Researching Colleges: COVID-19 Edition

Featured Stories

Filter By Categories

The higher education landscape is changing, fast. There are stories every day of how colleges are responding differently to new circumstances in light of coronavirus. And the truth is, it’s still unclear how everything will end up. You may find yourself wondering how to research and evaluate the colleges on your list during a time like this.

 

Here are some of the steps you can take to help make your college decision.



Take a virtual tour

It’s hard to replace the feeling of stepping onto a campus and knowing it’s where you want to be. Thankfully, many colleges are hosting virtual campus tours, which can help give you that sense for the campus environment. You can view a list of colleges offering virtual tours here.

 

Talk to current students

Another great way to learn more about what it’s like to be a student at a particular college is by talking to an existing one! Chances are that they are home right now and willing to talk to you about their first-hand experience. Check out our blog post on this topic to learn more about the benefits of talking to a current student.

 

Research the academic quality

An important factor in getting the most out of your college investment is your eventual earnings outcomes. This is, in part, influenced by the academic quality of the institution you attend. So, it’s important to do your research before committing to a school - and not just because of the earnings impact. If you have a particular field or major in mind, you should explore the school’s website for information about that academic department. You should also feel free to reach out to faculty directly. In this post, Lynn O’Shaughnessy has a list of questions you can ask to better qualify the school’s academics.

 

Evaluate career services

During the college comparison process, take a look at the school’s career services offerings. When it comes to college and career satisfaction, your interactions with career services may turn out to be as important as your choice of major and/or your financial aid award. We talk about how to evaluate the career services and academic advisors at the schools on your list here.

Consider financial health

There are new and urgent questions to consider on colleges’ financial health now, given the impacts of COVID-19 on higher education. If a college closes or has financial difficulties while you are enrolled, it can have significantly negative consequences. There is no one indicator of whether a college or university is going to have financial challenges, but we dive deeper into what you can be looking at to get a sense of a college’s financial health here.

 

Meet with campus offices, virtually

Even if you can’t go to colleges in person, it doesn’t mean you should forego talking to key campus offices! From the financial aid office to the residential office, the more information you have the better prepared you will be to make your college decision. Reach out and schedule virtual meetings, or give them a call, to ask these important questions.



Many things may change as the coronavirus situation continues to unfold. As you do your college research, our advice is to keep your options open for as long as you can. Closely monitor the news for the colleges on your list in addition to the above steps. Many have pushed back their decision deadlines to June 1, and others may grant an extension if you need it.

Edmit's advice helps you to be better off after graduation.

Merit and financial aid estimates based on your student profile

Earnings estimates and financial scores for your college and major

Recommendations to save thousands on college

I'm ready

Sign up for updates

Popular Tags

Financial Aid and Scholarships* Cost of College* paying for college financial aid FAFSA Student Loans* grants and scholarships Saving for College* federal student loans college tuition 529 plan cost of attendance expected family contribution college financial planning financial aid award private student loans Salary and Career* taxes college savings plan room and board on-campus housing merit scholarships budgeting for college college expenses federal financial aid merit-based financial aid private universities public universities edmit hidden gems parent PLUS loan college costs edmit team college applications living expenses CSS profile education expenses financial need income application fees financial aid appeal off-campus housing career loan forgiveness affordable college choosing a college choosing a major college majors loan repayment repayment plans student loan assistance work-study application fee waivers coronavirus degree programs edmit scholarship institutional aid net price student loan debt SAT college search college visits in-state tuition prepaid tuition plans private scholarships ACT budget free tuition international students internships need-based financial aid need-blind colleges qualified higher education expenses retirement savings southern colleges standardized testing tuition discount tuition guarantee tuition payment plans 401k UGMA UTMA applying to college college financial health college ranking systems college spending college transfers credit score discretionary income distance learning education savings accounts fees financial literacy full ride scholarship gap year grants health insurance options investment ivy league schools liberal arts degree meal plans midwestern colleges need-aware colleges out-of-state tuition saving school-based scholarships state aid tuition increases western colleges 568 presidents group Inversant MEFA asset protection allowance best price campus life college advisor college credits college deposit college viability community college concurrent enrollment cost by region cost by state crowdfunding dorms early decision educational expenses esports fee waivers financial wellness for-profit universities fraternities and sororities full tuition graduate school home equity loan income share agreements line of credit lists medical expenses medical school military benefits net price calculators new england colleges non-profit universities online tuition out-of-state students percent need met private college consultant small business state schools student bank accounts student organizations subsidized loans title IV schools travel expenses tuition decreases tuition insurance tuition reciprocity undocumented students unsubsidized loans