Free 360 college campus tours to students sheltered-in-place

With millions of students now learning at home during COIVD-19, some students are struggling to figure out how to make one of the most important decisions in their lives. We’re talking about college.

High school seniors don’t have the option during the pandemic to visit campuses in person. But one Atlanta college counselor has a solution.

David Wu has created 360 camera campus tours of the U.S. News Top 100 colleges. From Georgia Tech, UGA, and KSU to UCLA and Georgetown, all 100 videos are on YouTube.

He works as a college counselor for several private schools and says counselors are all seeing the same thing: “In 4 years, you see these kids. They’re literally sweating and crying over the school. Their grades, their extracurriculars, they’ve got to maintain a good reputation and rapport with teachers. These kids have so much to do in these 4 years, it’s a restless 4 years.”

Wu says at the end of those 4 years, it comes down to just one moment. “It’s the moment where you pick where you go [to college],” says Wu.

That’s the reason he created the informative videos. They include statistics, fun facts, and take you on a 360 tour of the campus. “It puts the world literally right in front of your hands, you don’t even have to put a shoe on to visit these colleges,” says Wu.

But this isn’t anything new. Wu started touring colleges in 2017, and it took him 3 years to get to all the campuses. He posted the videos during Fall 2019 but took them down recently to update the videos with 2020 statistics.

“The 360 video is great because it’s objective. It’s not just a college tour where the college student takes you to places where he wants you to see. [These videos] are where you’re seeing it for yourself at your own pace,” explains Wu.

But Wu says COVID-19 made him speed up his process. “When COVID-19 hit, I was like okay, we’ve gotta do this fast,” says Wu.

And the response he’s gotten has been positive. He says on Reddit, “there are kids saying ‘this is super helpful. I’m at home, and I can’t see things.’ They’re very grateful and honestly, it’s encouraging.”

Wu hopes this will help seniors make an informed decision on college.

As for the future, Wu says “we’re going to pull through this, but I honestly think it gets darker before the light at the end of the tunnel. It looks like a very serious thing.”

Wu and his wife are from China. He says his wife had just returned from China before COVID-19 really hit hard there. Wu says, “I never thought it would be just as bad here. It’s honestly caught me by surprise.”

But Wu says, “the world pulls together during times like this. The best part of humanity comes out.”

The college campus tours are free, and that’s why Wu asks people to share what he’s doing on social media. He says, “it’s a free resource. The more people that see it the better. Knowledge and education is the great equalizer and you shouldn’t charge people to get more knowledge.”