Visiting colleges as a prospective student - with parents in tow - is considered to be a rite of passage for some, but for others, the time - and the money - required by these trips is becoming prohibitive.
Eliana Dockterman, a Time reporter, notes that her own college visit tour was not just "a symbolic ritual" but instead provided her with some helpful information as she planned out her collegiate future. Hearing the different students' first-hand accounts helped her to make decisions about her own applications, and in this way, the visits were incredibly valuable.
However, thanks to Google, this next generation of students may be able to gain access to this insider knowledge without having to actually set foot on so many different campuses. Using Google + Hangouts On Air, schools can interact with prospective students via video chat. These students can then ask questions, and learn about the school without the travel expenses.
We here at The Princeton Review participated in a series of "Ask Admissions" video discussions using the Google + Hangouts on Air where we were able to directly interact with students who had specific questions about the college admissions process in a way that felt more personal, and more efficient than a large lecture hall. Plus, for the students who were not able to tune in to the Hangout live, we were also able to post the videos of the chats to our various social media platforms so they could watch later.
Even if you’re still feeling that some campus visits are mandatory, you could always check out a Google + Hangout before or after to learn even more about the school.