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Keyed In: CampusTours

By Megan Cohen

When I was writing about Achievr, I think I knew that a lot of people weren’t going to be using it. In fact, if we’re being honest here, I haven’t even been using it. The fact of the matter is, the only websites we use that are particularly helpful are Google and Wikipedia. Seeing as we’ve been using those sites for years, it’s pointless to write about them.

So I thought to myself, “What’s something that is actually important to us?” What is something that, despite all of our differences as a group, we all think about at some point during our high school career?

If you think I’m talking about college, you just proved my point.

CampusTours is one of my new favorite discoveries. Why? For starters, I’m lazy. When I’m reading about colleges on their website, I often find myself skimming multiple paragraphs, trying to pick out the information I came there for.

Eventually, the inevitable happens: I figure, “It’s not important anyway,” and close the tab. Obviously, information about potential colleges is very important, and that’s why CampusTours could be one of the most crucial sites you’ll find.

You start off with three search options for colleges: Name, state, and country. This is by far one of my favorite features of the site. Instead of having to look up colleges in certain areas and then search them on CampusTours, you can explore your options right there. If you don’t have a specific school in mind, but know you want it to be in Oregon, you can easily pull up a list of all schools in Oregon.

When you pull up a college’s page on CampusTours, instead of being given an entire essay on the admissions process, you are given quick statistics — the application fee, registration deadline, whether or not the school has early decision, etc. CampusTours also covers anything else you would possibly need to know about the school: the percentage of students that are men/women, the religious affiliation, both in-state and out-of-state tuition, even a list of all the sports the school offers.

Contact information for the school is also available. The website even has a direct link to the college’s website where, as we all know, we can access even more information. For a more visual representation, there’s occasionally a link to a YouTube video that the school has created.

Speaking of visuals, I take back what I said about the search options. They’re not my favorite feature. The virtual tours are really the best part of this whole site. Reading about a school is one thing, but actually seeing the school from the eyes of a student, a student that you yourself could be one day? It completely changes your perspective, for better or for worse.

The thing about CampusTours is that it gets right to the point. You’re not reading pages and pages of how great the school is before you see, “Oh, and by the way, tuition’s $40,000.” You can just decide in a matter of minutes whether or not this school is right for you. Of course, it takes a bit longer than that to make a final decision, but it helps you eliminate certain options so you can focus on the more important ones.

I’m not going to go on and on about how great this site is, because I know you won’t believe me until you actually use it yourself. And I promise you, this is something you will actually be needing in the future, if not now.