How COVID-19 Has Forever Changed University Tours

by McKenna Hogan, on Jul 17, 2020 8:30:00 AM

According to a recent study, 89% of students have no intention of delaying college enrollment despite the ongoing pandemic.

Since coronavirus has ravaged the world, universities have been scrambling to find safe alternatives for providing university tours to incoming students.

Adjusting to a new normal has its challenges for college campuses, both large and small. Here’s how universities are adapting:

Campus and student living tours have gone virtual

In the same survey mentioned above, 80% of students and 84% of parents surveyed claimed campus visits were extremely important to their college selection process—which placed a lot of pressure on universities to deliver an experience just as meaningful.

Several schools have already turned to virtual tours among other digital solutions to show prospective students around campus. Additionally, off-campus student housing has needed to provide similar experiences for students looking for apartments near campus.

Take a look at some of these student housing virtual tours:

Student Housing - Lobby

Student Housing Virtual Tour - Model Unit

With virtual tours, university employees and student living staff are able to navigate, host guided walk-throughs, and customize virtual tours to best cater to future students.

Whether located on Google Business listings or embedded on a website, virtual tours are immersive resources that can not only be super informative, but also act as excellent resources to look back at whenever need be.

And because of this accessibility, virtual campus tours and student housing VR experiences have shown to be a mainstay for the foreseeable future.

Choosing a school has become a family effort

In the past, university tours largely focused on the students’ experience—with the occasional family member tagging along for support.

However, since tours turned virtual back in March, finding the right school became more of a collective effort since they’re now accessible from any location.

According to a recent article on touring colleges virtually, it states, “as countless parents of high school juniors can attest, the college campus tour routine is exhausting and not always particularly illuminating. Having schools rethink the process may lead to some big improvements.”

One of these improvements was the incorporation of virtual tours with hosting capabilities that provide a guided experience to students and their families.

Not only can university professionals walk prospective students virtually through the campus, but students and family members can also ask important questions along the way, ultimately making the experience more informative.

Without all of that extra stimuli, and with the addition of parental guidance, university tours have actually seen some improvement when it comes to making a positive selection as well as finding out essential information about a school.

An active response to COVID-19 is a priority to school officials

Lastly, school officials are presented with a lot of challenges from COVID-19. While safety and health have always been the priorities of school officials, we’re seeing more unique alternatives come into practice. Because 37% of students and 49% of parents indicated that a college's handling of COVID-19 would greatly influence application and enrollment decisions, it’s going to be pertinent that schools and student living centers reframe their strategies for in-person tours indefinitely.

Offering these kinds of tour alternatives give students and families the freedom, safety and comfort to tour a space virtually. 

The universities that provide virtual solutions as well as necessary online resources so that students don’t have to risk their health have proved to stand out immensely among competition.

And having a reputation of being responsible and conscious of these current obstacles can go a long way as far as enrollment goes in the near future.

By just having a virtual tour during these difficult times, universities can prove to students and their families that they care about their entire experience with their school.

Virtual solutions for university tours are here to stay

What has been abundantly clear throughout the ongoing pandemic is that virtual solutions are an easy alternative that deliver results.

Whether it be due to accessibility, convenience, thoughtfulness, or even the overall change in process, virtual campus tours have allowed students to continue this important journey into a higher education amid unfortunate circumstances—and because of this, they’ve proven worthy of upholding for the foreseeable future.

Topics:EducationStudent Housing