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What tips do you have for high school juniors who are launching their college searches virtually this spring?

A: shuyi

Hi, thanks for visiting! As someone from the Class of 2023, it's crazy to me that all you 26's are already looking at colleges. I'm excited to welcome all of you guys on campus, although that means I'll be a senior… scary!

As for the actual college search, it's true that things will be a bit different since everything is virtual now. However, just because you can't come visit campus doesn't mean you can't get a feel for each school. While the prevalent strategies of visiting a school's website and learning about its key details (location, enrollment size, academic curriculum) are still great ways to learn about a college, I hope to provide some insightful tips that most students might not have considered. So, here are some ways you can learn about a school without leaving the comfort and safety of your home!

Go on YouTube! Although it might seem strange to learn about a school from YouTube, almost every college has vloggers that will give you a perspective of daily student life. When I was applying to college, I enjoyed watching these vlogs to get a feel for the culture and vibe of the school. To find these vlogs, you can simple type in the name of the college + "vlogs" to find some interesting videos, for example "Dartmouth Vlogs". I think YouTube can be especially important now that college visits are unavailable, as they are kind of a virtual college tour in itself!

Talk to students! The only thing better than watching an actual student vlog about their day is actually talking to one. Many schools have ways for you to connect to a current student (check out Dartmouth Admission's "Connect with a Student") and these allow you to have genuine conversations about any questions, interests or concerns you might have. A few of my friends are involved in Dartmouth's program, and I know they are super pumped whenever they get to talk to a prospective student about their Dartmouth experience. I strongly believe that a place is made up by its people, so make sure you talk to current students before deciding on where you want to spend the next four years.

Finally, attend info sessions and high school visits! Due to Covid-19, colleges have been working hard to move everything virtually for you guys. At Dartmouth, we not only have virtual tours, but we also offer virtual info sessions and high school visits that you can easily access on Zoom. Through these events, you can hear from and get to know various Admissions Officers and current students. Last fall, I was lucky enough to go on a few info sessions and high school visits, and I really loved the experience! Even though searching for a college virtually might have to be another challenge you go through, I hope I've given you a few tips to make it all a bit more manageable. You can do this!

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