Juwanna Brown, a 16-year-old junior at Illinois’ Lane Tech High School, found answers to many of her questions about college in a virtual environment, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Brown attended CollegeWeekLive.com, an online event that lets students and parents chat via text and video with hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide without leaving their computer. “I got to explore the types of programs the colleges offer,” said Brown, who is on her high school golf team and wants to be an attorney specializing in sports. “I asked questions about student-teacher ratios, scholarship opportunities, and the types of sororities and organizations on campus.” Asha Mannancheril, a 17-year-old senior at Niles West High School, found CollegeWeekLive to be “really, really cool.” She visited twice to learn about scholarships and biology classes. “The event goes on all day, so you can log on whenever it’s convenient,” she said. Students sign in to the event, and their contact information is shared with the schools whose booths they visit in the virtual world. The students use a text box to ask questions and get information in real time. The CollegeLive event features streaming-video appearances by representatives of college admissions and financial aid offices, as well as students, parents, higher-education consultants, and authors of college guides and how-to books. Because so many students and colleges need financial help, such virtual events can save money and enable otherwise expensive outreach and travel—both for students and for participating colleges…

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staff and wire services reports