Students can visit graduate schools virtually

Graduate school is on the horizon for some students, but the current COVID-19 pandemic may make the path uncertain.

College visits are a great way to see if a school is a good fit for a student. The size of the school, location, types of classes offered, social scene and many other factors can affect the overall experience. With many schools not allowing visits in person, it can be hard to figure out how to choose the right one. Virtual visits are now available to help potential students get a better idea of what a college or university is like, even if it is not in person.

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The University of California Los Angeles, or UCLA, offers virtual visit tours. The UCLA Virtual Tour is a narrated tour online that is led by the viewer. The tour starts at a welcome center and then an interactive map is available during the entire tour that the viewer can click on and choose what to go more in detail about. There are also videos and 360 pictures for all featured areas. The UCLA Virtual Tour is a general tour of the UCLA campus and university housing. Tours for specific graduate programs are also available, from Aerospace engineering, law, theater and everything in between.

UCLA uses the platform You Visit to host virtual tours at the convenience of the prospective student. You Visit provides online tours to over 600 colleges and universities for free. Students can tailor their tour experience to search for colleges based on size, tuition, location and various other options. The tours can also be accessed at any time, stopped and also resumed at the convenience of the prospective student as well.

Campus Tours is another online platform that allows students to visit colleges and universities from their computers or mobile devices. They offer virtual tours at locations all over the U.S., as well as the United Kingdom, France, China and Canada. When universities and colleges are open in person, they offer self-guided walking tours as well.

Most campuses are closed at this time and not all know what the fall of 2020 or beyond will look like as far as in-person attendance is concerned. There is always the option for graduate school to be done entirely online. Universities of all kinds offer programs, like state schools, private colleges and even Ivy League schools.

The University of Pennsylvania or Penn offers Master’s degree programs and specializations entirely online. The Online Learning Initiative began in 2012 at Penn and focused on making college education and beyond available to students on a global scale. Classes are meant to be integrative and make an online learning community engaging, with lecture videos and constant communication between professors and students.

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The State University of New York or SUNY offers over 500 degrees, including graduate school online. They have a clear interface that is easy to navigate and organized by program section. SUNY operates with 64 institutions underneath it. This includes 29 state-operated campuses, which include research universities, liberal arts colleges, specialized and technical colleges, health science centers, land-grant colleges and beyond, creating a specialized experience for specific programs.

The Chronicle of Higher Education is currently tracking over 830 colleges in the U.S. and their plans to have in-person classes beginning in the fall of 2020. They have a current list with links and data available for re-opening plans. The list is updated regularly.