Choosing a College When You Can’t Make It to Campus
Deciding which college to make your future home when you’re unable to visit takes a bit of creativity and an open mind
At this point, it goes without saying that COVID-19 has dramatically changed how we live our lives. Choosing a college is certainly one of those changed things. If you’re just getting started, now is normally the time you would book flights and schedule tours. With vaccines newly on the scene, the world is slowly returning to normal, but the traditional campus visit still isn’t an option just yet. This begs an important question: How do you choose a college when you can’t make it to campus?
Thankfully, there are several tools to consider! Committing to a place to spend the next four years is a monumental decision. You’re not just choosing a classroom—you’re choosing a community and a home. Colleges recognize the gravity of that decision. Therefore, they are doing everything in their power to provide resources for you to help you make an informed decision.
Whether you’re considering an offer from NYU or another school, here are a few ways to ensure you’re making the right choice.
Take Advantage of Online Events
Trust me—after a year of nonstop Zoom calls, I know how disorienting webinars and online video conferences can be. But in lieu of in-person events, colleges have created accessible (and non-awkward) online programming. At NYU, all of our schools, colleges, and campuses are holding webinars tailored to their admitted students. We also have general sessions for students and parents covering student life, residential life, professional opportunities, and more. If youʼre admitted, mark your calendars for April 10 and 11. Our admitted student weekend is moving online, and weʼve got some surprises waiting in the wings for you!
There may be no substitute for standing in the center of Washington Square Park, under the palm trees in Abu Dhabi, or on the Bund in Shanghai. But our virtual campus tours will get you as close to that as possible! We’ve got one for each of our degree-granting campuses in New York City, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai. Many colleges will have similar offerings. So when choosing a college, don’t hesitate to reach out to the admissions team to ask about them.
Take Advantage of Social Networks
I spend the bulk of my time working with students who are considering our campus in Abu Dhabi. They come to us from more than 115 different countries, and even before the pandemic, geography was a factor in them having ample physical opportunities to connect. With that in mind, when they’re invited to Candidate Weekend, we set up a Facebook group so that they can more easily get to know each other. Every year, they set up their own WhatsApp group and schedule periodic Zoom calls so that they can connect more fluidly. Because of this, when they arrive on campus, they already have a community to help make their new surroundings feel more like home.
Regardless of your campus or platform of choice, you can make connections with future classmates from all over the world. So follow the NYU Class of 2025 Facebook page and keep tabs on #MeetNYU and #NYU2025 on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter. Connecting with fellow admitted students now gives you a community of people to make these tough decisions with and potentially a future friend (or two!) on campus. Regardless of where you end up, it never hurts to meet new folks and to work through the college process together.
Donʼt Waste Time
I spent my first two years of college terrified of emailing my professors. I was anxious about setting up appointments during office hours. Don’t be me. When I eventually started connecting with professors, I got 10 times more out of my college experience. You can start connecting with faculty and administrators now—it’s expected in the digital age!
If you want more information about housing, next steps, or advising, email or call the respective office. To learn more about support for students of color on campus, reach out to the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs. If you’re really excited to conduct discourse analysis research with a professor in the French department, shoot them a (respectful) email asking them to send more information or schedule a call. Anyone who works at a college cares about learning. Therefore, part of their mission involves ensuring you have all the information you need when youʼre choosing a college.
Trust Your Gut
This is all meant to help you find the college that fits you best. You have to answer all sorts of important questions about the colleges that have admitted you. Do they have the major that you’re looking for? Do they have the chamber orchestra you want to join? Will you feel supported, seen, and valued at this university? Even from afar, you can get a sense of these things by making the most of online resources and reaching out to folks on campus.
Congratulations to the NYU Class of 2025, and good luck with your decision-making process! It might be scary, but this is the fun part—the decision is yours. Regardless of where you go in the fall and beyond, you’ll make the right choice. And we’ll be here to guide you through any questions that you might have.