Visiting Colleges During a Pandemic

Erin McCann

Having spent time pre-pandemic and during the pandemic researching and visiting colleges, I can say first hand it is quite a difference. While we can all certainly agree that we have had to adjust every aspect of our lives, the same goes for colleges and universities. Less than a year ago, I was visiting colleges with my parents as were so many other students my age. It was exciting; visiting dorms, walking on campus, and seeing first hand what college life was like. Then, everything quickly changed. Many students had to adjust by attending virtual open houses and tours, rather than seeing these schools in person. I viewed many YouTube videos of different schools to see if I wanted to take the chance and visit in person. Having an older brother who went back to school in August, I knew college life looked very different this year. My brother shared that the dining hall was takeout only, no visitors allowed in dorm rooms, and the few classes that were in person had to be socially distanced while wearing masks. Knowing this, I had to do extensive research before committing to visit a school in person. 

Photo Courtesy of Erin McCann

This past September, my parents and I took the trip to Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. We were the only family on the tour, and we had to wear masks and social distance the whole time. The school went virtual after the first two weeks of being back for the fall semester, so there were no students on campus. This was quite a different experience than when I visited schools pre-COVID. There was almost no activity on the campus: sports were non-existent, students could not gather on quads or eat together, and it overall looked like a ghost town. Part of me found this very sad, but I realized the pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives, but we all have to continue to go with the flow. Colleges have adjusted very quickly to the new norm, and I was glad I at least got to see one school in person, even if it was a little different. The college process can be quite stressful on top of living through a pandemic, but the college search can definitely still be done!