Save Money with College Visits From Your Couch

Don't have the time, energy and money to make a whirlwind cross-country college tour? No problem. Stay at home and 'visit' your chosen schools with your computer.

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By Sarah Wright

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How To Sit on Your Couch and Get In-Depth Information About Colleges

Thanks to the Internet, getting up-close and personal with a dream school is no longer reserved for locals and those who can afford a plane ticket. If you're having trouble deciding where you want to apply, or are just interested in getting a better idea of what college might be like, any and all of these online resources can help you get amazingly in-depth information without ever setting foot on campus.

CollegeWeekLive

College fairs are a great way of getting information about multiple colleges at the same time, but they're not for everyone. If you live in a remote area that isn't commonly served by college fairs, or simply don't like the idea of fighting for limited resources at a crowded event, CollegeWeekLive might be the solution you're looking for. CollegeWeekLive hosts live online college fairs, information sessions and virtual open houses. Each fair hosts virtual booths from over 200 colleges, allowing students to chat with staff and student representatives from the schools. Participants can also watch presentations and chat with admissions and financial aid experts.

There are a few events each month, and they may have themes like Military Student Day and Faith-Based College Day. They might also focus on specific schools, like the University of Alaska system, or states, like Texas. The events run on EST hours, but typically last long enough for West Coasters to get the information they need. Archived information from the events may also be available after the live portion is completed. A good variety of schools participate in CollegeWeekLive, so you may want to check it out and see if any of your favorite schools have events coming up.

Virtual Campus Tours

Virtual campus tours are one of the more convenient aspects of doing your college fact-finding from home. Though some schools have prominently featured tours on their own websites, sites like eCampusTours and CampusTours provide a one-stop location for virtual tours of multiple campuses. Pictures and video can't give you a real physical sense of place, of course, but they can give you an idea of what amenities there are on campus.

One advantage a virtual tour has over an in-person tour is that it's easy to revisit. That way, if you wanted to double-check on one school's library facilities, it'd be easy to just hop back on the campus tour and find the answer to your questions. Virtual tours can also supplement an in-person tour in case there was something you missed during your visit.

Other Online Resources

If the schools you're interested in aren't participating in CollegeWeekLive events, and don't offer virtual campus tours, there are other ways to use the Internet to get a feel for the school without leaving your home. One resource you can use is a professor or course ranking site. These sites can help you get a read on how much students at a given school like their professors. School websites are also a great source of information. Some sites are better designed than others, and it might take a little digging, but looking at a college's website can help you figure out what cool stuff there is to do and see on and around campus.

Another thing you can consider from the comfort of your own home is whether or not college is the right choice for you.

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