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  • Writer's pictureBeth & Tim Manners

Pixel Dust: College Tours Go Virtual

The New York Times: "Virtual coffees with college students for high school juniors. Zoom sessions between applicants and admissions officers. Student guides offering welcoming messages in video selfies and scenic views of university campuses captured by drones. This is what spring college tour season looks like across America, where universities are going to great lengths to show off lecture halls, green space, libraries and laboratories that have all been emptied out by the pandemic, albeit online ... Carefully planned road trips with parents have been suddenly scrapped, leaving many students to wonder how they will experience campuses’s true vibes on the internet." "Some universities are using drone images to offer 360-degree online tours. Vanderbilt University in Nashville is matching high school juniors with current students for virtual coffee meetings. Baylor University in Waco, Texas, is allowing high school students to take online courses this summer and posting dozens of selfies from faculty and students offering personal pitches for the school. The University of Virginia’s website offers virtual dormitory tours and floor plans of residence halls." "One of Yale’s Zoom presentations features a student living with her family in Singapore who stays up until nearly midnight to appear on a panel with an admissions officer living in the United States ... Web traffic has accelerated on independent sites like, which displays short, vetted videos submitted by students from 320 colleges, focusing on dorm life, tailgate parties, library study areas and cafeteria food. 'We got the washers. We got the dryers,' Yu Isii, a student at the University of California at Santa Barbara, explained on a video tour of her residence hall that included a pass through the laundry room — a scene unlikely to be included in most official tours."

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