College-bound students, college tours, and the coronavirus
Updated: Mar 12, 2020
March 10th, 2020
Spring break is just around the corner and most seniors as well as a good number of juniors have plans to visit a few, perfectly selected colleges. But within just a couple of weeks (or is it just days?), the coronavirus upended most of our plans. Before families could get a grasp on the gravity of the situation, colleges started canceling classes and shutting down campuses starting this week.
On March 6th, University of Washington was the first college of its size to move to online classes for its 50,000 students. Since then, many colleges have followed in their footsteps. While some universities have not canceled college tours yet, many institutions have in an abundance of caution.
So what's a senior to do? If you were planning to visit colleges after you were accepted to them, then you might have to face the fact that you might not be able to do a proper college tour before May 1st. Universities like Brown, Cornell, Princeton, MIT, Amherst, CalTech, and U Penn have canceled official tours; others, like Stanford, Santa Clara University, Harvard, and Pomona College have canceled both tours and all admitted students events as well.
At this point, you may want to wait and see if you can go and visit the campus unofficially, but be ready for daily changes to their decisions of letting visitors on their campus. If you've already booked a tour between now and April 15th, you can expect direct communication from the admission office or visitor center.
Colleges and universities understand the frustration that seniors are feeling. It's new territory for them as well and they're doing the best they can to keep their current students safe and healthy. Believe me when I say they want you to visit their campus. They will try to open their doors as soon as possible.
If you're a junior and had grand plans to hit California colleges along with a few trips to the beach this spring, you can still probably do that later in the summer. Since we really don't know how the coronavirus
is going to play out, the best we can do is postpone our trips to the end of summer. The best news for juniors is that they still have at least six months before applications are sent in and so there will be ample time to visit schools between now and Christmas.
Maybe this is a good time for juniors to really hone in on their college lists and figure out which schools are worth traveling to. While the Northwest, California, and the Northeast are starting to feel the effects of the coronavirus, there are a plethora of amazing schools in the South and Midwest.
March 11th, 2020
It's been a mere 18 hours since this post was published and the list of school closures keeps getting longer. Colleges from Minnesota to Texas have sent out information regarding spring break and online classes. Here's a link to a google spreadsheet that a professor at Georgetown University created to keep all the information and data in one place.