MSD students decide their future in new ways

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Senior Lexie Sealy is on her way to spend the next four years of her life at the University of Florida. Photo provided by Lexie Sealy.

Delaney Walker

Students graduating at the end of the 2020-2021 school year across the nation are making a huge decision determining the course of their next four years without any in-person experience. Typically students will take college tours during the college application process; however, this year due to COVID-19, most colleges are not providing in-person tours.

Every year, students hear stories about their graduated friends’ experiences; however, this tactic is especially useful this year. Due to students being unable to attend in-person tours and ask questions, their peers are one of the very few sources. They are asking in-depth questions such as how they enjoy specific classes, sometimes even more insightful questions than those they would ask a random student while touring.

“Since I am unable to go on college tours, I have based all of my decisions off of other people’s experiences with the schools,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior Haleigh Grose said. “I have also tuned into virtual tours.” 

In place of in-person tours, some colleges are providing virtual tours, including Georgetown University, in Washington, D.C., and the University of South Florida, in Tampa, Florida on a site called YouVisit. This process requires the viewer to fill out a few simple questions in order to gain access to the tour. These virtual tours are available at any time, unlike in-person tours where you have to schedule a day. 

Along with tours, some colleges are having meetings on the platform Zoom, where students can discuss different aspects of their experience at the school, allowing applicants to ask them questions. 

In lieu of tours, many colleges, including UCLA, have an array of videos on YouTube and articles providing references and details about their schools. Some include student and staff interviews, photos or even videos of different areas. 

“Since I wasn’t able to tour many colleges I applied to, I used MSD alumni who currently go to those schools as a source of information from a student perspective”, senior Lexie Sealy said. “Many schools also offered online tours and have many articles on their websites about programs and incentives offered.” 

Although not every college is providing in-person tours, some colleges are. Sealy was able to tour about half of her prospective colleges, including the University of Florida, in Gainesville, Florida, where she recently committed to. She plans on working towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Business Administration. Her entire mindset changed after her tour of UF.

“After seeing [UF], I got this homey and welcoming feeling, and I knew it was where I wanted to spend the next four years,” Sealy said. “All the schools I toured were beautiful, but something about [UF] felt right.” 

Not every school is providing this same opportunity, so students are using all of their available resources in order to decide where they will be spending the following four years if they so chose to spend them in a college or university.