How Do Online Virtual College Tours Work?

While visiting a college in person might not be possible right now, there are ways to virtually tour a campus in the comfort of your home. You simply need to navigate to the websites where these tours are hosted, hit the play button, and your virtual visit will begin. While these online visits are not an equal replacement to touring a college in person, they do provide you with valuable visuals, key information, and a variety of perspectives on the school itself. So where do you look online to gain a virtual view of college campuses that you are interested in?

There are two types of virtual college tours:
(1) tours orchestrated by the colleges, which are typically hosted on the schools’ websites, and
(2) outsider produced tours hosted on other sites. Where to find each type is outlined below. My suggestion is to view both types of tours. It won’t hurt to get a view from all perspectives, and as we know, knowledge is power. Here is some information about each type of tour, how these virtual tours work, and where to find them online.

College Produced Virtual Tours

Colleges typically have virtual tours they have orchestrated on their website. These tend to be very produced and, understandably so, show only the best sides of the campus and institution. For some schools, this is so much so, that when you go to visit the school you wonder how the virtual tour you attended is the same school that you are visiting in person. I certainly don’t want to say that this is entirely the case, but there is a distinct possibility that this is so. In any event, many colleges and universities have more than one “tour” video on their websites. They may have videos that feature:

• Overview of the school
• Student life
• Housing
• Food services
• Individual schools within the university
• Athletics
• And more

You can usually access these videos through the Admissions and Visit sections of the college’s website. If you have trouble finding a virtual tour on the school’s website, simply search for “virtual tours” in the website’s search bar.

Viewing an online virtual tour on a college’s website can also offer added benefits beyond just gaining perspective on the campus. If the school wants you to sign up for the virtual tour, you now have been placed in their database. You will begin to receive emails filled with information on the college, which may also help you in understanding the institution better and, in addition, if that school tracks demonstrated interest, you will be on their radar for someone who has exhibited an interest in their school. How does this help? Well, that is an entire topic that we addressed in a previous blog.

Online Virtual College Tours Created by Outside Sources

To get a more realistic view and other perspectives on a specific college, I usually recommend visiting the following websites: – This website has interactive maps and campus tours. Just enter the college name in the search box. A series of information appears and you can click on a campus map, virtual tour (which outlines still photos of various buildings and areas on campus, video footage of the campus and more.) – You will need to enter a series of information to sign up to view the information they provide. Once you get onto the website, you can select colleges by geographic area, large or small schools, or liberal arts institutions or you can just enter the specific college you are looking for in the search bar. A series of virtual tours will appear on the right hand side and you can explore to your heart’s desire. – Click on “Colleges and Universities”, scroll down and under “Immersive 360” click on “See library of virtual tours”. Then enter the name of the college or university that you are interested in, and a series of tours that you can select will appear.
YouTube – YouTube is the go to place for so much information in our lives – and a great place to search for virtual college campus tours. Put in your search bar “youtube college campus tour” and a myriad of video’s will appear for your viewing.

Key Takeaway on Virtual College Tours:

There is a wealth of online information about each college and university available to you at your fingertips. Use it, enmesh yourself in what is available, view all the virtual tours you can find to gain all the knowledge you can and work it to your advantage as part of your college search. To see more information about researching colleges online, read our blog How to Research for Colleges Online.

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