3 New Ways to Host a Campus Tour

college tour at Loyola University

We’ve all heard the saying “seeing is believing.” In the case of university campus tours, the sentiment certainly holds true. In a recent survey we conducted of 325 high-school juniors and seniors, 78% of the respondents reported that a college tour increased their likelihood of attending that college. So how do you get more students to tour your school, especially those who can’t make the trip? You bring your campus to them.

Here are three new ways your university can host a campus tour.

Virtual Reality

Photo courtesy of YouVisit

With technology in the field of virtual reality constantly improving, universities can make quality tours accessible to students and their families in a visually stunning format. This VR tour would allow you to see 360 degrees of a scene as if you were standing on campus.  But beyond the impressive technology, the benefit of this tour comes in its customization options – think of the places or events you could highlight on a virtual tour that you wouldn’t be able to showcase on a standard tour: a peek inside classrooms (in session!), dormitories and cafeterias, or a packed football arena on homecoming weekend. Utilizing a virtual tour highlights every area a prospect would want to see on campus, plus those they might not get to see due to logistical problems.

While prospects can use VR headsets for an immersive view, these tours can also be uploaded and viewed on Facebook without significant equipment upgrades. This allows prospects to easily pass along the experience to friends and family, broadening its reach.

YouTube Tours

YouTube Tour

Another way to expand the reach of your campus tour is to produce one on your YouTube account. This allows your university to create highly customized tours without the added expense of a virtual reality production. With YouTube, you have the ability to create tours unique to each college – one for liberal arts, one for the business school, etc. These can be more personalized than a general student tour and show off the places students in these colleges spend the most time.

A YouTube tour also gives you the opportunity to highlight off-campus draws that you likely wouldn’t have the time or ability to show families on a standard tour. After all, if these prospects are going to commit to four years at your university, they need to know what life surrounding the university will be like. Think about how you can show off the best restaurants, shopping and favorite local attractions outside the campus boundaries.

If this seems like the route you’re most likely to take, check out our latest post on creating more compelling YouTube content for universities.

Social Media Campus Tour

snap tour
Photo courtesy of Princeton. Snapchat tour on the left, Instagram Stories tour on the right.

While a campus tour on YouTube may attract a broad audience, creating a series campus tours on Instagram or Snapchat allows you to engage with your young prospects where they already are. With Instagram Stories and Snapchat available at your fingertips, there are plenty of opportunities to create visually compelling stories that reflect the beauty and history of your campus. Since these types of tours disappear in 24 hours, it allows you university to produce multiple tours without over-crowding your feed.

“Instagram is the new college lookbook” – Thom Atkinson, Indiana University

A popular student athlete could host a “takeover” and describe the places he/she regularly goes on campus, a behind-the-scenes look at your athletic facilities and favorite places in town. This makes the tour more personal and gives it added sincerity since it’s run by a student and not the university. It also increases the number of views since the student can promote it on his/her own social channels. Back in the day, wouldn’t you have loved to see the Michael Phelps tour of the University of Michigan? I certainly would have.

But if disappearing Snaps aren’t your thing, consider publishing these tours directly to your Instagram profile for a longer lasting end product. The benefit of these beautiful visual tours is that they are highly shareable, which allows current or graduated students to share them with friends and family who may be interested in your school.

By utilizing digital and social media tools for campus visits, it affords prospects and their families an easy way to get a look into life at your school. We know that seeing a campus leads to a significant increase in affinity for your university and we hope these opportunities provide you with a way to bring your campus to prospects everywhere.

What’s the best digital campus you’ve seen? Tweet us at @StoriedU and let us know!

About Lily Homstad

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