When researching higher education institutions, prospective students want an authentic peek into what life is like on campus. The ability to provide this sneak peek is a powerful tool in your institution’s recruitment process. Students who feel as if they have a deep understanding of your campus, your programs, and student life at your institution are more likely to become applicants than those who receive a more generic introduction to your school. Among on-campus college tour companies, StudentBridge stands out as offering personalized tools that result in conversions. StudentBridge’s VisiTOUR web-based app allows visiting prospective students to engage with your campus in precisely the way they want. As a result, they get the insight they seek to make their decision about where to attend.
From the personalized touch of social media, advertising targeted directly to a person’s interests, and even the customization of the home screen on your phone, we’re now enrolling a generation raised on personalized web apps. In short: they expect nothing less.
By providing a personalized experience for prospects, admissions departments can showcase all aspects of their campus that are outstanding or unique, while allowing anyone who steps foot on campus to curate their own self-guided tour. Not only prospects but their families, friends, and any campus visitor can quickly access–via QR codes–videos, 360-degree images, and photos from any building or key location on campus that each school wants to highlight. Today’s prospective students expect nothing less than a technologically savvy campus. Meeting these prospects where they are can be a compelling tool, swaying them in your favor.
The student recruitment process begins way before a student comes on campus. But when they do arrive–either as a known visitor or a stealth visitor–the on-campus experience is the most powerful tool campuses say they have to influence the final decisions of prospects. Making the most of this opportunity, schools should use every tool available to provide the best-personalized and most customized experience for each student possible. When anyone accesses the self-guided maps and tours, it connects your admissions department to that prospect. You can remain engaged with these visitors from that moment onward.
On-campus self-guided tours offer flexibility not only for visitors but also for often understaffed admissions departments. In terms of both availability and personalization, our app for self-guided tours offers advantages that a standard in-person campus tour can’t. Our app increases your admissions department’s ability to reach more students with high-quality, 24/7, meaningful insights about your entire campus and institution.
Colleges and Universities—and the prospective students researching them—are understandably looking forward to a return to in-person campus events. Admissions departments know that there is no substitute for an in-person visit to campus; these are among the most effective ways to recruit students. But since Covid, students, and their families are now accustomed to accessing most information virtually, they will continue to expect virtual access to campus details and other information.
And there are other benefits to a recruitment model that includes virtual elements: more students can afford to attend, and the cost of travel is not a barrier. Many institutions are embracing a hybrid approach going forward, wherein prospective students can get an in-person experience and also access online content that provides greater detail, more personalization, and customization which in the end aids in recruitment. Self-guided tours, created by students and driven completely by their choices and interests, fit squarely into this hybrid model by offering flexibility to students and schools: students can engage with your institution in a variety of ways at any time and on their terms and schools can offer greater availability for personalizing on-campus tours and providing more detailed and professionally produced information.
While on-campus tours are an indispensable element in student recruitment, they also have limitations. The typical tour is led by a student ambassador, whose experience and point of view are specific to that individual and could vary from tour to tour based on personal experiences. In addition, logistical and time constraints prevent tour guides from showcasing every building and location of interest on campus. A hybrid approach allows your institution to embrace both the traditional in-person tours and a self-guided, technology-driven model. VisiTOUR facilitates on-campus, in-person tour guides that can showcase any and all campus locations, and act as an ongoing resource for prospective students seeking additional information. Instead of going back to pre-Covid expectations and habits about campus tours, admissions departments can meet visitors’ desire for hybrid tour experiences by offering customizable tours on the VisiTOUR web-based app.
A self-guided on-campus tour experience is especially valuable for reaching stealth visitors. As admissions departments are aware, many prospective students simply arrive on your campus on their own and make their decision about whether to apply without ever interfacing with the institution or its admissions department. Providing them with an informative, interactive experience on your campus would ensure that they leave with a meaningful understanding of what their future could look like at your institution.
Your VisiTOUR campus tour can be available to anyone, anytime. This allows students and families to avoid the difficult process of scheduling multiple visits at strategic times. QR codes lead directly to your institution's VisiTOUR self-guided tour can be distributed and displayed in the most prominent and frequently visited buildings on your campus. Student recruitment and exposure to what your school offers are therefore ongoing well beyond the packed springtime months when traditional campus tours are typically scheduled.
The VisiTOUR mobile web app is web-based. Users do not have to download anything to access it. No matter a student’s (or parent’s or grandparent’s) comfort level with technology, the technology is easy to use.
Imagine a visitor on your campus simply scanning a QR code and having instant access to all campus hot spots and points of interest on your campus 24/7. They can then tour the part of your campus they are most interested in–from residential halls to the engineering department to the basketball arena. Or perhaps it's a potential graduate student interested only in their department–where will they commit to learning, teaching, and working for the next few years? If they specifically tour only one department on campus, you’ll have that information now. Your ability to now communicate with that prospective student based on their personalized interests has improved dramatically.
The details of a prospect’s visit aren’t lost. As a prospect tours a campus, based on their unique interests, they create a personalized map themselves–if you will–regarding what they care about. Hot Spots, where users can access videos, 360 images, and photos, provide visitors an in-depth view of different aspects of the facilities, faculty, academics, and campus life. The interests they reveal can help your admissions department turn present-day visitors into future students.
With an on-campus personalized tour, institutions can offer an unlimited number of curated campus tours–every prospect creates their own. Hot Spots give quick access to the key buildings and areas either on or off your campus. Each campus can also create predetermined tours for prospects with a narrow focus–like a business major tour, a potential athlete tour, or a tour curated for a fine arts major.
Prospects can also create a “build-your-own” tour. They simply plug in what they want to see, build, and press go.
Our personalized app is the perfect hand-off after a prospect takes a traditional tour. From there, they can wander campus at their own pace, pursuing their independent interests. This type of hybrid approach–from a walk with a guide to a stroll with their digital partner–is key in connecting students to potential life on your campus.
Prospective students can, therefore “see” what a building looks like, even if that building is closed or inaccessible to the public. Our videos are professionally produced, available 24/7, and they’re done perfectly. When accessing a Hot Spot, prospects are going to see fantastic quality of images, videos, and 360 views that immerses the visitor into your stories.
On a traditional campus tour, the guide walks and talks; information is shared with visitors in real-time. VisiTOUR mimics this experience by providing audio and voiceovers that play throughout the tour. Visitors can therefore listen, walk, and view locations as they are being described. With VisiTOUR, prospective students can get an authentic feel for the pace and culture of the campus as they listen and observe.
Your website is the most valuable tool for prospects to gather information about your campus, community, and people. Everything within the app connects with your .edu website creating another access point to your school’s site. Each page on the VisiTOUR platform includes buttons that lead directly to the appropriate page on your school’s .edu website. Users can request more information and even apply to your school directly from the VisiTOUR platform.
Let’s face it. Few of this generation’s prospective students read traditional maps. Meet them where they are now, not where they were 10 years ago. Today’s students expect digital interactive maps. In addition, eliminating paper maps is a way for your institution to conserve resources and save money on printing costs.
If your admissions department is looking for on-campus college tour companies that provide meaningful campus tour experiences that are compatible with hybrid student recruitment models, then look no further. StudentBridge’s VisiTOUR web-based app provides a service to campus visitors and aids your recruitment efforts by offering a customizable experience that fosters a connection between prospective students and your institution. Contact StudentBridge today to learn more!
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