Before the coronavirus pandemic, campus tours invited prospective students to get to know campus and the university. This experience looks different when forced to be entirely online.
This year IU is not conducting any in-person campus tours or information sessions for prospective students and their families. Prospective students are having trouble choosing their future college since they cannot visit campus on a tour before making their decision and arriving freshman year.
Stephanie Stephenson, senior associate director for the Office of Admissions, said the office is working on options so prospective students can learn as much as they can about IU without having to come to campus. On the office’s website, virtual tours are available that guide the students around campus.
If in Bloomington, the Office of Admissions is also offering a guided driving tour that students and families can download to see spots around the university. There is also a self-guided walking tour available.
Stephenson said the office has been holding weekly information sessions for prospective students that include current IU students’ perspectives. Representatives from each school in the university also attend. Information about admissions, student clubs and other helpful topics are discussed, Stephenson said.
Despite online resources, prospective students said they still feel they are missing out on a key experience of an in-person campus tour.
Krissy Brzycki, a high school senior considering IU, said she has had a hard time making a college decision since she can’t visit colleges in-person.
“It's just tough to say that you're going to go somewhere for four years without ever visiting the place,” Brzycki said. “My parents and my friends are always like, oh yeah, you step foot onto campus and you're like, this is it, and you fall in love with the campus. We can’t get that now.”
Brzycki said she will probably go to IU, but she will likely wonder about what her other options may have been since she never visited any schools.
“IU is a very beautiful place and it's an extremely nice school and you get a great education,” Brzycki said. “Maybe, if I would have been able to travel somewhere else, I could have had that this is my home type of feeling and now I’ll never know.”
Brzycki said she wishes IU had small socially-distanced campus tours. She said some schools offered virtual one-on-one information sessions and this might be more helpful for prospective IU students.
IU senior Mark Ferrino said his college tour heavily influenced his decision to commit to IU. He said he recommends current students help out prospective students by showing them around campus and answering their questions so making their college decision can become easier.
When Ferrino saw students and parents walking around campus last semester he said he made a point to ask them if they had any questions about the campus or university.
“I just brought them around on a tour, like literally just around campus, just to show them what's going on,” Ferrino said. “And I think there's a clear need for that, just take a risk and, like, just put yourself out there, so the people who want to come to college can see it's still a community here.”