Once the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the normal college-seeking process for high school students, many universities and colleges pivoted to virtual reality (VR) campus tours. With college enrollments down nationwide in the U.S., college admissions and marketing departments say VR tours are now a vital component of the college selection process.
Hundreds of U.S. colleges now provide prospective students with web-based virtual tours, complete with interactive experiences and videos designed to be compatible across all devices. Some schools are providing virtual reality tours, including providing VR headsets to those students who have been accepted into their programs.
VR tours have become a critical tool for attracting students who may not have the time or money to afford an in-person campus visit — two resources many high school students don’t have in abundance.
Making the tour into what is essentially a video game makes the virtual college visit fun and engaging for many students. This is in stark contrast to an in-person tour during the summer, where high school prospects will walk an empty campus trying to envision what the academic year might look like; a relatively uninspiring activity.
What VR Tours Provide
A virtual experience has many more opportunities for staging the best possible tour available, at all times. Prospective students can take in the big game from the sidelines, witness students in a science lab working on a cool project or catch a concert on the quad — a truly immersive experience where students can get a feel for what it’s like to be part of campus life.
Additionally, prospective college athletes don’t have to have an in-person visit to a campus to get a good idea of what the school and its athletic facilities have to offer. As National Collegiate Athletic Conference transfers have become more prevalent, athletes can visit a school virtually without having to leave their living room.
Today’s high school students are savvy media consumers. They are well aware that virtual tours and other university-produced content are intended to be marketing tools. To get unbiased content, they also look at a school’s TikTok, Instagram and YouTube channels to find first-person, user-generated content from other students.
Experts say visiting social media channels is a good way for students to make the most of their virtual school vetting efforts. As a result, schools are enabling students to provide their own content on the university’s social media pages, to add authenticity on what a typical day is like on a campus for the average student.
Virtual Reality Tours of Your Campus
If you have questions about strategies for winning over new students through VR tours, reach out to MaxWave3D today!
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