Campus, Coronavirus, News

With in-person tours still canceled, prospective students visit BU’s campus on their own

prospective family tours boston university
A family tours the Boston University campus. Many prospective families have visited BU recently despite the cancelation of official tours, with some embarking on self-guided visits provided by the University. SOPHIA FLISSLER/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

In lieu of in-person, official campus tours, Boston University is offering prospective students and families other ways to get a feel for Commonwealth Avenue.

Campus is open to self-guided tours, and a mobile walking tour is provided through the VisiTOUR app. The walking tour also leads visitors to an online Back2BU guide on how to wear a mask in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Along with the guided walking tour, the University is offering an interactive virtual tour, an option to register for a live virtual tour with student ambassadors and various virtual events for students to get to know BU and the campus.

“However, BU continues to maintain strict COVID protocols,” the website states, “which means that visitors are not permitted inside our buildings and, strict mask wearing and social distancing protocols are being followed.”

Sally Thoden, an admitted student in the College of Arts and Sciences from Austin, Texas, said she visited the campus in September to ensure that BU was the right choice for her.

“Although there were virtual tours and stuff like that,” Thoden said, “I just really wanted to make sure I was making the right decision, because it is a pretty big decision.”

Thoden was recruited by the BU Rowing Team and said she was given a map by her coach to explore campus and do a self-guided tour.

“I thought that was super helpful because I feel like BU’s campus is kind of tucked in,” she said. “I feel like without that map, I definitely would not have known what everything was and I think it’d be a lot more confusing.”

Thoden said she also took note of the COVID-19 safety displayed on campus while she was visiting.

“Everyone was wearing masks and everything,” she said, “so I definitely felt really safe.”

Cameron Howard, an admitted student in CAS from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said he is traveling to Boston next week to visit campus and decide whether he will attend BU.

“I’ve been to Boston before but I’ve never been to BU,” Howard said. “I wanted to see the campus.”

Howard said he has completed the virtual tour and used the online resources, but they don’t provide the same experience as being on campus.

“I think seeing the campus is totally different,” Howard said. “You can really get a better feel versus just looking at it online.”

He added he was particularly reassured by BU’s recent announcement of compulsory COVID-19 vaccinations for students next year.

“I feel really safe I think, especially because we just got the email a few days ago that they’re requiring all students be vaccinated for Fall,” Howard said. “I think that makes it a lot easier to go and feel safer.”

CAS sophomore Ruby Price works at the green badge station in the George Sherman Union and said she has had to refuse touring families who have tried to come into the building.

“We’ve had to turn them away quite a few times,” Price said. “I feel bad because we want them to be able to tour the campus, but also we have to enforce the regulations.”

However, Price noted the families she’s seen have mostly been understanding and followed the guidelines.

“Most of them are pretty respectful about it,” Price said. “I don’t think it’s too big of a concern, personally.”

CAS freshman Jaedin Guldenstern said she understands why students feel the need to visit campus in-person.

“They just want some stability and knowing where they’re going next,” Guldenstern said, “so I can really empathize with that.”

As long as families are following COVID-19 guidelines, they should come to campus to make a more informed decision about where to attend college, Guldenstern added.

“I just would hope and ask and I have seen it so far,” she said, “that they’re being safe about it and respectful of us.”

The University could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

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