Take a virtual tour to help make your choice

SCHOOLS, colleges and universities are turning to technology to help them showcase what they have to offer prospective students and their families.


Virtual open days became popular last year due to Covid restrictions and more and more education centres will be hosting events online in the coming months.


They may include pre-recorded content or live events, or some will combine both, and they will usually offer a welcome talk from a senior member of staff, which might be live or pre-recorded.


There will also be a video tour of the campus and grounds so viewers can see everything from the classrooms and lecture halls to the libraries, canteens and sports facilities. This will allow you to build up a picture of where you will spend your time when you are studying as well as during your breaks and leisure time.


Some schools, colleges and universities will run a question and answer forum with senior staff, and the option to book some one-to-one time with someone relevant to your course or interests.


Although it’s never going to be as good as being able to visit in person, it can still be a chance to learn a lot about the ethos and culture of the place.


If it's a sixth form, then asking about what support is available to help you decide what to do after leaving school is important. Find out if they have any links with employers and organise work experience placements.


If it’sauniversity, then it helps to do plenty of research so you know in advance what you would like to ask.


Don’t forget to look at the accommodation on offer as well as finding out about clubs and other activities on campus.


When the virtual open day is finished, it should give parents and students a good feel for the place.


Schools, colleges and universities are doing their best to show and share as much as they can online and will be happy to answer any questions students have or provide additional information.


It may be that there will also a chance to visit in person as restrictions ease so take up the opportunity if it arises.


If it's a university, make sure to plan a visit to the town or city where it’s based, when restrictions allow, so you can get to know where you might be living for the next three or four years.