26 Virtual College Tours

Explore your dream schools without leaving home

"A brick walkway surrounded by green grass leading up towards an educational building at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA.

gregobagel / Getty Images

Virtual college tours are an excellent alternative to in-person visits. Virtual tours allow you to explore college campuses at your own pace, typically with useful features like 360° views and student-narrated audio/video. In fact, you will often see and learn much more during a virtual tour than is possible through an in-person tour, given the size of many campuses and the time constraints of a visit to the admissions office.

For each school on our list, you'll find one or more virtual tours that take you around campus and into academic buildings, residence halls, and athletic facilities.

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Boston College

Gasson Hall on Boston College campus in Chestnut Hill, MA
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Despite its name, Boston College is not located in Boston. The 175-acre main campus in Chestnut Hill sits a little over 6 miles from downtown. The attractive campus features collegiate Gothic architecture and sits on a hill overlooking the Chestnut Hill Reservoir.

Online: For 360° views of buildings, athletic and performance venues, and dining areas, check out the BC virtual tour at eCampusTours.com. For a more personal experience, CampusReel offers a range of videos shot by BC students as they tell you about their campus.

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Boston University

Curved corner of modern Boston University building
Barry Winiker / Getty Images

Located on an urban campus in the Fenway neighborhood, Boston University is home to one of the largest residence halls in the country, as well as beautiful green spaces along the Charles River. From contemporary towers to historic brownstones, the university's architecture is truly diverse.

Online: Boston University has an excellent collection of over 40 videos narrated by students that provide a window into academic life, residential life, and campus life.

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Brown University

Brown University
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As one of the prestigious Ivy League schools, admission to Brown University is extremely selective. The campus in Providence, Rhode Island, features attractive red brick buildings and a hilltop location. The highly ranked Rhode Island School of Art and Design adjoins the campus.

Online: On the admissions website, you'll find an excellent 360° tour of Brown created in collaboration with YouVisit. Brown students guide you around campus and narrate different aspects of the university experience.

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Columbia University

Students In Front Of The Library Of Columbia University, Manhattan, New York, Usa
Dosfotos / Design Pics / Getty Images

As a member of the Ivy League located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, Columbia University can be an excellent choice for strong students looking for an urban college experience. Barnard College sits adjacent to the Columbia campus.

Online: The university partnered with YouVisit to create a virtual walking tour of the campus narrated by Columbia students. You'll learn about 19 locations on campus and see dozens of high quality photos. For a less professionally produced view of campus, check out the many student-created videos on CampusReel.

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Cornell University

McGraw Tower and Chimes, Cornell University campus, Ithaca, New York
Dennis Macdonald / Getty Images

Another Ivy League school, Cornell University has an enviable location in the Finger Lakes region of Central New York. The large hillside campus sits in the middle of wine country overlooking Lake Cayuga. In addition, Ithaca frequently ranks among the best college towns in the nation.

Online: The university has a professionally made video, Cornell University: Glorious to View, that features scenes from around campus and soundbites from faculty and students. You can also check out Cornell's interactive map with photos and information on dozens of locations around campus. Finally, take a look on CampusReel for some amateur videos by Cornell students.

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Dartmouth College

Dartmouth Hall at Dartmouth College
Dartmouth Hall at Dartmouth College. Allen Grove

Another highly selective member of the Ivy League, Dartmouth College is located in the quintessential college town of Hanover, New Hampshire. The iconic bell tower of Baker Library soars above the school's attractive buildings and open green spaces.

Online: The Dartmouth admissions website has links to some excellent resources including a 360-degree virtual tour with YouVisit and virtual tours of athletic facilities and the School of Engineering. Dartmouth graduates wrote the script for this informative 36-minute video tour of Dartmouth. For a less scripted perspective of a current student, check out Paula Joline's video.

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Duke University

Don Klumpp / Getty Images

Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University's sprawling campus includes a forest and a medical center. The school is well known for its stone Collegiate Gothic architecture. The iconic Duke Chapel towers over 200 feet above West Campus.

Online: Narrated virtual tours at YouVisit offer excellent 360° image quality and information on Duke's main campus, Duke Marine Lab, and Duke's Kunshan campus. For another virtual tour, students in the ISIS Research Capstone course created a Duke Google Earth project with views and information on some of students' favorite campus locations.

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Harvard University

Harvard University

rabbit75_ist / Getty Images 

As one of the world's most prestigious and selective universities, Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has probably been filmed and photographed more than any other school in the United States. The university has roots going back well before the U.S. was a country, and it is also a major research hub with over 20,000 graduate students. The result is a campus with an interesting mix of historic and state-of-the-art facilities.

Online: Like several schools on this list, Harvard partnered with YouVisit to create a high quality 360° narrated virtual tour that includes both indoor and outdoor views of campus features including residence halls, Widener Library, sports complexes, and academic buildings.

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 John Nordell / The Image bank / Getty Images

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology often tops the rankings of engineering schools in both the United States and the world. The school's 168-acre campus stretches along the Charles River in Cambridge, and you'll find a variety architecture from the neoclassical central buildings to the Frank Gehry designed Stata Center.

Online: Check out the campus sites in this narrated Campus Crawl video or MIT's own video, Hangin' Out at MIT with Cathy and Tara, a tour that will give you a 21 minute student-guided look around the institute. You'll also find a large library of information and videos related to different campus locations in the MIT Virtual Tour.

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New York University

College buildings at New York University in Greenwich Village
gregobagel / Getty Images

City lovers will be drawn to NYU's location in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, adjacent to Washington Square Park. The campus is truly urban, so don't expect to find the green spaces and quadrangles that are typical of most campuses on this list. The school leverages its location to create impressive opportunities for students in fields ranging from business to the performing arts.

Online: NYU has created a 9-minute video that shows off the NYU campus and its New York City location. On the school's admissions website, you'll find additional virtual tours of the NYU Abu Dhabi and Shanghai campuses, as well as an online information session. For a less promotional glimpse of campus, check out this remarkable student-made video tour of NYU.

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Northwestern University

Northwestern University Hall in Evanston, Illinois
stevegeer / Getty Images

With a single-digit acceptance rate, Northwestern University is among the most selective universities in the country. The 240-acre main campus in Evanston, Illinois, hugs the shore of Lake Michigan and is home to about 150 buildings. The university also has a 25-acre campus in downtown Chicago, roughly 12 miles away.

Online: Northwestern teamed up with YouVisit to create a narrated tour with dozens of high quality photo with detailed information on 22 campus locations. For something a little less formal, check out student James Jia's video tour of campus.

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Penn State

Old Main in Penn State
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With over 46,000 students, Penn State's main campus is a small city unto itself. Indeed, the campus has its own postal address—University Park, Pennsylvania—where the university is the major employer and economic driver in its rural location in the center of the state. With 18 colleges, 275 undergraduate degree programs, and over 1,000 clubs and organizations, there is clearly a lot to see and do on campus.

Online: For an excellent introduction to the university, check out Penn State's 360° virtual tour of dozens of campus locations, including the iconic Old Main building and Beaver Stadium, with its seating capacity of over 100,000.

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Princeton University

Princeton University
Princeton University. Allen Grove

Founded in 1746, Princeton University has a rich past that is reflected in its historic 500-acre campus in Princeton, New Jersey. The oldest existing building, Nassau Hall, was completed in 1756, and many more recent buildings feature Collegiate Gothic architecture. The campus frequently finds a place in rankings of the nation's most beautiful campuses.

Online: Powered by YouVisit, the Princeton University virtual tour features high quality 360-degree views of 25 campus locations narrated by Princeton students. Also be sure to check out this series of YouTube videos to introduce you to various campus features. For a more personal touch, student Nicolas Chae created a 9-minute video to show you around campus.

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Stanford University

Hoover Tower, Stanford University - Palo Alto, CA
jejim / Getty Images

The most prestigious and selective university on the West Coast, Stanford is easily recognizable, with the mission-style architecture of the Main Quad and Hoover Tower soaring 285 feet over the school. Its campus occupies over 8,000 acres in the Bay Area, about 30 miles south of San Francisco.

Online: You'll find a range of virtual tours on the Stanford visitor's webpage. You'll be able to explore the main campus, residential facilities, and campus gardens.

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Temple University

The Fox School of Business at Temple University
Mblumber / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Temple University's main campus sits about one and a half miles north of Center City, Philadelphia. As the university has grown in both size and prestige, it has expanded its facilities to include the 27-floor Morgan Residence Hall and Dining Complex, which opened in 2013.

Online: For a professionally produced 360° tour of Temple with stellar image quality, the university partnered with YouVisit to bring the campus to your computer. If you prefer amateur student-created videos, you'll find plenty of short clips at CampusReel.

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UC Berkeley

The University of California Berkeley
The University of California Berkeley. Charlie Nguyen / Flickr

The University of California at Berkeley often tops lists of the nation's best public universities. Along with the main undergraduate campus, the school features an 800-acre ecological preserve, a botanical garden, and numerous research facilities. Towering over the campus is the 307-foot Campanile, a building that offers stunning views of campus and the Bay Area.

Online: UC Berkeley is planning to release a new virtual tour in the fall of 2020. Until then, you can check out some of the sites with this 14-minute student-guided video tour as well as a library of short videos on CampusReel.

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University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Geri Lavrov / Getty Images

UCLA's 419-acre campus sits northwest of downtown, just a few miles away from the Pacific Ocean and Hollywood. Students can enjoy the advantages of proximity to a major city while living on a spacious and attractive campus defined by its Romanesque Revival architecture.

Online: For a visual experience with no narration, you'll find a 40-minute virtual walking tour of UCLA on YouTube. Also be sure to check out dozens of student-created UCLA videos on CampusReel, as well as a professionally-produced 360° tour created in collaboration with YouVisit.

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UCSB, University of California Santa Barbara
Carl Jantzen / Flickr

Students who love sand and sun (as well as a good education) will be drawn to the University of California Santa Barbara, one of the few universities in the country with its own beach. The main campus has a cliff-top location overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The East Campus is home to most of the school's academic facilities, while the West Campus is home to residential life and athletics.

Online: If you're interested in seeing where you'll be living at UCSB, the university has extensive 360° virtual tours of residence halls, apartments, and dining areas. For a virtual walk around the attractive campus and many of the academic and athletic facilities, check out the YouVisit virtual tour, where you'll find plenty of high resolution photographs.

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Geisel Library at UCSD

RightCowLeftCoast / Wikimedia Commons /  CC BY-SA 4.0

UC San Diego frequently ranks among the best public universities in the country, and its location, with La Jolla, Black's Beach, and Torrey Pines State Reserve just minutes away, is an added bonus. While surrounded by beauty, the campus itself was named by Travel & Leisure as one of the ugliest in the country because of its mishmash of architectural styles. That said, many would disagree with that assessment, and the iconic Geisel Library pictured here is certainly a one-of-a-kind campus building.

Online: UCSD created virtual tour brochures for each of its six undergraduate colleges. You'll also want to check out the YouVisit virtual tour, with its excellent picture quality and informative narration of numerous campus features.

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University of Michigan

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

 jweise / iStock / Getty Images

The University of Michigan, another of the nation's top public universities, occupies an attractive campus in Ann Arbor. With over 500 buildings sitting on 860 acres, the university has a daunting number of tour destinations. The South Campus is dominated by athletic facilities, and the Central and North campuses are home to most academic and residential buildings. The university's top-ranked medical school has its own campus.

Online: Learn more about the campus and see the sights with these photo galleries on the U-M admissions website; you'll find a gallery featuring the campus and another focused on student life. You can also check out a 14-minute video on YouTube with 4K outdoor shots of many of the campus' main buildings.

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University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania
Margie Politzer / Getty Images

Located in West Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania has a rich history dating back to its founding by Benjamin Franklin. This prestigious Ivy League school is home to the top-ranked Wharton School of Business. While much of the campus is historic and constructed in the Collegiate Gothic style, contemporary expansion continues, especially after the university acquired acreage along the Schuylkill River front.

Online: You can choose your virtual Penn experience. For an amateur and down-to-earth look at Penn, check out the dozens of student videos on CampusReel. For high quality images and narration, explore the campus through YouVisit's 360° virtual tour.

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University of Southern California

University of Southern California campus, Los Angeles, California, USA
Jupiterimages / Getty Images

Situated in the University Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, the University of Southern California has grown increasingly selective in recent years. The attractive 229-acre main campus has a number of red brick buildings in the Romanesque Revival style. A few miles from the main campus, the university's Health Sciences campus is home to one of the top hospitals and medical schools in the state.

Online: To see the campus and learn more about USC, CampusReel has nearly 100 videos shot by students as they show off their school. Also be sure to check out the USC photo gallery on Flickr where you'll find 59 high resolution images.

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University of Virginia

USA, Virginia, University of Virginia Rotunda and academical village. Founded by Thomas Jefferson; Charlottesville
Chris Parker / Getty Images

A top-ranked public institution, the University of Virginia has a rich history dating back to its establishment by Thomas Jefferson in the early 19th century. The university campus features stunning Jeffersonian architecture, including the arched walkways and pillared rotunda that surround the Lawn, the campus' central green space.

Online: Explore the campus through YouVisit's high quality, interactive, narrated 360° tour of UVA. Student tour guides will tell you about many of the campus features as you look around 19 campus locations.

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Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University

 SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

A prestigious private university in Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt University frequently ranks among the most beautiful colleges in the country. The 330-acre campus is a designated national arboretum. Despite being just a couple of miles from the city, the campus is filled with trees and green spaces. Campus buildings are designed in a variety of architectural styles.

Online: You can virtually walk around campus and learn about 20 different locations through Vanderbilt's online tour. Sights include libraries, sporting facilities, academic buildings, and even Greek Row. If you want to take the experience a step farther, explore the campus in 360-degree virtual reality with your VR headset or YouTube app on your smartphone.

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Virginia Tech

Torgersen Hall, Virginia Tech
epantha / Getty Images

Virginia Tech's expansive 2,600-acre campus features numerous buildings constructed with the school's defining "Hokie Stone"—a gray rock mined near the university's home in Blacksburg. As one of the nation's six senior military colleges, the institute is designed around the Drillfield, a large grass field where the Corps of Cadets conduct military drills.

Online: Virginia Tech offers an extensive campus photo tour with information about academic, residential, and student life facilities. You'll find even more photos and Virginia Tech information on the campus highlights page. For the student perspective on the university, you can find a wide range of short videos on CampusReel.

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Yale University

The Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University
Andriy Prokopenko / Getty Images

Yale's historic campus in New Haven, Connecticut, expands over 800 acres and features numerous ornate Gothic Revival buildings. You'll also find a few unique architectural gems, such as the windowless Beinecke Rare Book Library with its translucent marble and granite exterior panels. Yale's residential system is modeled after those at Oxford and Cambridge, and all students reside in one of 14 residential colleges.

Online: You can get a strong impression of Yale from the numerous virtual tours the university created in collaboration with YouVisit. Options include the Yale Campus Tour, Yale Science Tour, Yale Engineering Tour, Yale Athletics Tour, and Yale Residential College Tour. Each features high resolution photography. For more scenes of campus and the surrounding New Haven shops, check out the half-hour YouTube video created by Wind Walk Travel Videos.

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Grove, Allen. "26 Virtual College Tours." ThoughtCo, Jul. 26, 2021, thoughtco.com/free-virtual-college-tours-4800910. Grove, Allen. (2021, July 26). 26 Virtual College Tours. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/free-virtual-college-tours-4800910 Grove, Allen. "26 Virtual College Tours." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/free-virtual-college-tours-4800910 (accessed May 28, 2023).