High school students preparing for college are finding new ways to tour colleges while sheltering in place this summer. Using existing virtual tours on some college websites and virtual college tour websites such as youvisit.com and campustours.com, students can virtually roam campuses and listen to tour guides. When physical visits are limited, this is a great way to at least get a first look at colleges.
Students are also finding ways to move forward in their resume of activities. A large area of college applications gives students the opportunity to show colleges how they use their free time as volunteers and as members of sports teams and clubs. Whenever traditional extracurricular activities are temporarily unavailable, students are brainstorming ways to use their time wisely. Some have found ways to continue staying in touch with peers online while others have discovered ways to contribute to volunteer efforts in a virtual way. Others are working on learning a new skill through online platforms, taking an online class, creating websites and blogs devoted to their interests and submitting articles for online or print publications.
While the need to be sheltering in place may be necessary over the coming months, it is not necessarily true that students are at a standstill in their college process. During any down time, they can consider their standardized testing plans, prepare for upcoming tests and classes and begin drafting high-quality college essays. They can also find ways to strengthen themselves in subjects where they are less strong by reading and consulting virtually with other students and tutors.
There are two primary ways to look at the upheaval caused by the pandemic. One is the pessimistic view which focuses on the negatives such as cancelled activities, trips and events. Students who lean in that direction tell me they are sleeping more than usual. The other view is a more optimistic view focusing on the opportunities that are available. The biggest opportunity that students have shared with me is that their schedule is more flexible and that they have a commodity that is rare in their lives: time. They have the time to help someone, engage in a hobby, improve a skill, read and take time to truly get ready for college.