College. You’ve planned for it your entire academic life. What you could never have planned for was a global pandemic getting in the way of the college dreams you had – like leaving home and living in a dorm with other students from around the world. With college campuses still closed, that may not be able to happen right now. But it doesn’t mean you have to throw your college dreams out the window. In fact, there are some great ways you can virtually plan for college now to improve your college experience when you’re finally able to get on campus. You can –
- Take virtual tours. Between community colleges, online colleges, and public and private schools, you sure have a lot of college options. In the pre-pandemic past, students relied on college tours to help them choose the right school. But, with many campuses still closed, that may not be possible. Many colleges do, however, offer online virtual tours, which allow you to view campuses. You’ll be able to see campus facilities, classrooms, and student life – without even leaving home or having to comb your hair. To find virtual tours, visit college websites or sites like youvisit.com.
- Connect with college admissions officers. Campuses may be closed, but admissions staff are available. You can arrange a virtual meeting to have your questions answered about the school. You can also arrange to meet with the school’s financial aid officer to learn more about what financial aid may be available to you.
- Make social media connections. Wondering what life on campus is really like? Who better to answer that question than students who attend the college? Check out the social media sites for schools you’re interested in to ask questions and to connect with other students.
- Look at online programs. With uncertainty about many campuses being open in the fall, you may have to begin the year learning virtually at home. So, you’ll want to make sure your college offers a good online learning program. Read reviews about online programs and ask students about their experiences. Also make sure you’re ready to learn online by having a reliable computer or tablet and a quiet space in your home to work.
- Open a student account. When you eventually do get on campus, you’ll need to be able to manage your money on your own. Accounts like Avidia@School make banking easy and affordable. You can manage your money online from your smartphone and earn points for the money you spend with your debit card. Plus, it has no fees, which is great for a college budget.
- Build an emergency fund. When you’re in college, you never know what unexpected expenses may come up. Having an emergency fund will have you prepared for them. Put aside a little money each paycheck toward your emergency fund and keep it in a separate savings account.
Keep the college dream alive
Remember, nothing, not even COVID-19, lasts forever. Taking these virtual steps now will ensure you’re ready for when COVID-19 is gone and your dreams for “real” college life can begin!