Choosing what college to go to was probably one of the most stressful parts of my senior year of high school. This stress was compounded by the fact that due to COVID-19, I was unable to visit any of the schools on my list. Long gone were my dreams of going to a campus and instantly falling in love with it; I was going to have to make my decision completely independent of seeing any college campus. While it was difficult for an already indecisive person to make this decision under these circumstances, I ended up gathering some really helpful information from a range of sources that helped me make my decision.
The first, and possibly most helpful, resource was talking to current students. I spoke on the phone and over email with multiple students from the schools I was seriously considering to get their insight on life at their respective schools. After I was admitted, Yale assigned me a prefrosh advisor who was really helpful in answering all my questions. Hearing a student perspective on why and how people chose their schools was a great way for me to figure out what I wanted and what factors I should consider the most.
Another great source of information was talking to admissions officers at each school. Once I had all my admissions decisions, I agonized over my decision and kept telling myself (and my parents) that I would make a decision in a couple of days (for context, I didn’t actually commit to a school until two days before the deadline). After several days of telling myself I could decide at any moment, I decided to reach out to admissions officers. Regardless of the school, these individuals were so helpful in answering financial aid questions, talking about student life, and referring me to resources that could help me make my decision. It may seem scary to reach out to your admissions officer, but some of the most meaningful and impactful conversations I had were with these helpful people.
Virtual tours and blogs were also really helpful. Since I couldn’t visit campus, virtual tours were the closest thing I had. While a virtual tour is definitely not a perfect substitute for seeing a school in person, they did help me get a better sense of what campus would look like beyond Instagram photos. Similarly, the year I applied, Bulldog Days (and corresponding programs at other schools) were all virtual. Even though this was disappointing, I could still attend virtual events. I watched masterclasses, attended panels, and talked with other admitted students.
In a very meta point, reading college admissions blogs was also helpful in making my decision! Articles about the decision-making process were usually my go-to reads but I also looked through all the content about activities, academics, and student life in general.
I chose Yale, never having been to campus and never having even been to Connecticut. However, every day I feel like I made the right decision. There were a million factors that contributed to my decision, some that I’m sure are indescribable in words. Nevertheless, strategies like calling my admissions officers or attending virtual events greatly helped me in making my decision. Being unable to visit is difficult, but I know from experience that even if you can’t visit, it will all work out in the end.