It’s the time of year when high school seniors start their college search in earnest. The clock is ticking down on application deadlines, and before they send theirs in, they want to be certain their application fees are money well spent.
One of the best ways to evaluate a college? Taking a tour.
The problem is that visiting multiple campuses can be expensive and time consuming, even if they are all located in the same area. That’s why students are turning to a solid alternative: virtual college tours.
In essence, it is a virtual experience that allows students to get a good feel for what life on campus is like. When done correctly, this is much more than embedded YouTube videos made by your AV department; it is an immersive experience that lets prospective students do everything from attending lectures to exploring the cafeteria with VR goggles.
Virtual tours of colleges are often so in-depth and realistic that they replace the real deal. So, if students are too far from your college or want to explore as many as possible, it’s time to give them options to tour your college virtually.
Virtual college tours are pretty new, so prospective students may not know how to approach them. This means you’ll need to step in and guide them.
Start by featuring the virtual tour prominently on your website. Most universities advertise their virtual college tour on the front page. If this isn’t the right choice for you, a tab dedicated to the virtual tour in the navigation bar is the second-best option.
Next, make sure navigating the tour is pretty intuitive. Everything should be clearly labeled and user friendly. Common elements include interactive campus maps, video chats with current students, virtual concerts, housing tours, and more.
For some of these, students can just jump right into the tour process. For others, they’ll need to sign up and schedule a date and time. Make sure the sign-up process is as easy as the tour.
We strongly suggest that as part of doing a virtual college tour, you offer students a live chat feature where they can get fast answers to any questions they might have.
A lot of universities have yet to offer virtual college tours, but don't be put off by the idea of change.