Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | May 30th, 2024

Virtual College Tours: Reimagine Student Engagement

Virtual college toursIn a post-Covid world, prospective students are no longer limited by their physical proximity to campus. Virtual college tours have become the norm, offering prospective students an opportunity to “visit” an institution and imagine themselves on campus from the comfort of their homes. Even though this modern phenomenon opens a world of opportunities for busy prospects, the demand for engaging virtual campus tours has created an increasingly tricky challenge for admissions offices to navigate.

Consider these innovative approaches to virtual events to help you create authentic, memorable, and engaging virtual experiences that ensure your institution will stay top-of-mind for your most desirable prospects.

Highlight Student Experiences and User-Generated Content

Campus virtual tours present a unique opportunity to harness the power of user-generated content (UGC) to highlight authentic student outcomes, create a memorable experience for the visitor, and help prospective students see themselves joining your program. Student and graduate testimonials, social media posts and reviews, and live Q and A sessions with admissions counselors, faculty members, and alumni provide an unfiltered glimpse into campus life, program experiences, and graduate outcomes. This candid approach adds a layer of authenticity and relatability that prospects may not find during other institution’s virtual events.

Embedding curated social media feeds into virtual tour platforms can show real-time updates and organic experiences from campus events and hands-on classroom experiences. Student-led video testimonials and live streaming Q and A sessions allow prospective students to hear directly from outstanding students and alumnae about their academic journeys and success stories while encouraging engagement and participation from both parties. Programs can even host photo or video challenges to encourage students to share their experiences with a specific audience. Leveraging these types of UGC fosters a sense of community, cultivates an authentic and immersive online event experience for prospects, and highlights the diversity and spirit of your institution.

Embrace Virtual Reality Experiences

Virtual reality (VR) experiences have emerged as a powerful tool in creating an immersive virtual event experience. Through VR headsets and interactive online platforms, prospects can visit classrooms, labs, and campus landmarks on their own time and according to their unique interests. VR experiences can also be tailored to the specific interests of individual prospects while allowing them to visualize themselves as a part of the community.

VR also provides increased accessibility to those who may be unable to visit campus because of physical limitations or socioeconomic barriers. By leveraging VR technology, institutions can ensure that everyone, despite their background or circumstances, has access to an immersive college virtual tour.

Stand Out with 360-Degree Virtual College Tours

Virtual tours and events of all kinds have become commonplace. For your institution to stand out in the crowd, the experience must move beyond simple static images or pre-recorded videos. Utilizing 360-degree virtual campus tours allows you to incorporate interactive elements like clickable hotspots, videos, virtual guides, live chatbots, and “raise your hand” features that foster a sense of curiosity, increase engagement, and allow prospects to build their own visit experience. Immersing visitors in a VR experience that simulates realistic scenarios like being in a classroom or working in a lab creates a memorable experience and showcases campus facilities.

Embracing UGC, VR, and 360 virtual college tours prioritizes a wide variety of prospect experiences and allows them to engage with your brand on a deeper, more authentic level. By harnessing the power of technology, institutions can forge meaningful connections with prospects, share student stories that encompass the campus experience, and get closer to reaching their enrollment goals.