How do you really get to know a college?

We’ve got some helpful suggestions from Nick Freud, co-founder of CampusReel, a free resource for students featuring thousands of real campus videos.         

Imagine a conversation between Student A, a current high school senior, and Student B, a current college freshman:

“What’s college like?!” asks an eager Student A, to which Student B replies, “The student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1; we offer 34 different majors; and we have 3 million volumes in our library.”  


Does that conversation seem completely unrealistic?

Yes. Yes it does. And yet, every year, millions of students make the single biggest decision of their young adult lives based on this type of indecipherable data.

While rankings, statistics, and data points certainly have their place in the college search and selection process, they shouldn’t be the defining factor in a student’s enrollment decision.  Once on campus, you quickly realize that what defines the college experience is simply not about the data.

College is about community – it’s about the lifelong friendships; your connections with inspiring professors; that late-night scarfing of borderline inedible cafeteria food; the all-nighters in the library before midterms. It’s all about the experiences and memories that make college so profoundly life-changing.

This is exactly why campus visits are so important when you're thinking about college.  

Campus visits exude the campus’ “vibe” to prospective students.  Just what is a campus vibe? Hard to describe exactly, but the “vibe” will impact your daily relationship with your campus far more than the canned blurbs you hear about student-to-faculty ratio or freshman dorm room dimensions.  

So, how do you capture a college’s vibe as a prospective student without actually visiting every college that you’re interested in? That can be so expensive, time-consuming, and just doesn’t work with school days, sports schedules, and jobs.

My suggestion?

Turn the college students into storytellers. Empower those real, living college students—the ones who live in the dorms that you’re curious about and who trek through the dining halls everyday. When actual college students turn on their phone video, you get to see the real deal. The authentic experience, unfiltered through a college’s admissions or marketing department.

That’s what we wanted CampusReel to capture—seeing a campus the way you, the student, are going to experience it. Let’s face it, a college decision based on data, statistics, rankings, and stock photos just isn’t going to cut it.

Thousands of college students have filmed their campus lives and shared them on CampusReel. They’re freely available—yes, you can watch all 11,000+ videos if you really want to, and not spend a dime. We want you to see real students sharing real experiences.

Because what ultimately matters most in the college experience is —community.


We like CampusReel because we can watch short videos on campus life from real college students at thousands of different colleges. These videos show the real deal on campus-not some marketing spin from the admissions office. You can search on the CampusReel website for what you're interested in: by college name or state or school size, for instance.

We've included a video example. Click on the image below & happy viewing!