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  • Writer's pictureAni Kodjabasheva

New Recruitment Tools: Interactive Virtual Campus Tours

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

Universities are deploying digital recruitment solutions for autumn 2020.

Securing enrolment for autumn 2020 and beyond is now a growing concern for universities. Campus tours have always been a powerful student recruitment tool. How can institutions provide this illuminating experience at a time of social isolation and profound uncertainty?

Application and enrolment decision

The choice to enrol in a particular program is ultimately an instinctive one, and a campus visit can make a big difference, according to a radio segment by National Public Radio (NPR) (US). Campus visits also play a key role at earlier stages – in order to shortlist desired universities and prepare a strong application.

Currently, one issue is that prospective students, especially international students, but local as well, are unable to travel to visit universities due to coronavirus prevention measures.

How can a virtual campus tour become more immersive?

While in-person campus tours may not be possible at the moment, there are alternatives. A survey of 250 higher education professionals conducted by EAB found that universities are increasing their online presence and experimenting with new tools to reach prospective students.

The survey results show that 62% of institutions are arranging video conferences for candidates. Social media is a key tool: 46% of respondents held live events on their social media platforms.

Additionally, 54% of respondents said they are promoting a previously developed virtual tour, while 26% are creating such a tour. An immersive online experience can give prospective students a feel for the campus.

In an effort to engage applicants, the University of Virginia (US) has asked tour guides to make videos on the platform TikTok, NPR reports. The guides narrate their experiences as students and they show glimpses of the campus. This platform also allows applicants to message the tour guides.

Chat availability is an important part of engaging prospective students, according to Marie Bingham, founder and co-leader of the non-profit ACCEPT, quoted by NPR.

By combining these tools, universities can create a sense of connection and belonging for prospective students even without a campus visit. As an added benefit, these new recruitment approaches can broaden access and attract more qualified applicants who may generally be unable to travel.

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