Seniors choose colleges without touring them

Two members of the Class of ’21 relate their experiences


Photo submitted

Senior Brooke Benkie took this photo of the Hanover campus during her college visit there. Benkie was able to tour only Hanover and Purdue in person.

Addison Bakemeyer, Reporter

Touring campuses helps applicants decide where they will go to college, but this year has been different for the Class of ‘21 due to Covid-19.

One senior, Brooke Benkie, was able to tour two of the colleges she was planning to attend in person, but for several others, she had to look at virtually. Benkie said, “I was actually able to tour Purdue and Hanover. There have been some other colleges I haven’t been able to tour, and I have had to look at them virtually instead, which has made the process more difficult for me.”

Touring a college campus is a big part of choosing where you are going to further your education. Mrs. Beth Brandes, college and school counselor, said, “You would hate for students to go somewhere without getting a feel for the (college).”

Senior Nate Hillenburg noted a disadvantage going to a college in New York. Hillenburg said, “I was unable to get a feel for the campus in person, and I was unable to determine if I could see myself there for four years at Cornell University.”

Covid still on the rise may cause a few concerns next fall. Hillenburg and Benkie said they both felt comfortable attending college in person next August. Hillenburg said, “I felt wanted by the (football) coaching staff and players at Cornell, so that was an automatic done deal from the beginning.”

Applying for college may be challenging enough without the additional obstacles as a result of Covid-19.

Brandes said the college application process has changed. She said, “(Some seniors) haven’t been able to take SATs or ACTs, and they couldn’t visit college campuses out of state.”

Benkie said, “My common application process overall went well, and I was able to meet with my counselor and she helped me out a lot with the process.”

Even though virtual tours may not be the ideal way to get a feel for a college campus, it still gives students an opportunity to see the campus they will spend the next few years of their lives. Hillenburg said, “It has been difficult, but I am glad that I was able to see the campus at Cornell University.”

With virtual tours, you aren’t able to experience in person all of the places on the college campus. “(Virtual tours) are not really the same, because it’s way different from getting yourself there or seeing yourself there,” Brandes said.

Hillenburg and Benkie are moving onto the next chapter of their lives and they have advice for the juniors. Hillenburg said, “Please go visit the colleges or universities in person that you are applying to before you commit four years of your life there.”

Benkie said, “Do research and start the common application process. Start the essay as well, and start researching and looking at colleges. It’s better to have a head start than cram (at the last minute).”

Brandes provided a counselor’s perspective when she said, “Be proactive and don’t procrastinate and wait for counselors or parents to tell you when to do the next step. Reach out and research what you are looking for.”