Heather Sumperl May 27, 2020 9:50:56 AM

The Campus Visit Conundrum: Transforming the Traditional College Tour

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It should come as no surprise that the campus visit ranks as the single most important recruitment activity impacting enrollment yield. In fact, 96% of enrollment professionals cited the campus visit as among the top five admissions events in effectiveness as reported by RNL’s 2018 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Report. However, enrollment staff are not the only ones riding on the success of the campus visit. 

The campus tour is something we never questioned as part of the college search process. Before the global pandemic, prospects visited an average of 3 schools before making a selection. A solid influence in the decision-making process, the in-person campus tour serves as a way for students, and parents, to form connections with a school socially and psychologically. 

With most looking to make a four-year commitment to a college or university, fit and feel are crucial denominators. Students need to see where they will be living, what extracurricular activities are available to them, and who they will surround themselves with. The in-person campus tour serves to showcase academics and facilities but also for prospects to get a sense of the social aspect of student life. 

Enter COVID-19. 

Over the past several months, colleges and universities have had to shut their doors to the in-person visit. As schools grapple with reopening their campuses, one thing is certain, the traditional tour will take on a different look. There are several scenarios to consider when navigating the challenges of the campus visit post-coronavirus:

  • When campuses reopen, schools will face an influx of visitors
  • Social distancing guidelines will make group tours difficult
  • Unavailability or shortage of campus guides 

Under any circumstances, the worst possible scenario is a prospective student arrives on campus only to be told there are no tours available and handed a printed map. Enrollment professionals might cringe at the thought of the paper guide, but until recently, options have been limited. 

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Never Miss Another Conversion with VisiTOUR

Several schools are reporting great success with the implementation of VisiTOUR, StudentBridge’s web-based, virtual tour app. VisiTOUR leverages the power of Google Maps to guide on-site visitors through campus using 360° images, videos, audio and text to highlight each stop on the tour. And, by integrating Name Capture, enrollment professionals can build their database of interested, prospective students anytime and from anywhere.  

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Not only does it act as a virtual guide, VisitTOUR facilitates emotional rapport by connecting prospective students with their potential futures. Students can choose to follow designated tours or design their own based on academic and social interests.  And the best part, there is no download necessary!

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Finally, VisiTOUR addresses the dilemma of the stealth student visitor by allowing admissions professionals to engage with their prospects through technology. Stealth campus visitors can come from anywhere: a visiting friend, campus drive-by, or an after-hours drop-in. Without previous arrangement, these stealth visitors typically miss out on the highlights of a formal campus tour. With VisiTOUR, colleges can bring the on-campus experience to all visitors, 24/7, with or without a guide.

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.

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Source: © 2018 Ruffalo Noel Levitz | 2018 Marketing and Student Recruitment Report of Effective Practices

Topics: Admissions, Virtual Campus Tour, Higher Ed Marketing, Student Recruitment, Campus Tour, Higher Education

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