How to craft a perfect USA University List (without visiting the campuses)!
2020 has been one of the most challenging academic (and not only) years. The Covid-19 pandemic has paused many activities and students are the ones who lost many chances for summer schools, university exploration, and campus visits. The lack of physical presence and attendance of campus tours has created therefore a confusion to the university applicant when it came to deciding which universities they should apply to and which universities would be a good fit for the academic, personal, and professional skills.
Yet there are plenty of ways to craft a perfect university list that will be balanced and satisfactory to the students’ desires without actually visiting the campus.
First stop of your research should be the city/town that the university is located. What is the weather like, how many people live, how far is from major cities, what is the campus like? Some students prefer the freedom and chaotic energy of New York University which has as its campus the whole city with building spread around Manhattan and others seek the peacefulness and seclusion of a campus, whether this campus would be within a major city like Columbia University in NY and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee or in the country side like Williams College in Williamstown(!), Massachusetts or Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Students should google all the information about the university’s location, extracurricular activities nearby, major cities, and weather. The universities they will choose will be their home-away-from home for four years at least so the environment must adhere to the student’s requirements.
So tick of your list weather and population (both of the university and the city)!
Second stop is to actually experience Universities through the eyes of their students. To that end there is no better source than YouTube(!). There are thousands of videos made by students for students that depict realistically the university life. So without any further ado type One day in the life of a Harvard, Yale, Columbia, MIT, Stanford … student and watch what it really means to be a student in the universities of your choice. CLC also prepares a series –soon online via the CLC Engage YouTube Channel- to know the universities through our own students’ interviews.
Except for YouTube, https://www.campusreel.org/ is an online database that contains virtual students of campuses made also by students!
Third stop is the virtual tour universities offer online. These tours give a detailed presentation of the University’s campus and facilities so they will give the student a good idea about what to expect from Campus life. There is a wonderful spread sheet that contains the links to most Universities’ online virtual tours. So dig in an explore the universities in depth through:
Another good suggestion is to research the specific programs the student wants to major in by the universities’ sites. Websites contain curriculums, courses’ descriptions, professors, clubs, sororities, research and internship potentials, and thousands of information about their programs. So note down the pros and cons of each program in different universities by navigating their sites and narrow down the university list to the ones that appeal and cater to your needs the most.
Keep researching until you’re in love with 10-12 colleges. And have fun with it.