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Can you really learn much during a virtual college tour?

 Many colleges started offering virtual tours during the early days of the pandemic when travel and in-person gatherings were restricted. But they are here to stay! There’s a good reason for that: Students like them!

“Visiting a campus in person is obviously ideal,” said Robin Boughey, MedQuest College executive director.  “But virtual tours are so quick and convenient. We find that students really appreciate them as a good ‘first look’ at schools they are interested in.”

It’s also easier for people to bring a parent, older sibling or other advisor along on a virtual tour because it doesn’t require them to take time off work. They can just log on during a lunch break!

Why tour a school you are interested in?

Selecting a school or college can be overwhelming. There are so many things to consider and it may be hard to compare schools by just looking at their websites.

Some questions seem straightforward. But even a question like “How much is tuition?” can be complicated to look at when comparing schools. Some schools may have all-inclusive tuition, while others have more additional fees and add-ons. That can be hard to sort out when just looking at websites.

By contrast, when you take a tour, you can talk to a real person and ask all the questions you want. You also get the feel of the campus – how casual or formal it is, how friendly the staff is, whether they seem attentive to students with non-traditional needs.

Whether touring in-person or through a video conference call, you will find that you know more about what the school is “really like.”

Why are virtual options important for college tours?

Tours are super important, but they can sometimes be hard to schedule. If you are currently in school or working, it may be hard to take time off to visit a campus. If you have children, it may seem too expensive to arrange childcare for tours of the three or four colleges you are considering.

That’s where virtual tours can help! Taking virtual tours can help you narrow your search down to the one or two schools and programs you are most interested in. Then you can decide if you want to visit those schools in person.

How can you get the most out of a tour?

The secret to getting a lot out of virtual college tours, whether virtual or in-person, is to ask a lot of questions. Don’t be shy! Tour guides understand that people have vastly different understandings of college, depending on their prior experiences. They totally expect people to ask for clarifications!

Here are some questions you might ask:

  • If I’m interested, what are my next steps? Are there deadlines I need to meet? Who can I talk to about financial aid?
  • What are the in-person or online options you are expecting this year? Some people hate “zoom classes,” but other students have come to like them. Most schools will probably continue to use some online options, at least for certain classes or in certain circumstances. (Like bad weather.) Ask about the mix you can expect in the short and long term. At MedQuest College, we always worked it out so that students could learn medical procedures safely in-person. No one should be learning how to draw blood by watching a video online!
  • What are the costs beyond tuition? Some schools may look like a bargain when you just look at tuition, but you may be required to get a meal plan or even live in a residence hall. That adds up fast! At MedQuest, we let you decide on your own meals and living arrangements!

One final point to remember on virtual tours!

When signing up for a virtual tour, make sure you’re on a tour that is specific to the program you’re interested in. Because programs can vary widely in both the time needed and the associated costs, you want to be talking to people who really know your program. If you want to tour MedQuest’s Lexington or Louisville campus, you can register for a tour in any of our programs here.