Why You Should Tour Campus In Person or Virtually

Ease your decision-making with a worthwhile “visit”

By Sarika Waikar February 13, 2024
Why You Should Tour Campus In Person or Virtually

The first time I stepped onto U-M’s campus, it wasn’t for a tour, but as a sophomore in high school helping my brother move into East Quad. I could immediately picture Ann Arbor as my future home, and that was without even touring the expansive campus. Junior year of high school rolls around, and I have big plans to officially visit U-M, but COVID-19 has other plans in mind. Luckily, U-M adapted quickly, and I was able to take a virtual tour, solidifying my deep interest in the school.

As a high school student weighing college options, it can be extremely overwhelming in all aspects. I highly recommend taking advantage of visiting U-M in person if you can, but don’t worry if you can’t as there are plenty of virtual resources available! Focus on how you feel while touring U-M either in person or virtually and reflect on those emotions. Do you feel excited? At ease? Like you can imagine yourself here? I felt a combination of all these feelings while visiting my brother here, as well as when I toured virtually during the pandemic. I know that feeling isn’t always universal, but truly do take the time to experience and take in all that U-M’s campus has to offer.

First, we’ll dive into a few benefits of touring in person (as a current junior, I pass tours nearly every week and love seeing prospective students’ smiles as they walk through the Diag for the first time).

You'll get to immerse yourself in campus life

Touring a campus in person offers an unparalleled opportunity to truly immerse yourself in the university experience. Beyond brochures and looking at images online, being physically present allows you to absorb the atmosphere, vibe, and energy of the community here. It's a chance to engage with current students and faculty and gain firsthand insights into academic programs, extracurricular activities, and campus resources. Walking through the campus grounds and visiting classrooms, laboratories, and recreational facilities provides a tangible sense of what life as a future student would entail. Moreover, experiencing the surrounding area gives a glimpse into the off-campus lifestyle and amenities available, like Ann Arbor’s abundant food options.

Current students can give you firsthand, genuine insights

From the best places to grab a meal on and around campus to secret study spots (maybe not so secret anymore), current students know the ins and outs of their campus community like the back of their hands. At U-M, campus tours are led by current Wolverines who can answer questions as they arise during your tour about the student experience on our campus. They understand the eagerness to learn when touring campus for the first time and would be thrilled to address any burning questions you might have.

After the tour, you can take the opportunity to explore on your own

Ann Arbor is a sprawling city, spanning 29.09 mi² with many bustling neighborhoods. During your 75-minute tour you’ll have the opportunity to explore many on-campus buildings and areas, but you should also travel off the beaten path and experience the city beyond the university. One of my personal favorite areas of Ann Arbor is downtown’s Main Street area, and I highly recommend you check out all the lively, eclectic shops and restaurants it has to offer. Although I don’t venture to the Main Street area every day, it’s always a treat when my friends and I grab a scoop at Blank Slate Creamery or simply window-shop along our walk through town.

Now we’ll explore some of the amazing resources U-M has to offer when it comes to visiting virtually. Even if you do visit in person, I still suggest taking a glance at our online content to assist your decision-making.

Taking a virtual tour can feel real enough with our extensive tour options

Through images, descriptions, videos, 360 views, and student voices, you can discover all the different schools, colleges, residence halls, buildings, and campus landmarks here at U-M – simply through a few clicks. Use this handy page to explore all that’s available here, whether it’s Ross, the Diag, athletics, or your area of interest, we’ve got you covered. Within each division of campus, there’s even more information about each area once you click through, providing a thorough “tour” of campus.

Utilize YouTube in the digital age of exploration

UMich 101 YouTube videos are extremely useful when it comes to answering some of those burning questions you may want to ask a current student. With topics ranging from finding your community to LGBTQ+ resources, this playlist serves as an essential survival guide when learning more about U-M. Our student vlog page is yet another extensive playlist of student voices and stories that I know I took advantage of when I was a prospective student. With 56 videos to navigate through, I’m confident you’ll find reassurance in listening to Wolverines share more about their experiences.

Read and watch your FAQs being answered in detail

The YouTube clips don’t stop with the two playlists mentioned above, as we also have a channel dedicated to your FAQs. Get your questions answered by listening to passionate Campus Day leaders talk about Michigan traditions, athletic tickets, class sizes, and more. Additionally, if you check out our Prospective Students page, you’ll find all kinds of information about undergraduate student life, international student resources, housing on campus, majors, etc.

In closing

In conclusion, choosing the right school can be a daunting task, especially when faced with the uncertainty brought about by unexpected circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic. My journey to discovering the U-M campus involved both physical and virtual exploration. While the traditional in-person campus tour provides insightful firsthand experiences and interactions, the digital resources offered by U-M can be equally enlightening and comprehensive.

Whether touring in person or virtually, the key takeaway is to hone in on how you feel during the experience. Reflecting on your emotions — whether excitement, nervousness, or a sense of belonging — can provide valuable insights into whether a university is the right fit for you. By leveraging all the in-person and online resources outlined above, prospective students can confidently navigate Ann Arbor and all U-M has to offer.

S. Waikar
Sarika Waikar

Sarika Waikar is a current junior pursuing a major in communication and media with minors in entrepreneurship and environment. She is from Evanston, IL (just north of Chicago!) and interned this past summer at 1871, a startup incubator in the city. At U-M, she's the logistics co-coordinator for the South Asian Awareness Network, a research assistant for the Department of Communication and Media, a teacher's assistant at Towsley Children House, and heavily involved in her entrepreneurship fraternity, SEPi. She loves travel adventures, exploring Ann Arbor, cooking new dishes, and hanging out with friends!