Can virtual compete with the real thing?
The only way for a student to really get a feel for your campus is to visit. But what if your school is 3,000 miles away? The next best thing is providing a virtual campus tour on your website.
Almost every college and university website features a virtual campus tour, but some are definitely better than others. According to this year’s 2018 E-Expectations Trend Report, 59% of seniors and 63% of juniors said that virtual tours enhanced their likelihood of enrolling at a particular college or university.
What makes or breaks your virtual tour? Consider how an online campus tour compares with the real thing.
Online Campus Tours vs. Real Campus Visits
- Both should have tour guides. It’s important to understand that tour guides, both virtual and in person, are key influencers for prospective students. They should be relatable and provide personable bits of information as they hit the highlights of your campus. One benefit of a virtual tour? The guide never deviates from the script.
- Both showcase the best your campus has to offer. Prospective students want to be wowed. Feature new buildings, areas where students congregate, dining halls, dorms, and other places where students will spend the majority of their time.
- Virtual tours eliminate accessibility barriers. For students with certain disabilities, taking tours of several campuses can be a chore. Instead, a virtual tour allows them to get a feel for everything the campus can offer them, including assistance if needed. Just make sure you address their concerns. Once they see that there are appropriate accommodations, students are more likely to visit in person.
- Virtual tours are shorter. Students have short attention spans. They find it much easier to commit to a three-minute video or interacting with your virtual campus tour rather than taking a two-hour tour.
- Both should have complements. Don’t rely on tours alone to tell your story. Provide engaging student profiles, interactive maps, and thorough descriptions of popular classes. Together, students will have a better idea of what your institution is about.
- Friends and family can take a virtual tour together. Whereas a campus tour may find the student visiting with only a parent, virtual tours allow friends and family members to experience campus life and weigh in on the decision.
Despite the type of tour a prospective student chooses, you’ll need to make it easy. Place your virtual tour so that it’s easy to find on your website. The same goes for the form or button used to request a real campus tour.
If it is challenging to get your target prospects to campus for a tour, consider investing in a virtual one that gives them a feel for everything your college or university has to offer.
Interested in more data about engaging prospective students? Check out the 2018 E-Expectations Trend Report.