The MassInteract Blog

Tips To Get More Applications During COVID With Your College Virtual Tour

When high-school students decide to take multiple college tours before zeroing in on the one that best suits their needs and goals, they usually look forward to the smell of freshly cut grass, lofty buildings, student chatter, a vibe from the student union and experiencing collegiate sports first hand. However, COVID has compelled colleges to take the virtual route and provide students with all the information they need online, to help them make a decision. Naturally, college virtual tours during COVID have become immensely popular and the best way to get applications, as they are realistic, visually appealing and interactive in nature. But, since the competition is intense, you need to figure out ways to make your tour better than others. Read on.

  1. Highlight the best things about your college – One of the most effective tips for college virtual tours during COVID is that, you need to draw attention to the best aspects of your institution. It can be the main student quad, stunning architecture, a massive library, a stylish student union that offers a variety of cuisines, or cheery dorm rooms. If your college is located in a scenic enviornment or is surrounded by a host of facilities like hospitals, shops, cafes and such, highlight that too. If you offer unique courses or have an outstanding placement record, these need to be showcased. Essentially, it is important to differentiate your college from others, so that students have a good reason to choose you.

       
  2. Provide all kinds of important information easily – Your virtual tour can earn brownie points from prospective students if you share information clearly regarding courses, deadlines, scholarship, financial aid, contact numbers of student guides, etc. Also note that international students look for information regarding residences, support services, career counseling, buddy system, and so on. Hence, providing all of that through your virtual tour can help them. 

    Read – Using Virtual Reality in Education Has Many Benefits
     
  3. Include call to action buttons smartly – Did you know that the rate at which high school seniors were taking virtual tours in 2020 was 228% higher than 2019? While that gives you reason enough to create a virtual tour, you also need to focus on boosting conversions. After all, your ultimate goal is to get candidates to apply after they view your tour. And for that, including call to action buttons for sharing contact information, calling or emailing the college, talking to a faculty member or admissions staff, or filling up a form, are essential. These buttons need to be prominently placed in your virtual tour. You can also have a button for those who have VR headsets and can enjoy a more immersive experience. Including social share buttons will also encourage students to share your tour with their peers and thereby increase your chance of getting more applications.

  4. Promote your tour actively – This is one of those college virtual tour tips that you cannot ignore, no matter how awesome your tour is. You must make sure that your virtual tour is super easy to search and land upon. This means, you need to embed it on your college homepage as well as the navigation bar. This way, no matter which part of your website visitors are exploring, they can take the tour anytime they want. For better access, you can include the virtual tour link in the header and footer of your site. Plus, your admissions page should also be embedded with the tour.

Apart from these strategies, make sure you include the tour link in email signatures and promote it across social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. While LinkedIn is a place where you will find more alumni than prospective students, the tour can help them fall in love with their alma mater all over again and share it with others.    By keeping these tips for college virtual tour during COVID handy, you can attract more applications than you probably thought was possible. And if you need a bit of professional guidance to create a tour that reflects all of the above and turns out to be a major success, shoot us an email at info@massinteract.com.   

Read – 10 College Campus Virtual Tours You Should Check Out

top 10 College Campus Virtual Tours

10 College Campus Virtual Tours You Should Check Out

Virtual tours have become a marketing buzzword for colleges for quite some time now. And the pandemic has made it crystal-clear why virtual is the way to go if you want students to explore your offerings from the comfort and safety of their homes. But, in order to stand out among countless colleges in the USA, just knowing how to create a virtual tour is not enough. Get ideas from these 10 college campus virtual tours that have stolen the show for many reasons. Read on.

  1. Marietta College – This tour starts with a sweeping view of the lush college ground and stately architectures. Prospective students can explore every corner, starting from Harrison Hall and Fayerweather Hall to Anderson Hancock Planetarium and Hermann Fine Arts Center. It is easy to zoom in, zoom out, and ‘Apply’ or ‘Visit’. A map shows the exact location of the college and its surroundings.

  2. Northwest Mississippi Community College – Listed among the top 10 college virtual tours, it shows a crisp menu on the left side so that students can click on the part of the campus they wish to explore, be it the academic building, the residence hall or the athletic facilities. Apart from buttons that make contacting the college or applying easy, the tour has plenty of social share buttons.

  3. Covenant College – The fact that the campus is surrounded by gorgeous scenery becomes evident from the virtual tour’s start. The stunning architecture, as well as the Barnes Gymnasium, Kresge Memorial Library and Lucas Art Workshop, are covered by this tour. Navigation is super simple and students can share the tour on social media channels quickly.  

  4. Virginia Tech – A mix of aerial and panoramic views greet you when you start this tour. The campus layout, the verdant surroundings and the beautiful buildings can impress any prospective student. Availability of buttons for navigation, zooming, rotation and viewing and sharing the tour map make this one of the top college virtual tours.

  5. Webster Vienna Private University – This virtual tour allows students to explore the university floor by floor with the help of an easy menu on the left. A map in the corner makes real-life navigation easy. The tour takes you all around the beautiful vintage-style establishment, while focusing on the facilities.

  6. Ohio State University Mansfield Campus – Made stylishly, this virtual tour takes you through the Ovalwood Hall, Conard Hall, Memorial Center, Village Apartments and Eco-Lab Wetlands. The gorgeous lawns and contemporary structures add to the appeal. Buttons for scheduling a visit, applying and registering are clearly visible at the bottom.

  7. West Liberty University – From the College Hall and College Union to athletic spaces and educational halls like Campbell and Arnett, this virtual tour offers a holistic view of this university. Students can click and explore any place in any sequence they like. Social share, audio and VR buttons are on the right.
  8. Illinois State University – Gorgeously landscaped grounds and modern structures have been highlighted in this tour through aerial views. As one of the top college campus virtual tours, it is straightforward, with options to check out academics, athletics and student life. Crisp pop-ups explain important aspects of the campus. You can download the tour for offline viewing too.

  9. Mississippi Valley State University – This tour starts with the image of the campus wrapped around our planet, for a unique feel. On clicking, the image expands to a close-up of the university. Students can explore every part of the campus, starting from William Sutton Administration Building and R.W. Harrison Complex to Business Education Building and J.H. White Library. Aerial views and campus videos are available too.

  10. Cambridge College – The ultramodern architecture of the college makes for a great start to the tour. Minimalistic pop-ups appear to provide important information, while the menu on the left side allows students to explore the entrance, atrium, standard and skyfold classrooms, seminar rooms and more.

So, you now have a fair idea about what makes top college campus virtual tours click, right? An immersive, interactive experience that highlights the best things about your institution and reveals the real picture of student life is what prospective applicants look for. Plus, the tour needs to be easy to take and should feature actionable options. Looking to create a smashing tour soon? Shoot us an email at info@massinteract.com.

Virtual Tour of a College

Things to Remember While Creating a Virtual Tour of a College

There was a time when students used to visit multiple colleges in person before they could decide which one to go for. Thanks to technology though, virtual tours are slowly and surely replacing physical campus visits and making the experience easier and more affordable for students. But, what you need to understand is that many colleges are taking the virtual tour route, especially in the wake of COVID, and you need to go the extra mile to stand out. So, here are some tips for college virtual tours that will come in handy.   

  1. Hire professionals to make the tour – Creating an immersive, interesting and highly informative tour is not a cakewalk. Professionals who know A to Z about photography and videography can help though as they have enough knowledge about where to shoot, how to shoot and when to shoot. They can advise you as to what to focus on, the kind of extra information you can include and how you can bring in more applications.  

  2. Include information that is not there on Google – This is one of the top things to consider for college virtual tours. Students can easily find out about the departments you have, courses you offer, the kind of faculty you boast and so on, with a simple Google search. So, your virtual tour should show something extra, like what are the latest majors, what kind of food your cafeteria serves, and activities that students enjoy on weekends. 

  3. Help students make informed decisions – If a student is taking multiple college virtual tours, they will want to compare every minute aspect before taking a call. Plus, many applicants have specific questions related to academics, sports, exchange programs, and so on. So, highlight every aspect of your institution, ranging from the classrooms, dorms and labs to gym, library, garden and pool. This will help students decide if your college fits what they have in mind. Highlight past achievements of students or where they got placed to earn confidence.

    Read – How Virtual College Tours are Changing the Student Recruitment Game

  4. Create a tour for all gadgets – Among all the tips for college virtual tours, you can’t miss this. Remember that students don’t always lug around their laptop or crack it open whenever they want to check out a college tour. They might want to go through it on their mobile devices while hanging out with friends. So, make sure your tour is mobile-friendly too and not just desktop-friendly. And don’t forget to make it easily shareable via messaging apps and social media channels.  

  5. Be careful about the lighting and décor – Usually, outdoor shots are taken right before sunset for the best colors and contrasts, while indoor shots can look amazing even with artificial lighting. However, if your college receives ample sunlight, professionals might not suggest artificial sources for indoor shots. Talk to them to figure out the best time, angles, and atmosphere.  Plus, make sure every area you shoot is absolutely clean and is decorated to reflect your college’s values. Anything that might be offensive to any kind of student should be removed.

  6. Allow students to reach out – No matter how exhaustive and informative your college tour is, students will always have questions at the end of the tour or even somewhere in between. For instance, while they are exploring lecture halls, they might wonder if the faculty offers extra lessons if required. Or, while exploring the fitness center and sports ground, their parents might wonder about the kind of safety provisions in place. So, insert numbers or email addresses of admissions staff and student representatives wherever needed.

The above guide to virtual campus tours will make it easy for you to plan and execute a tour that convinces students to apply. And since these tours are easy to embed as well, you can feature them on your website, social media platform and even use them for email marketing. As far as professional help and advice is concerned, just email us at info@massinteract.com and we will get back to you to discuss your needs in detail.   

Must Read – Get Your College the Attention It deserves with a Custom Virtual Tour

college virtual tours

6 Reasons Why Colleges Need Virtual Tours to Attract Students In 2020

Around 1.4 million people viewed college campus virtual tours between March and April in 2020 (as per YouVisit). This alone shows how important these tours are as digital marketing tools. Long gone are the days when prospective students or their parents went through college brochures or visited every single campus on their list to make a decision. Moreover, the recent pandemic has forced colleges to restrict in-person visits for the sake of students’ safety. Hence, you need an impressive online presence to attract students. And there’s nothing better than virtual tours to help you with that.

Wondering why? Read on.

  1. Highlights the best and unique aspects of your campus – Whether you have a beautiful lawn, state of the art library, funky cafeteria or an amazing location, a custom college virtual tour can showcase all that in the best light. This way, students can quickly zero in on what’s special about your college and why they should choose you over others.
  2. Saves cost, time and hassle – Apart from keeping prospective students safe during this pandemic, virtual tours let them explore your campus without travelling long distances or wasting time. Students get to save money and energy too.  

    Read – Top Online Marketing Tips to Boost College Admissions

  3. Offers students a familiar and personal experience – The best part about custom college virtual tours is they help students visualize themselves on your campus. Candidates can explore all nooks and crannies, become familiar with what will become their home for the next four years.
  4. Tells a story – Virtual tours for colleges are a brilliant way to spin a compelling story about your institution’s history, milestones and achievements. For instance, students will prefer seeing impressive statistics during the virtual tour (like number of medals won when you are showing the sports arena or the percentage of students who got placed last year) rather than read about them in the form of plain text on the website.
  5. Easy to embed on website and social media channels – When you create a custom virtual tour for students, you create a marketing resource that can be used across different channels for years to come. You can embed these tours on your website and also share on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and so on. This means, you will get more traffic and leads without spending money on ads. It’s a smart way to boost brand awareness and generate interest. Plus, those who watch these virtual tours can share them with others quickly without your intervention.

    Read – How Virtual College Tours are Changing the Student Recruitment Game

  6. Earns trust and helps you stand out from competitors – Virtual tours tell prospective students that your college has nothing to hide and you are proud of your offerings. This, in turn, earns their trust. Also, by adding a virtual tour to your Google My Business listing, you can make your college stand out from others. It will make you easier to find on Google when local students search for a college like yours. Additionally, having a virtual tour will mean that you are aware of the latest trends and this will attract students in 2020.   

To wrap up, custom college campus virtual tours are your best bet, whether it is about spreading awareness or generating the right leads or getting more applications. All you need to do is create a tour that is interactive, immersive, premium quality and exclusive. And if you need a bit of expert help, shoot us an email at info@massinteract.com.  

Must Read – Get Your College the Attention It deserves with a Custom Virtual Tour

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