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(UPDATE) U.S. College Visits And COVID-19 Anxiety

Two years ago, colleges were starting their fall semesters normally. What they didn’t know was how different that “normal” would look today. While most schools are heading back to in-person this fall, a lot of things are changing, and not just because of the pandemic.

With Coronavirus always in the news, many wondered how colleges were going to open in the fall. Whether students, faculty members and other staff and administrators would have to wear masks, require vaccinations cards, etc. As we've learned, it depends solely on the college themselves or local and state guidelines.

For example, in the state of Florida, the government has banned vaccine mandates, saying it is up to the individual if they choose to be vaccinated or not., therefore popular Florida colleges and universities have not issued statements requiring vaccines. But in California, many colleges public or private are requiring vaccinations for all of their students and employees, showing that the state's political stance determines the vaccination requirement in many cases.

Popular private universities like Duke and Cornell have issued statements in recent months requiring students to be fully vaccinated before returning to campus in the fall, with the exception of religious objections or medical conditions. Private colleges and universities make up a large percentage of those that are requiring vaccinations because they are able to work around state guidelines, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

However, large schools like Indiana University, which is a public institution, has required students to be fully vaccinated, but some students have brought it to the Supreme Court to block them from requiring vaccines because they said it violates their constitutional right to bodily integrity under the 14th Amendment. That emergency petition has since been denied by the Supreme Court. Although there are hundreds of colleges requiring vaccinations, there are some still holding off on implementing mandates. Penn State University for instance, is strongly encouraging students to get vaccinated or they will face regular testing, while other schools are using incentives and prizes to encourage students to get vaccinated.

International Students Have More Than Pandemic Issues To Stress About

Those not currently living in the United States have new developments in the Student Visa Application Processes to address. In his recent article, The Student Visa Application Process & New Policies, Immigration Attorney, Anthony Korda Esq, states;

“The Covid-19 Pandemic has led to significant delays in visa processing throughout the world.… Although many Embassies have prioritized Student Visa processing, a wait time listed as "999" calendar days indicates that the Consular Section is only providing service to emergency cases.”

Domestic and abroad — families with juniors and seniors in High School have taken the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic because it has completely stopped college tours. With colleges and universities having to rapidly adjust to the changing times, they have created the world of “virtual campus tours” which have become the best substitute for on-campus visits. Students are able to virtually tour campuses through Zoom, Facetime, etc. Some institutions even allow you to chat with professors and sit-in on classes.

Janice Caine, founder of Custom College Visits, has been helping families tour campuses, both in-person and virtually since 2010. She has worked with families from all regions of the United States as well as from countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. She states:

“Many colleges have, since the beginning of the summer, re-opened their doors for guided tours in limited fashion. To supplement, there are virtual tours and other enhanced video offerings. These may include engagement with current students and one-on-one mini tours that introduce prospective students to dining halls, dorms, performing arts spaces and more. These online opportunities are a great way to introduce overseas students and their families to the colleges since many cannot visit in person right now. For students in the U.S. that are also unable to travel, these virtual visits can prove to be an invaluable resource to learn about the colleges.”

Custom College Visits is working with many parents and students, domestic and international to navigate their way through the complexities of this new world of college visits. Learn more about Custom College Visits in the U.S.A.



Ashley Noville, WTCPB News Writer, World Trade Center Palm Beach,


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