College vloggers offer great alternative for in-person college visits

March 11, 2021 — by Neeti Badve

Watching students’ daily lives can help seniors understand if the college is a good fit for them.

The traditional order of the college application process is to apply, hear results, visit and decide, yet for the second year in a row, seniors cannot take campus tours or even safely fly to the school they potentially commit to. 

Colleges have adapted to this by offering virtual tours and admissions sessions, trying to replace that integral part of the decision process in any way they can. Unfortunately, these methods still don’t give students that feeling they’re supposed to have when they find the campus that is “the one.” 

It’s hard to visualize the community, walks from dorms to dining halls and overall surroundings from virtual tours. That’s why I have resorted to watching student YouTube vloggers. 

Being able to watch “Day in a Life” videos or “Pros and Cons” assessments from college students really helps me get a sense of what my time at that college could be like. I find myself trying to visualize myself in the same situations as them, on the same walks to lectures or going to the same gym, all of which would be part of my daily routine at that college. 

Not only do these students take their viewers along to their classes or show them their homework routine, but they also end up showing areas beyond the campus, like what their favorite ice cream shop is or where the best grocery store is.

Beyond watching the students’ everyday lives, I find it really beneficial to search for videos that provide further insight into what your regular experiences at that college would be like, be that watching a student sign up for classes or listening to them discuss the pros and cons of all the dorms and dining halls. 

While websites like Niche and Reddit are great resources that do present student opinions, they are lacking that visual aspect. I also personally find it harder to find negative reviews on Niche, and many ranked aspects seem biased toward the schools. It is also harder to compare colleges with the same Niche “grades” because it makes two completely different institutions seem much more equal than they actually are. 

These websites are great for a general overview, but it’s hard to truly understand a college based on one- or two-sentence comments. 

While there is no real replacement for walking onto a campus and being able to tour it, picturing yourself living the lives of students already at the school is a great place to start seeing if it’s the right fit for you.

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