5 Must-Haves for Self-Guided Campus Tours

Heather Sumperl |Jan 19, 2021

While 65% of students list the campus visit as the most influential factor in enrolling, only 1% of colleges believe that campus visits will resume as normal in 2021.

And, for those that cling to the hope that the college tour will return to a pre-pandemic normal, showcasing the college campus on holidays and weekends, to walk-ins and large groups, and during high-volume seasons continues to pose a challenge.

If an official, in-person guided tour is out of the question, a self-guided tour is the next best way to visit campus. Here are 5 things you must include in your virtual tour to give visitors a full campus tour experience.

Paper maps are obsolete on the college campus. Not only are they an antiquated way to get around, most Gen-Z students have never held a physical map.

University campuses may be large, spanning blocks or even entire cities. And being born into technology, today’s students rely heavily on their mobile devices when figuring out how to get from point A to point B.

start-quotesWhen walking around the campus, no more maps with arrows, please.end-quotes

Reduce frustration and confusion by directing your on-site visitors through campus using the power of Google maps to highlight important stops along their self-guided tour.

StudentBridge asked students what elements they expected to see in a virtual college tour. And, while we saw a lot of overlap between the responses, it should come as no surprise that each individual had a unique set of qualifiers when deciding whether to apply.

start-quotesI want to be able to control my own tour so as to spend more time exploring some areas and less in others.end-quotes

Your virtual campus tour should be customizable to speak differently to students based on their interests. Be sure to hone in on extra-curricular activities that give students an outlet outside of the classroom.

Extracurricular involvement is an important part of the college experience as a whole. Show your prospects how you can help them experience the activities they enjoy most.

Your most valuable asset is the people, stories and value, not your buildings and walkways. How you recreate the college experience story is what will set your institution apart from the more than 4,000 higher ed institutions spanning the U.S.

start-quotesI’d like to see more than one person doing the tour so I get a feel for the different types of students on campus.end-quotes

When choosing a school, students seek out multiple sources of information to paint a picture of what life on campus could look like.

And, If you’re worried about a shrinking inquiry pool, a name capture feature is a great way to connect with your otherwise stealth student visitors.

College is an experience and university life is deeply ingrained as a right of passage.

start-quotesI want a better indication of what day-to-day life actually looks like. Tours usually just show buildings and landmarks on campus, so it’s hard to get a great idea of what it’s like to be a student there.end-quotes

Show prospective students what they really want to see:

→ A live look into a class in session

→ Day in the Life stories

→ A peek into residence and campus life

→ Events that show school spirit

Finally, institutions are differentiating themselves by highlighting the college experiences they can offer prospective students outside of their own “walls.”

start-quotesI went on a few in-person tours before COVID, and I would have liked to see more of the town around the school to get a better feel of where I would be living for the next four years.end-quotes

As an example, University of Louisville, a public university in Louisville, Kentucky, is emphasizing the positives of being in a metropolitan area by focusing on things they can offer like a progressive, bustling city with plenty of outdoor areas.

Similarly, Suffolk University, located in Boston, is looking to the surrounding areas outside of campus to sell their college experience.

A pandemic isn’t the only reason to adopt digital initiatives. Don’t miss another opportunity to showcase your campus when tours are overbooked or unavailable and book a free consultation with a member of our team to discuss your tour mitigation strategy.