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

4 Best Practices to Create Successful Virtual Tours in Higher Education

Thanks to the intense competition online businesses face these days (with every small and big brand vying for customer attention), it isn’t surprising that many of them are using virtual tours to gain a competitive edge. And it’s not just hotels, gyms and spas that are using these 360 degree tours to attract and engage potential customers. Higher education institutes like colleges and universities have also adopted these tours to bring in more applications and make the students’ online experience better. Moreover, the COVID outbreak made it essential for colleges to replace in-person campus visits with virtual tours for introduction and orientation. In fact, close to 1.4 million people watched campus virtual tours on YouVisit from March to April this year.

However, with so many virtual tours for education out there, you need to follow these best practices, to stand out and convince students to choose you over others:    

  1. Tell a story – Did you know that the average age of those who take virtual tours of colleges is 16.6? This means, they are at that juncture of life when they have plenty of dreams as well as questions, and they are keen to know if your college will take care of them and nurture their ambitions. So, your virtual tour should clearly tell them why you are unique as an institution and better than others. It might be your awesome location, beautiful campus, great recreational facilities, vast library or the exclusive courses you offer. Here is how the Art Institute of Vancouver nailed it.
  2. Focus on the basics – No matter how wonderful your college virtual tour is, it won’t engage with students unless it is easy to find and navigate. So, have it on the Home page of your website or on the Admissions page. The tour should load quickly but look compelling too. Share the tour on social media pages as students are more likely to come across it there, given their age. Also, the tour should be easy to explore across all devices. Check out how University of Windsor is making it happen.   

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

  3. Ensure an immersive experience – This basically means that students should be able to imagine themselves on your campus, in various settings, whether they are doing their own thing or interacting with others. In other words, your college virtual tour shouldn’t just be a walk through the different campus areas or facilities. Like, instead of just showing what the cafeteria or classrooms look like, cover the types of foods served or students attending a live teaching session. Highlight students having fun in the dormitories or counselors offering career guidance. This will show candidates that your institution is a living, breathing affair and can actually cater to their needs.   
  4. Use Call to Action or CTA for better engagement – University virtual tours need to incorporate powerful and specific call to actions to convert the viewer into an applicant. For example, if your tour zeroes in on the admission office at the end, include a button for application here to nudge the prospective candidate to apply online. Or, if your state and city regulations permit, you can add a link to schedule an in-person visit later on. CTAs can also encourage a student to ask more questions or connect on social media.   

To wrap up, virtual tours have become absolutely necessary for higher education institutes to reel in candidates, impress them, and establish a meaningful connection. After all, this year, high school students are checking out such tours at a 228% higher rate than in 2019. So, if you feel that you need some expert guidance to put together a unique virtual tour, just email us at info@massinteract.com

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

Top