Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

College tours canceled? High school students can tour NC's colleges virtually

Posted March 17, 2020 8:07 p.m. EDT
Updated March 25, 2020 1:16 p.m. EDT

For college bound students, especially juniors who are getting serious about their next steps, the coronavirus pandemic has added another layer of anxiety to their search. Colleges are closed to tours. Standardized tests have been canceled or rescheduled. And students have no idea when they'll get back to school to finish out the year.

But the University of North Carolina System has a unique way to explore 16 public universities, including UNC-Chapel Hill, Appalachian State, N.C. State and East Carolina — virtually. You can take a 360-degree tour of each of the universities on your desktop, laptop or phone. Or you can download the GEAR UP NC VR app, which is free to use in the Apple and Google stores, to experience them on your VR headset.

“You can actually tour the space, basically walking through the space itself if you wanted to,” said Angela Brockelsby, associate vice provost of admissions at NC State.

Prospective students can watch an information session live and ask questions during a Q-and-A session, Brockelsby said.

With about 30,000 students applying to NC State each year, Director of Admissions Jon Westover said taking tours online was a no-brainer, especially as people are encouraged to stay away from groups of people.

“The virtual tour is amazing, but it was many months in the creation,” Westover said. “We kind of lucked out and got it up and running just in time to be able to offer it to students.”

Just head over to the system's Virtual Reality Campus tours website to take a look.

Thanks to the College Foundation of North Carolina for sharing this resource with me. Now that school is out and sports and clubs are canceled, now might be the time to explore other college details too.

CFNC's website has more information about majors, college, financial aid and scholarships. The group also recommends the Financial Basics online course, which teaches students practical money handling skills, including setting up a monthly budget, how credit works, and how borrowing works to pay for college. Plus, they can enter to earn a $500 scholarship when they complete the course.