In addition to all of the normal stress that incurs from college searches, we are all in uncharted territory with COVID-19. With this new territory, we have all found a way to adapt and with that adaptation in mind, here are some tips to manage a college search in the age of COVID-19:
Take advantage of Virtual Visits!
Virtual visits are a unique way to “see” a college before traveling (near or far) to get there. Many schools are now offering virtual visits that range all the way from a virtual “visit day” to campus tours to video chatting with an admissions counselor. Not only has this provided access for students to continue their college search during COVID-19, but it has afforded many students the opportunity to gain information about a school they may have not visited or traveled to. Students should feel encouraged during this time to dip their toes in schools they might have not before! In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if even after COVID-19 calms down, colleges and universities continue to offer virtual visits in order to reach a wide-range of students.
Give Space to Process
Even though the visits are virtual and often quick (normally a campus visit may take the whole day while a virtual visit may take an hour or under), it’s important to process your experience and impressions of the college. With all things considered, know that this isn’t a comprehensive look at this school and give yourself (and the school) some grace in navigating this. If you need to contact your admissions counselor in order to find out more information or process your visit, don’t hesitate! Admissions Counselors are waiting to talk to you and help you find out if their school is a good fit.
Importantly, know that your steps to process will be different than others. Find time to sit down after your visit and talk through what you liked/disliked. Create a running pro/con list of every college you can see yourself applying to. Any way that you find processing works for you, do that! It will bring clarity to your search.
Give Yourself Some Time to “Soul Search”
With the abrupt onset of COVID-19, many of us have been given (well, forced) the opportunity to slow down a bit. You don’t have to go to school, then off to practice, then do your homework, then hang out with friends, have dinner with your family all in the same day. As the chaos subsides of everyday life, you will likely be encountering your own inner voice and how you feel about your future. Embrace that! Allow this to be an opportunity to take advantage of some soul searching.
Compassion for Yourself and Your Family
Finding a college can be an emotional time for everyone on top of everything else that is going on! You are looking into a lens of possible new life which includes the changing and shifting of lifestyle, relationships, and potentially geographic distance. Know that this time may bring up unexpected emotions! Rome was not built in a day, so take your time and be patient. Allow the emotions to be present and process. We are all in this together.