Midtown’s College and Career Center (CCC) has revamped college visits, offering in-person visits with admissions officials and virtual visits at school to provide students with a feel for the university they may be interested in.
The college visits allow students to explore a university’s campus through an admissions advisor without having to physically travel to the school.
“I think having the school at your fingertips and being able to point things out is always helpful, but a lot of times that is not the case,” Furman University’s Assistant Director of Admissions Carly Bailey said. “I cover a lot of areas in New England as well, and a lot of times students can’t travel down to campus. Obviously, experiencing a campus ,in and of itself, you’re going to know a little better if that’s your fit, but I think visits only add to it and help spark interest.”
COVID-19 has put many limitations on college campus tours. Some universities only offer virtual tours or none at all. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the college visits offered by the CCC.
“I think students are definitely relying more on these visits with COVID,” Bailey said. “Especially last year when it was completely virtual, we saw many more students attending high school visits versus on-campus visits, even though that was an option for the safety of travel. I think this year, when it’s a mix of both, we are seeing a lot more high school visits.”
Students can use free time during lunch to work on their college applications without leaving the school. CCC College Advisor Whitney Makokha has helped organize many of the recent college visits.
“I believe students are finding the visits very helpful because the colleges can come to them,” Makokha said. “The only free time students really have is during lunch, so they can use that opportunity to talk to colleges and try to figure out what colleges they’re interested in, what colleges they want to major in and things of that nature. Students should utilize the time and space to explore college options.”
Makokha has seen more students flock to local universities.
“Usually, the universities that draw a big crowd are the flagship universities like the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Emory and Georgia State,” Makokha said. “I’ve also seen other ones like the Ivy Leagues, Brown had a big crowd with Princeton, Georgetown and others similar to those.”
The visits serve as a stepping stone for students to learn more about surface-level details on colleges. Schools provide basic information, and it is up to the student to conduct further research to determine if the school is right for them.
“I wanted to learn more about Ohio State because it was a school I was interested in, and I found the visit very helpful,” junior Dean Barry said. “I did learn a lot more about the school and its opportunities and scholarships. I think I will probably do some more research because the college advisor did point out some things I could look into more.”
In addition to the continuous college visits, seniors have the opportunity to utilize the college counselors for advice.
“We have to do a mandatory college meeting this semester and next semester for graduation,” senior Hannah Doherty said. “It’s just a 15-minute meeting to touch base with the counselors about where we are in the college process.”
However, some students find the college visits misleading because some admissions officers mask the negative factors of the college experience. Without being able to physically see the school, students are forced to interpret their college experience with only information the college admissions adviser provides.
“I don’t think they’re that helpful,” junior Jonas Loesel said. “It’s like an advertisement, and I think I can figure that out myself without someone having to tell me I should go to their school. They didn’t make the bad parts of the college [I attended the visit for], the University of Chicago, clear in the meeting. It really made me think the visits are not actually helpful in figuring out what you want in a college because they just tell you all the good things.”
Students struggle to find information about the virtual college visits in advance.
“I normally don’t know about them beforehand,” Doherty said. “The CCC will text you only about two minutes before it starts, so it is inconvenient to drop your plans to attend a visit.”
Bailey believes Midtown students have shown hard work and preparation at their college visits with Furman University.
“I have had a wonderful experience with Midtown students,” Bailey said. “Every student I talked to has been interested and asking great questions. A lot of them are coming to visit campus next week, so I’ll get to see them again next week.”