But for campuses thousands of miles away, a virtual tour is a godsend.
The combination of still photographs and video clips in a flashy media presentation allows students to either navigate a live view of the campus or watch a prepared video.
Most virtual tours feature students going to class, homecoming activities and lectures.
Often the university statistics, such as student- teacher ratio, degree programs, financial aid, campus life, collegiate and intramural athletics are included in the media presentation.
Web sites such as Cam pusTours.com and E-Cam pusTours.com offer tours for 1,200 schools in the United States.
Also available is College WeekLive.com, a virtual college fair to help prospective students choose a school in an interactive environment.
The next CollegeWeekLive College fair is scheduled for Nov. 12 and 13 and will focus on the college search and application process, according to its Web site.