Visiting Colleges During Covid

by Devon Goldstein ‘21

As seniors in high school are beginning to make their final decisions as to where they will commit to college, many of them are going to decide without having seen any of the campuses in person. Although this has put the seniors at a disadvantage from those in the past, they have found ways to work around it and take back the experiences they are missing. This spring break I traveled with my family and visited three different college campuses that I was considering going to in the fall: Indiana University (IU), the University of Florida (UF), and the University of Maryland (UMD). 

At the start of spring break my family had a 6 a.m. flight to Indianapolis with a layover in Chicago. We flew on two different airlines throughout the entirety of the trip: American Airlines and Southwest. Within each airline, the flight attendants make sure everyone is wearing their masks over their mouth and nose throughout the entirety of the flight. If people refuse to do so multiple times, they could get fined a large amount. If someone were to eat or drink during the flight, they must pull down their masks to take a bite or sip and pull it back right after for minimal exposure. 

At the beginning of the pandemic the different airlines were not filling up their plane seats, but that has changed in the last year. After no Covid-19 cases came from the different airlines, they now have the ability to completely fill up the plane seats as they would in normal circumstances. Out of the four flights I took throughout my trip, three of them had full capacity 

While the practices on the planes were pretty standard, the college campuses all had different ways that they are handling the pandemic. At IU the students get tested for Covid-19 two times a week. While walking on and around the campus students do not wear their masks unless they are entering a building. Meanwhile at the UF and the UMD, even though students are regularly tested, masks must be worn at all times when walking on and off campus. 

Overall the college visiting experience was as close to normal as it could be. At UF they had guided tours available, but the spots filled up too quickly for me to be able to get a spot. With standard campus tours not always being offered to the prospective students, a self-guided tour was the best way to see the important spots around campus. At all of the schools there were maps available to use as you walk around campus in order to see the best and most popular spots. I had some people I know at each of the schools walk me around in order to get the best perspective of student life in the different places. 

Although the college decision process was adjusted and slightly more difficult for those in the 2021 graduating class, getting to walk around the different campuses gave me a better perspective of each of the different schools in order to make my final decision.