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How to Plan a Virtual Business School Campus Visit

virtual business school tour admissions advice

Choosing the right business school for you can be a difficult process. There are so many institutions to choose from across the globe, with numerous graduate school programs at your disposal.

One of the most effective ways to make your decision is by visiting business school campuses.

Today, on-site campus visits aren’t going ahead, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a feel for the school virtually.

A number of business schools have moved campus visits into the virtual realm to give prospective students the opportunity to find out a little more about the campus, the people, students, facilities and more.

With this in mind, TopMBA has narrowed down a few tips to help you plan a virtual business school campus visit. Let’s take a look.

Explore different virtual tour platforms

Business schools are offering a mix of virtual opportunities for prospective students.

Whether it’s a virtual campus tour (The Wharton School was one of the first schools to jump on this), or one-on-one Zoom meetings with professors, financial aid officers, current students, and even alumni.

Understandably you’ll feel disappointed that you can’t visit campus to get a true feel for the place, but schools are trying their hardest to provide you with as much information as possible.

Prepare as though you’ll be there in person

Just because you won’t physically be on the tour, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare.

Research the schools you’re interested in and write down questions ahead of time. Know what you want to get from the virtual tour before it starts and take detailed notes to help you differentiate the schools later.

Check for virtual admissions events

Many college admissions offices have moved their information sessions for prospective students online, enabling students to ask questions via Zoom in real time.

Look on your school’s admissions website for live events, Q&A sessions and Zoom appointments, and be sure to sign up or schedule in advance if necessary.

Take notes for later

During an in-person tour, you’d be able to stop and ask questions on the way, but pre-recorded virtual tours might not have all the details you’re looking for.

Write down some questions to research later or ask at a virtual information session.

Virtual tours might not follow a logical walking route (especially for bigger campuses), so have the campus map or Google Maps open to help you out.

Narrow your focus

There is so much information to digest it can feel a little overwhelming. Focus on programs, places, or opportunities that matter to you as you narrow down your search.

The beauty of a virtual tour is you can skip around the map to the points of interest that you want to learn about.

Proactively reach out to students, faculty, alumni, and admissions representatives with questions during or after the tour. The school will give you all the contacts you need.

Use social media

Search Instagram from both official (college-led) and unofficial (student-led) accounts for your business school of choice.

Utilizing social media will give you a glimpse of what campus life is like, and hey, it’s never too early to start networking is it?

Explore the surrounding area

It’s important to get to know the surrounding city or town of your chosen business school – no virtual tour can replicate that experience.

This is where Google Maps will be your new best friend. View the bars, restaurants, and attractions around campus, and you could even switch to Street View for a virtual tour of the neighborhoods.

Benefits of virtual tours

Of course, virtual tours can’t replace some benefits associated with in-person campus visits, but there are several advantages you can enjoy:

  • They are more affordable as you won’t need to travel. In fact, if your partner or kids will be moving with you to a new location for the graduate program, you could sit down and watch the virtual tour together and have all your questions addressed
  • Educators can ensure all FAQs are built into the virtual tour (e.g., deadlines, important numbers, program information, scholarship information) and these FAQs can be accessed time and again by students over a number of visits if need be
  • In-person tours have to be held on specific days according to calendar availability at the school, but with virtual tours, international students can visit any business school any day of the year
  • On a virtual campus tour you can return multiple times to campus for free and you’ll get a better sense of how large the campus is and what the classrooms, lecture halls, labs, and other important facilities (including the fitness center, library, and study areas) are like

While you may have concerns that the shift of everything online is going to pump the brakes on the recruiting process, that’s actually far from the truth. Now…let’s find your business school, shall we?

Niamh Ollerton, Deputy Head of Content at QS
Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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