OBERLIN, Ohio — Risa Jackson is used to dressing up and touring colleges in person, but not this year.
"Just trying to adjust with the online aspect after having experienced it in person,” said Risa.
The Oberlin High School senior got a chance to check out Howard University and several other colleges last year with the Lorain County Urban League, but this year, their huge in-person college tour trip was canceled. Instead, like everything else, it went virtual.
"It was more one on one because with traditional college tours you sometimes are touring a campus with 40 other students,” said Risa. "I felt like during the virtual college tour there was more time, it didn’t feel as rushed and you had plenty of opportunities to ask questions.”
Actually, Risa loved the virtual model.
"I think my favorite part was the student panels they had,” she said. "I definitely saw them as, I guess, role models.”
"That was really great for the first time; for our first time doing anything virtual, it was a really big success,” said Achilles Morales, the youth development and education coordinator at the Lorain County Urban League.
Morales says they used the site YouVisit to take the students on virtual tours and set up panels of current students, among other things.
"We also worked with admissions offices and had some college representatives on some of our tours as well for students to have more of that background of what’s the admissions process like,” he said.
This is far from what Morales says they are used to. Each spring break they load up around 40 students on a huge charter bus and drive them to a handful of colleges and experience the communities too.
"We also give them some cultural experiences we’ll visit a museum, or go to like eat somewhere,” said Morales.
Although next year's Urban League college tour might be virtual too, Risa says they aren’t so bad, and they’ve even helped her narrow down her college choices.
"On my own time I attended virtual college tours for Kent, Toledo and Akron and I’ve applied to all of those schools and I already got accepted into Akron,” said Risa.
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