By Shannon Elward, Indiana Commission for Higher Education
We know that many Hoosier students, families and educators are coping with school day closures and elearning for the next few weeks in response to COVID-19. Over the next month, our blog will be dedicated to college and career readiness activities that can be done from home. And, don’t forget to explore our classroom materials page for grade-specific college, career and cost activities.
Today, let’s talk about the future! What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you need to do to get there? Chances are, you’ll need to get some education after high school—whether that’s going into an apprenticeship, the military, or going to a college or university.
If you’re exploring your college/university options, there are a few things you can do right now to develop a short list of schools you’re interested in. First, start thinking about campuses that might be a good fit for you. Does the college or university have your major? Do you want to attend a large college or a small one? Are there any clubs, activities or supports that are important to you?
Visit college websites and do your research and develop a list of 4-8 schools that you’re interested in. Need help with your research? BigFuture has some great resources for beginning your college search. And, visit Learn More Indiana’s school finder tool to explore options that align with your interests right here in our state.
So now you’ve got a short list of schools you’re interested in. But how do you get a feel for each campus without leaving your house? One way to do this is to take yourself on a virtual tour of each campus.
What exactly is a virtual tour? It’s using online resources to try to get a feel for what a campus is like. A lot of colleges and universities have videos, interactive maps or web tools that will let you explore their campus from your couch. You’ll get to take a look at things like the academic buildings, residence halls, green spaces, sports and arts facilities and more. You can find a list of virtual tours in Indiana here (just click “show table”).
Want to explore even more? Check out a school’s website and social media pages to get an idea of what student life is like. Often you can find information about events that are happening and what current students are saying. Check out a school’s newspaper (if they have one) to find out about what interests the student body. Explore residence hall options. And, visit BigFuture’s list of ways to learn about colleges online here.
Are you a 21st Century Scholar still needing to visit a college campus? A virtual tour satisfies the requirement. Just make sure you track it in ScholarTrack.