I can still remember the moment I stepped foot onto James Madison University’s campus – happy students socializing and studying in picturesque settings, the bluestone buildings along the quad, the sun shining against the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. I knew in that moment that James Madison University was where I wanted to spend the next four years. That was more than ten years ago, and I still can’t get enough of the Blue Ridge skyline.
While the campus visit is a vital part of the university search process, many students today, particularly international students, are not able to simply hop in the car for a weekend visit. With strong academic programs across the globe the campus visit has shifted from campus to our computer. Online search engines and guidebooks are bursting with information, but oftentimes these outlets can be overwhelming.
University rankings are exciting, but do not always share the full story of everything a school has to offer. If you are suffering from cyberspace overload here are some tips to avoid crashing.
Beyond the Basics:
Kick off your search with standard sites like the university homepage that links to information for prospective students and admissions requirements. These are central starting points that often include quick facts, online tours and links to academic programs. But don’t stop there. Consider a few outlets beyond these basics to get an insider’s guide on what to expect on campus. Browsing the digital copy of a student newspaper, clicking through the calendar of events, and navigating to an area visitor’s guide website will paint a better picture of life on and off campus. Use the search box typically found at the top of each homepage as a helpful tool for finding specific information.
Save Your Search:
There is so much information available it is easy to get lost clicking away from one link to the next. You may find yourself questioning where you found a virtual tour, a layout of a residence hall, the university that had the exact academic program you had been seeking, etc. Keep these links as you find them in one easy to access document with a short description of each link and the name of the university so that you can refer to it later.
Pictures, videos, and virtual tours are essential to helping you get a better feel for campus. In addition to popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, here are a few other websites to keep on your radar.