The MassInteract Blog

How Virtual College Tours are Changing the Student Recruitment Game

Today, technology has transformed the way learning happens. At the same time, it has also changed the way students choose the institutions they want to attend. One of the most important tools enabling this shift is virtual campus tours. According to a collegiate survey, 36% of registered applicants said that they would like to have a virtual tour added for initial evaluation of the campus. An additional 30% of applicants (so now 66% of total applicants)expressed that a virtual tour was a “must-have”. What this means is that virtual tours are rapidly becoming one of the best marketing tools that Universities have at their disposal.

A virtual tour for college allows Universities to showcase their entire campus through an online tour. Virtual tours are very different from ordinary photos and video— they are built with Google Street Views, the technology used in Google Maps. Virtual tours create an experience that is completely immersive — making users feel as if they are actually on campus from the comfort of their own homes.

Whether it’s a breathtaking 360 panoramic view of the campus, user-generated videos, or even a guided voice tour, virtual tours offer an opportunity for colleges to highlight everything the campus experience has to offer.

Benefits of virtual tours for college/university campus

Increasing the outreach of open days

Most colleges/universities put a lot of effort into their open days — building detailed guided tours, finding volunteers, often housing visitors, and so on. However, only those students who live nearby, or those with limitless time and resources can afford to attend open days. With virtual tours, you can bring a large part of the campus tour experience into the homes of the students. In fact, a good virtual tour piques the students’ interest and actually results in a 30% increase in physical visits to campus, which in turn increases the conversion rates for applications and enrollment.

Increase international recruitment

A diverse campus provides the best learning environment — especially when you have students from across the world. But most international applicants don’t have the time or resources to travel all the way to your campus. A virtual tour serves as a great way of enabling these students to understand what your campus has to offer and actually keep you on their radar during the application process. It also allows them to share this experience with family, friends, and teachers— some of whom play a crucial part in the ultimate application decision.

More exposure

When students are viewing an easy, immersive virtual tour, chances are they will share exciting snapshots on their social media. This means you get easy access to their peer group — which is a crucial part of your target audience. This will again help you boost applications and subsequent enrollments.

Finding a connection with digital natives

Most applicants belong to one of two categories — Gen-Zers or late millennials. These people have grown up with technology in a way that previous generations haven’t. Using a virtual tour will help you connect with this audience in a way that more traditional marketing tools won’t.

Coming up higher on Google search results

When you use Google to build your virtual tour, all the virtual tour content is hosted on the Google database. This means you have an inherent advantage when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. Higher rankings mean you will be discovered much more easily by prospective applicants.

If you’re looking for ways to differentiate your campus and build that much-needed buzz for your college, few tools are as effective as a good virtual tour. If you want to get started on building a college campus virtual tour but are not sure how to go about it, reach out to us

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