Are you and your offspring spending a fortune on college tours? Narrow your options first with a virtual tour.

• Name:

• What it does: This website gives you a look at 400 college campuses and universities in the United States, Europe, Africa and Latin America.

• What’s hot: Parents and prospective students can peruse college after college without opening their wallet to pay for a plane ticket.

The tours use virtual guides, panoramic photos, videos and photo features that let you see inside the cadet chapel at West Point or stroll around Pepperdine and its Beaman Patio overlooking the Pacific.

• What’s not: The tours are thorough, but nothing can take the place of actually being there. You don’t feel any energy.

Fewer marketing photos of buildings and more “real” photos that capture the spirit of what and who you can expect to see on campus would be better.