HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - While seniors across Hampton Roads will likely be graduating virtually, juniors are on the hunt for their next step as well: Choosing a college.
"They are starting their search with this sense of uncertainty," said Timothy Wolfe, associate vice president for enrollment and dean of admission at the College of William and Mary.
Colleges are ghost towns, with no in-person classes offered and no campus tours running this spring. Officials are trying to pull out all the stops for prospective students without ever meeting face-to-face.
"Many students crave one-on-one engagement, so we are trying to show off the environment and even give a sense of community," said Wolfe.
Now, students must get a feel for their next four years merely by pointing and clicking.
"It's a little odd because college tours are something my family and I have been building towards," said Dylan Reyes, a senior at Princess Anne High School. "Suddenly it was pulled from us and I was like, 'OK, what do we do now?'"
Reyes chose his college, the University of Hartford, without ever stepping foot on the campus.
"It was strange, luckily I have been connecting with professors to remedy that, because the second best thing to education is getting a feel," Reyes said.
Getting that feel usually means a road trip, something scrapped for rising Cox High School senior Kalyssa Carini.
"We didn't get to go over spring break, so I have been looking at dorms, at campuses, and it's very different," Carini said.
Still, colleges are still working to connect with students, many holding live question-and-answer sessions and Zoom meetings with professors.
"We are doing our best to try to say, 'You may not visit us in person, but we are still here for you,'" Wolfe said.