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Virtual Reality Tours in Colleges to Boost Recruiting

2015-05-08

Virtual reality- this seems to be the buzzword in the tech world right now. Earlier the technology was only limited to gaming. But now, VR is making its entry in almost every sphere of our life. An increasing number of colleges are using virtual reality for their recruitment process. Through VR tours they are looking for prospective students whom they can recruit. These VR tours can help many high school seniors who are unable to visit prospective campuses and at the same time, college recruiters to find the right students.

Colleges Using VR Tours

Stony Brook University and the University of New Haven in Long Island are trying to venture into this space for reaching out to more students and improving their recruitment process. Yale University has plans to set up theOculus Rift headset that it owns, to give the students who have already been accepted for admission, a tour of the campus.

The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) which is in Georgia, manufactured 10,000 low-end cardboard headsets and delivered half of them to prospective students. The college persuaded the students to go for virtual tours of its campuses in different locations which include Lacoste, Atlanta, Savannah and Hong Kong. The students were just required to fold the flat cardboard piece and form a headset. They then had to load the virtual tour on their smartphones, insert it in the headset and strap it to their face to visualize the campus.

Payton Ricci, a 17-year old senior from the Palos Verdes High School, was one of the students who received this VR headset from SCAD. She said “I was expecting it to be something like 3-D glasses. “Since I was working with these cardboard goggles and my iPhone, I had low expectations going into it. I figured it would be something pretty basic.”

However, after the virtual tour, she was ecstatic.

Payton said “I was talking to my mom and freaking out about these goggles because it was way better than I’d expected it to be. It was super-realistic. I could see everything from every angle.”

Till now, SCAD is the leader when it comes to virtual reality recruitment. The low-end headsets they use are much more affordable than the high-end headsets by HTC and Oculus.

YouVisit- The Name Behind the Tours

The VR tours for Yale University and SCAD have been created by YouVisit, a New York-based company which works with more than 1000 institutions and colleges across the globe, to create photo tours on websites. The company has created these tours for other well-regarded universities like the University of California, Harvard University and San Jose State University.

Most of the tours contain fundamental panoramic photos of museums and schools. But with virtual reality becoming more accessible, increasing number of universities are using the power of this technology to provide their students with a virtual tour of their campus and recruit them. As VR headsets become cheaper, Endri Tolka, the COO and co-founder of YouVisit, expects that the numbers will grow even further.

He said, “We see so many use cases for this, whether it’s online classes or the ability to visit any campus. Imagine you’re a prospective student and you’re able to walk through your top 20 college choices. I think that’s a very powerful tool.”

It is not yet known whether the VR efforts have paid off or not. However, officials from SCAD believe that it’s improving the efforts to draw in students. We can certainly hope to see more universities recruiting their students using virtual reality.
 

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