10/27/18 UNC campus tours go virtual

Graham High School Students try out UNC System’s campus tours app with cardboard virtual reality headsets on Friday. The Gear Up N.C. initiative is aimed at promoting the new tool to help high school students explore college options available to them throughout the state.

Steven Mantilla / Times-News

Graham High School Students try out UNC System’s campus tours app with cardboard virtual reality headsets on Friday. The Gear Up N.C. initiative is aimed at promoting the new tool to help high school students explore college options available to them throughout the state.

UNC campus tours go virtual
By Alexandria Gaines, The Times-News 10/27/18     
Reprinted with permission.  

Graham High School students get free swag and information from the North Carolina Central University table at a college fair that was set up after the Gear Up presentation. Representatives from various colleges around the state were available to talk to juniors and seniors about their future college decisions.  

Graham High School students get free swag and information from the North Carolina Central University table at a college fair that was set up after the Gear Up presentation. Representatives from various colleges around the state were available to talk to juniors and seniors about their future college decisions.

 

Graham High School juniors and seniors got to tour 16 University of North Carolina campuses Friday morning without leaving the school’s auditorium.

The UNC System is involved in GEAR UP, Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, designed to assist students with college awareness and access.

The Graham High School event was the UNC system's inaugural virtual college tour, Alamance-Burlington Schools spokesperson Jenny Faulkner said.

UNC President Margaret Spellings was originally scheduled to kick off the event but instead resigned Friday from the UNC System. Dr. Kimberly Van Noort, senior vice president for Academic Affairs and chief academic officer at UNC-Chapel Hill, spoke before the students began their virtual tour.

“I want to go to college but — that ‘but’ is just that,” Noort said. “We will help you find a way.”

The smartphone application points students to resources on campus to help them start planning to go to college. They can learn about the school, connect with social media and get contact information for students to contact campuses.

“Using the virtual reality gives some students who aren’t able to travel to colleges and universities a way to see the college and see what they like, what they don’t like, how big schools are, just the different atmospheres that each college brings, so it’s just a really nice thing to use,” said TJ Stanfield, a Graham High School senior.

After the virtual reality tour, students went to a college fair with representatives from each of the universities in the virtual tour. The students were able to talk and gain more insight about the schools they may want to attend after high school.