the interior of the student laboratories. Prospective theater or art students don’t gain a close glimpse of the performance and studio spaces. The virtual tour also doesn’t convey the huge scale of the college campus and the widespread classrooms that necessitate a bicycle or important planning of transportation time.
Virtual tours do not introduce you to the student body:
Beyond facilities, visiting a university and college campus allows you to meet the students who go there. Returning to University as an example, there is no virtual tour that will show the feeling of being on campus for a football game. More than 100,000 students in the stadium and thousands more tailgating nearby is a unique experience. You may find said experience off-putting or exciting, but the virtual tour cannot provide the feeling for seeing it in person.
When positioned as an initial scouting trip, a virtual tour can be a amazing tool. If a college shows you its best side and you still find it unappealing, you can eliminate it. The virtual tour can also be a strong start for more wide investigation. So, when possible, in-person visits are usually superior.