When you get potential students to visit your campus, their chances of enrollment increase drastically. But what if they don't have the time, lack the money, or live too far away, to actually make the trip?
A virtual campus experience allows colleges and universities to bridge the gaps in these cases. Virtual tours help out-of-state and international students envision themselves at your institution, providing an overview of what it's actually like to be a college student.
To get to that point, however, you have to get the tactic just right. A good virtual campus experience is more than just a static representation of your physical location. Done right, it allows your audience to get an in-depth view of your school, from the comfort of their own home. With these 5 steps, you can get to that point:
1) Consider Your Audience
Let's begin with a simple marketing truth that rings true for this topic, as well: you have to start planning your virtual campus experience with your audience in mind. From the time you start planning a virtual tour or set of videos, make sure that you know exactly what potential students and their parents are looking for.
Chances are that you already have some of this information at your fingertips. Most schools conduct admitted student and freshman attitudinal surveys that highlight the most important 'selling points' of their institution. Narrow it down to the aspects that relate to your location and campus life, and you know where to focus your virtual experience.
2) Showcase Your Academic Facilities
If your goal is to showcase life on campus, your academic facilities have to play a major role. After all, this is where students will spend their time during the school week. Parents especially love to get this type of information. Some highlights you can include are:
Academic buildings and classrooms, particularly those recently updated with new technology.
Your library, especially the study and computer areas.
Laboratories in your science building.
Study rooms for commuters.
3) Highlight Housing and Student Life
Of course, while parents and high-achieving students may love learning about your academics, envisioning themselves on campus means highlighting your student life aspects, as well. Any virtual experience should absolutely include a look inside your dorm halls, along with typical hangout spots and student lounges.
The goal of your virtual tour and videos, of course, is to allow prospects who cannot physically visit to envision themselves as students at your school. Eating areas, sports facilities and workout rooms, and even green space for the warmer months are all part of that equation.
4) Get Your Creative Just Right
Once you know the scope of your virtual experience, it's time to work on the creative necessary to actually convey your school's biggest benefits. Your students are looking for an approximation of actually visiting campus, which means you have to get the creative just right.
As mentioned above, a few static images just will not do. Instead, dig into your treasure chest to unearth videos, 360 degree photos, and more. You can even include some virtual reality experience, if the budget is available.
5) Create a Consistent Experience
Finally, creating a consistent experience for any visitor is key to your success. Put simply, your audience should not watch a video and come away with a feeling that's different in any way from the images they've seen about your campus.
Instead, all components - from your interactive campus map to individual videos and images - should work together to tell a single story about your campus. If your goal is truly helping your audience make the decision to become a student at your campus, it makes sense to pull out all the stops in getting to that point.
To get there, we'd love to help. StudentBridge has helped a wide range of schools build a better virtual campus experience, thanks to a focus on dynamic, interactive content that maximizes student experience. Visit our website to learn more about our services, or tour the virtual experiences we have created for clients like you.