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Finding Your College Fit: Virtual Edition

By Beth Anne Spacht

July 8, 2020

A guest post by Rachel Ristow, Associate Director of Admission

It’s July and you know what that means; cookouts, beach trips, long hours at your summer job (btw, you ARE underpaid and underappreciated), and time to start your college search! At least, this is what July usually promises. This July feels unusual and the world we share is a lot different than in years past. Our cookouts are smaller, beach trips turned into stay-cations, and you are wearing a mask everywhere you go. However, you are still beginning your college search. So, in a world where college visits are virtual, how do you find the right fit?

First, let’s break down what “fit” really means. We LOVE this word in the college admission world, but it is a little vague. Essentially, there are two types of fit to consider: 1) are you a good fit for the institution and 2) is the institution a good fit for you? The first is what we do during the admission review. We take a look at all the materials you have sent us and determine if you will be a successful student and valuable community member. The second is the work you do during the college search process.

To begin your college search process, start with some self-reflection:

  • What academic programs am I interested in pursuing?
  • In which type of learning environment do I thrive?
  • Do I want to stay closer to home or explore the ends of the earth?
  • How do my values, interests, and personal qualities fit with the university culture?

To get to that last point, plan your college visits…well, virtual visits for now. We know we can’t replace the in-person experience, but here are some tips to help you make the most out of the virtual visit!

  • Do your research! Colleges have a lot of tools and ways to actively engage online. Our Virtual Tour is a great starting point to explore campus at your own pace. Keep in mind that we can’t cover everything on the tour, so if you see a building that piques your interest or hear a mention of an academic program that’s intriguing, do your due diligence and follow up with a search for more information.
  • Engage with student and staff hosts! Come prepared to ask and answer questions. At Richmond we pride ourselves on the accessibility of our professors and professional staff. Want to learn more about an academic program or experience? Look for the “contact” tab and don’t be shy! Send an email and set up a time to chat.
  • Attend a variety of virtual visits that explore academics, student life, financial aid, and the admission process. It’s great to attend the big events, but also be sure to sign up for some one-on-one time. For example, you can attend a larger application workshop with an admission counselor to gear up for the application process, or connect on a smaller scale with a current student or alum to get a sense for campus life and post-grad careers. Check out our visit webpage to explore all of the ways to get to know Richmond.
Even though a lot has changed, one thing remains the same about the college search process: you are about to embark on a life changing journey, full of self-discovery and new challenges. So, take a step back, breathe deeply, and take a minute to reflect on how you got to this point and where you see yourself next. We are excited to hear your story and to share ours!

Tags: college search

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Tom NicholasTom Nicholas
Associate Director of Admission 

A Richmond alumnus (Class of 2007), Tom has been working and blogging for the Office of Admission since he graduated. He loves his alma mater and the city that shares its name.

Learn more about Tom

Beth Anne SpachtBeth Anne Spacht
Senior Assistant Director of Admission

Beth Anne was a double major at Richmond (English and Latin American & Iberian Studies) and now enjoys helping prospective students discover the best of her alma mater.

Learn more about Beth Anne

The University of Richmond is a highly ranked liberal arts university offering an extraordinary combination of the liberal arts with law, business, leadership studies, and continuing education. The university is consistently named a best value in higher education by leading publications.

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