CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Driving across the state for a short, college campus tour may be a thing of the past.

  • App allows campus visits without leaving home.
  • The app provides 360-degree video tours of campuses.
  • UNC-Chapel Hill alum created the first on its kind program.

A new app is making going to college a "reality" by using virtual reality.

UNC-Chapel Hill alum Alexis Barnes helped create a new program just launched by the UNC System.

The GEAR UP NC VR app, which is the first of its kind in the nation, allows users to take interactive virtual tours of the state's 16 public universities.

It's aimed at helping those who otherwise might not have the means to do so.

"Gear Up reaches out to high schools where it's over 50 percent free and reduced school lunch,” said Carol White with GEAR UP NC. “Students in counties who might not have the means to travel to visit all these colleges, they may not know anyone who's been to college."

The app provides 360-degree video tours of campuses, includes lists of majors and even directs users to admissions pages and financial aid advising.






"They can see themselves on this campus and in this major,” said White. “They don't have to depend on anyone for help. The help is in this app."

They hope the app proves if you can dream it you can definitely do it.

"I hope they can find a pathway for what they want to do in life, that they can see themselves going to college,” said Barnes. “That they don't feel like there's a barrier. They can do what they want in life. There's a place and school for them out there."

The GEAR UP VR app can be downloaded from the iTunes store  or from the Google Play store.


Get the latest news, sports and weather delivered straight to your inbox. Click here to sign up for email and text alerts.