UC Berkeley rolls out virtual tours, programming for prospective students

Photo of Berkeley Tour Website
Anthony Angel Pérez/Staff
A virtual tour for prospective UC Berkeley students to experience the campus from afar was launched. The program is meant to supplement in-person tours with an immersive, 360-degree campus tour.

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Visitor and Parent Services and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions launched a virtual tour through YouVisit for prospective students to experience the UC Berkeley campus from afar.

The program provides an immersive, 360-degree campus tour, covering Memorial Stadium and Sather Gate to libraries and lecture halls. The virtual tour is meant to supplement in-person tours and accompany outreach to newly admitted students in a virtual setting, as necessitated by the pandemic, according to a Berkeley News article.

La Dawn Duvall, executive director of visitor and parent services, said the program would be delightful for anyone who wants an inside look to campus — alumni, prospective faculty or staff — in addition to prospective students and their families.

“I want to emphasize that this wasn’t a reaction to COVID,” said Robert Penman, associate director of undergraduate admissions. “This was something we were planning to do regardless because it’s the right thing to do for students.”

Duvall and Penman emphasized how valuable the virtual tour is to a wide range of students, including prospective international students and those who do not have the ability, time or resources to make the trek to UC Berkeley. Because of its accessible, web-based format and the history it highlights, any student is able to experience the “campus vibe,” Penman said.

Newly admitted student Chloé Oh noted that although it took some searching online to find the virtual tour, it was simple to use and has an interface similar to Google Maps. Oh particularly enjoyed the embedded pictures and videos of campus, as well as the interviews with “iconic” UC Berkeley figures, including Chancellor Carol Christ.

“These resources are super important because it’s easy to feel disconnected since everything is online now,” Oh said in an email. “Especially for students that are planning on committing to Berkeley, being able to experience (albeit virtually) a bit of the campus life helps connect to the rest of the student body.”

These are not the only virtual events planned for new admits this year, however. To immerse new admits into the UC Berkeley community, Duvall and Penman outlined campus’ plans for Cal Day, which will take place April 24, as well as Cal Week.

More than 200 Cal Week programs are scheduled for prospective students, Penman added. To bring more of the UC Berkeley community to admits, campus will host faculty speakers from an array of degree programs and colleges, as well as Christ, the ASUC president and the Rally Committee.

Duvall emphasized that these online resources are here to stay and will only improve as part of UC Berkeley’s offerings. Penman concurred, and although he is looking forward to meeting future students in person, campus will definitely further its virtual recruitment and outreach in some form.

“Any student, no matter where you’re at in the world, can interact with Berkeley,” Penman said. “Now no matter your resources, no matter where you’re at geographically, you have a mechanism to get to know Berkeley.”

Contact Katherine Shok at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @katherineshok.