Before students enroll at your university, they want to have a clear picture of what to expect and what it feels like to be a student on your campus. But, over the last decade, fewer and fewer students have been able to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to get that in-person experience at all their schools of interest.
Now, post-pandemic, even fewer can travel around the country touring all of the colleges on their list. Does that mean you need to stick to recruiting locally? Not at all. Gen Z lives their life online, and for them, digital experiences can be as immersive and authentic as the real deal.
Online college tours are a must for college recruiting. If your university isn't sure where to start, here is your quick and simple guide to integrating virtual college tours for high school students into your online marketing.
1. Embrace the Virtual Experience
Most of your prospective students live on their smartphones and have access to a laptop and/or tablet. Embracing a truly immersive digital experience means moving beyond the typical college recruitment videos into a 360-degree immersive environment where the student can explore just as they would if they visited in person. If this sounds intimidating, don't worry, our digital experience specialists excel at creating these environments.
2. Create Separate Tours for Different Schools
A fine arts major won't have the same experience as a student majoring in sports medicine, for example. While it is tempting to stick with a general online college tour that serves as many students as possible, Gen Z expects personalized online content.
In addition to your broader virtual college tour, create separate ones for each school, allowing prospective students to wander the halls of the buildings they will be learning in, exploring studio and laboratory spaces and listening to current students to make it easier for them to picture themselves as part of your student body.
3. Integrate Your Story
While prospective students want to be seen as unique individuals, their interest in personalization doesn't stop at themselves. They also want to know what makes your university unique. What is your story? What do you offer that the 10-20 other colleges they are considering don't? This needs to be woven into the virtual tour experience. Without it, your college is just another name on a list.
4. Partner With Professionals
Designing a virtual reality college tour experience isn't easy, and if you go it alone, you may be missing some key pieces. Is your site ADA compliant? Do you have the data and analytics to view usage and metrics? Can you easily make updates to the site? Skip the pitfalls and the learning curve by working with a professional virtual tour company like StudentBridge. We excel at creating immersive online experiences that drive engagement and increase applications. To learn more, schedule a meeting today.