Whether you’re in first grade or eleventh grade, or doing a gap year, it’s never too early to start touring colleges. Okay, maybe first grade is a little too early, but now that touring universities is so easy, you may want to get a head start on looking at colleges.
Getting acquainted with a university campus can also be helpful if you’re returning for an alumni event or headed for a conference at a university. Touring universities can be expensive and time consuming. You may think that Urban City University is the perfect fit, then arrive there and find it’s not nearly as becoming as the school’s website portrays. Or you may think you want the peace and quiet of Boondocks College, but then discover during your visit that it neighbors the local sewage treatment plant and the state’s maximum security prison.
In the olden days, you could only discover these tidbits of knowledge from a campus tour, traveling miles and spending money only to find that your ideal fit on paper didn’t live up to your expectations in person. Now tech is here to help you tour campuses from the comfort of your computer!
Google Earth Campus Tours
Google has been busy getting Google Street View images of universities around the world to give you a virtual campus tour from the comfort of your home. Google has campus tours for universities in over a dozen different countries.
Google Street View University Partners is a list of universities that have allowed Google Street View cameras on their campuses around the world.
Hint: If you’re looking at universities in Japan, you really need to check this out.
Here’s a video of the how Google captured the Street View images at Dartmouth College:
You can even open a split screen view of the campus so you can see both the Street View and an aerial view at the same time to get your bearings.
For example, check out the Street View tour of San Diego State University in California.
To get started, go to maps.google.com and type in the name of the university you want to tour, along with the name of the town.
Click on Satellite View in the upper right corner of the map and you’ll be shown an aerial view of the campus. Find the yellow silhouette icon in the upper left corner of the map and try to drag him onto the campus.
If the university has Street View enabled, you’ll see blue lines showing the routes where Street View is available. If Street View is unavailable, you won’t be able to drop the yellow icon onto the map in that location.
You can view photos showing the insides of buildings, exhibits, and other places of interest on campus. Take the campus tour of Boston University in Massachusetts or Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Quad2Quad – College Tour Guru
If you’re planning actual, real life tours, as opposed to virtual tours, check out Quad2Quad, an app that will help make the travel to universities much easier. This app gives you handy, essential information about visiting universities and can even help you plan your trip.
Here’s a video showing how it works:
You can add one or multiple universities to a trip and the app will guide you with itineraries and directions. The app tells you how to get to each campus, where to park, how to get to the Admissions office, and even where to go for lunch. This is one of these apps where the developers seem to have thought of everything. The app even tells you whether you need to bring coins for the parking meters!
The schools covered are only in the US, but cover areas across the country. You can download the app for free and see which schools are in the paid upgrade.
Quad2Quad is free in the iTunes App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The app comes with information about 85 universities.
College applications used to mean the pieces of paper you filled out to apply to a school. Now, college apps take on a whole new meaning. College apps can also help you with the college tour process.
If you’re considering a school, do an Internet search or visit the university’s website to see if an app is available to help with the admissions process.
While virtual tours can’t replace actual tours, they can at least give you an idea of what to expect before you visit a university and perhaps help you narrow down your list of places to visit. Save time and money by letting tech be your college tour guide!