Monday, October 26, 2015

Virtual College Recruitment

Last blog post, I mentioned a bit how the Virtual Compass team worked with Ursuline College. This time, I thought it would be nice to take you in for a closer look into why Ursuline chose a virtual tour, what their tour highlights and why, and a little bit about our team’s inner-workings. Throughout, you’ll have the chance to see what we do and how we can help you should you also choose Virtual Compass to build a tour for you.

Ursuline College is a small liberal arts school in Pepper Pike, Ohio. The admissions team at Ursuline College chose to do something a bit different that placed them on the edge of new college recruitment techniques.  While most universities and colleges have not changed their recruiting campaigns, and most use the same approach as they did 50 years ago, Ursuline tried something new, and in doing so, is able to better position themselves as an innovative leader for college recruitments.

Choosing a virtual tour is showing prospective students that you understand the values they hold, the concerns they have, and the college life they want.  Current students want different things than prior generations, pushing admissions teams to consider alternative solutions.  There have been considerable value shifts as to what students expect from a college experience and it is the duty of the colleges to keep track of these changes and to make sure that they highlight what the students want to see.

For many millennial students, they are looking for different.  They want engagement from a college, the chance to picture themselves at yours, enjoying your campus.  I’ll be sure to write more in a later post about college branding and ways to position your college best.  For now, it’s more about recognizing that you, as an admissions team member, have to control each interaction that a student will have with your university and make sure their experience is up to par -- whether it be done on the computer or from a campus visit.

Before students even make the first visit out to see you face-to-face, they want to feel connected -- else, you could find yourself down a campus visit. Ursuline recognized the need to be creative when it came to engaging their prospective students, and chose the virtual tour route.

The Ursuline Campus is extremely beautiful -- more so than just photos could capture. With a virtual tour, they were able to not just capture it, but really show it off.  We were able to upload pictures of the main stops around campus like academic buildings, dormitories, and cafeterias. We then added labels and descriptive text for the students to peruse at their own pace.

With this versatility, students are able to take a tour from the comfort of their own home in a way that initiates them into the campus and introduces them to the school offerings. Ursuline saw a chance to do more than show off their class schedule, they showed off their campus life.  Their virtual tour helps students to picture what their life would look like on campus.

They saw the need for students to be interested and engaged from first contact -- which is often done through the website.  If you are like Ursuline and looking to update your college recruitment techniques, reach out to us!

We’d also love to hear back from YOU! To all the college admissions teams out there, how are you managing the changing landscape of college recruitment? We naturally think the virtual tour is one facet of an amazing marketing strategy, but we are seeing Ursuline host events that are of interest to their current students, thus attracting the right prospects.  For example, Ursuline is hosting TedxUrsulineCollege which will give students and community members the chance to listen in on talks inspiring the audience and encouraging dialogue.

We can all take some #MatriculationEducation tips from Ursuline.

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