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How to Save Money (and Avoid Blisters) on Campus Tours

Let’s cut to the chase: Fifteen years of educational consulting has taught me that campus tours are not only the most effective way to help teens get excited about the college application process, but also they are the most illustrative view into the nuances of each school. (And, of note, they also help students to write standout college essays in the future.)

But let’s face it. Sometimes campus visits just aren’t financially feasible, and—more often than not—even when they are, there are more campuses to see than time to get there.

Fortunately, in the wake of COVID-19, what used to amount to a relatively lackluster collection of virtual tour offerings has burgeoned into a body of truly useful tools for teens and their families.

As students, particularly juniors, research potential colleges, including virtual tours in that process is a critical step to determine which might be a fit, or simply to help decide which campuses will subsequently warrant a visit in person.

But where do you start, and which resources are worth your time?

Today, I’m sharing 3 of my favorite virtual campus visit tools:

  • offers a database of thousands of tours and videos for hundreds of colleges. The videos are well produced, and the website is easy to navigate. Find your match and track your favorites with tools to save the standouts to your list.

  • goes beyond traditional virtual tours to give you over 15,000 videos in which you can hear real students' perspectives on things like off-campus life and who thrives on their campus. Take a virtual bike tour, go on a virtual hike, and so much more through its shorts that make each campus and its surrounding area come alive. Explore other tools like a GPA calculator as well.

  • On, you can search up a plethora of maps and tours for a wide variety of colleges. You can also find links to schools' YouTube channels, where you'll find curated video content to give you an even better idea of what you'll encounter on each campus.

Bonus? No blisters. Now go explore!


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