Hey future Bears! My name is Bo Walker and I’m an admissions counselor in the Office of University Admissions at Mercer. You may be wondering how to visit campuses when so much has been moved to a virtual format. I am here to help!
The importance of campus visits cannot be overstated. They had a tremendous impact on my own personal search when I was applying to colleges, and even though that was back before there were any The Fast and the Furious movies and when Beyoncé was still in Destiny’s Child, I believe campus visits will always be one of the most important ways that prospective students can determine whether or not any given campus might feel “like home.” Sadly, not all schools are that easy to visit in person right now—and some might even be unavailable completely. But this doesn’t mean you are without options! In fact, with all the virtual tours and events universities are creating right now, there is actually a lot to take advantage of! Mercer is currently offering both in-person and virtual visit opportunities, so that you can visit us however you feel comfortable.
Here are 3 tips for virtual visits.
1. Check the website.
Despite the hardships you may face during your senior year, how awesome is that college websites are more powerful and informative than ever before! It might not be a tremendous consolation, but beyond curing quarantine boredom with cat videos, SpongeBob memes, and the trend of making hyper-realistic cakes to look like random everyday objects—you can also narrow your search for the right college or university! From the comfort of your home, just make a list and discover schools both near and far from your phone! Many institutions use their website to highlight their distinctive programs and offerings. This is obviously a great way to determine if a school has what you are looking for from the more academic side of things—yet it is also a great way to find out what a school is passionate about. Look to see what opportunities exist beyond the classroom. Do their programs or offerings benefit anyone outside of their own school’s community? What do these offerings say about the character of the school—and does it align with your own character and principles? Finding an institution that you can get behind and believe in will not only grant you the benefit of feeling warm and fuzzy—but will also drive you to be more involved and more successful!
Learn more about Mercer on our website!
2. Take a virtual campus tour.
As a student looking to get to know an institution through virtual platforms, one of the first things you’re likely to come across is a virtual tour. Admittedly, these are not an equal substitute for a guided tour with actual feet on the ground. Still, virtual tours are a great way to develop a more detailed understanding of the look and layout of the colleges and universities you may be considering. Many virtual tours also include a presentation, which often gives a well-rounded overview of that school’s accolades, academic programs, and campus life. So, not only are you able to get a sense of the school’s aesthetics, but also some information about the history and culture as well.
Interested in virtually touring Mercer? Check it out here!
3. Get a student perspective.
Another opportunity I recommend looking into are student Q&A’s or student panels. Admissions counselors do our best to stay up to date with all the exciting things our students are doing, but no one knows a school’s campus and current happenings better than the students. One helpful strategy might be coming up with three to five general questions you can use each time you have a chance to attend something like this. They could be focused on campus life or academic programs, or some mixture of both, but you can compare answers from the different colleges and universities to see how the attitudes and student stories vary from school to school.
Interested in connecting with current Mercer students? Register for a Student Q&A!
Remember: we’re in this together.
As stressful as things may feel these days, finding ways to decompress is extremely important. I can’t imagine being on the high school side of this process and trying to make sense of uncertainty and changing protocols. That said, it’s important for us all to remember this is uncharted territory for everyone. Your perseverance, time management, and flexibility will serve you so well in your college experience. If it seems overwhelming, step away for a little while to do something that will help relieve that sense of pressure. Talk to a friend. Go for a walk. Personally, I have a meditation app that I enjoy using to clear my mind, but whatever works to soothe your nerves will do. The websites, virtual tours, information sessions, and panels will still be there—and you will likely find them far more beneficial with a fresh and relaxed attitude. And if all else fails, reach out to your admissions counselor for advice and guidance on how to make the most out of their school’s virtual offerings—we’re here to be a shoulder you can lean on!
Connect with your admissions counselor at Mercer!