First impressions are made within the first ten seconds, and campus tours are no exception. These tours have the potential to be recruitment powerhouses which captivate students and make parents feel secure. Unfortunately, few universities take advantage of this wonderful opportunity and nearly every campus tour looks the same. There is a guide who takes prospective students around the school and points out the library, classrooms, dormitories and sports fields. Every school seems to follow this formula, but you don’t have to be just one of the crowd.
If you want your campus to stand out so that you can attract the best and brightest, you need to show prospective students – and their parents – that you can fulfill all their needs and answer their key questions and concerns.
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Beginning post-secondary can be scary, even for top students. They often have questions such as:
• The campus is so much bigger than my high school – how will I learn my way around?
• I am leaving my friends behind – Will I be able to make new ones?
• What do I do if I am struggling with the material
Providing answers to these important questions – which many students think about but don’t vocalize – will greatly put students at ease and give them a better feeling about your school. Of course, answering student’s concerns is only half the battle. Parents still hold a substantial amount of sway in their children’s decisions – especially if they are paying the bills! Parents often have a different set of concerns to be addressed. They are worried about issues like: student safety, healthy food options, and academic quality. Addressing these issues early is the best way to convince prospective students and their parents that your school is the right place for them to spend the next four years of their life.
When preparing answers to these questions, it’s important to remember that you need to impress and speak to students in their language to have your recruitment investments pay-off. Millennials have grown up with technology and have high expectations for its integration. In 2017, 80 percent of all students at a university or college in America had a smartphone, and many grew up with the latest devices at their fingertips. This group is unlikely to fall in love with a school which has broken technology, or worse, a lack thereof.
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An investment in technology can make both students and parents more comfortable – and ultimately increase your ROI. There are a number of ways by which you can incorporate cutting-edge technology into your campus tour:
• Replacing typical cafeteria menus with outdoor displays that advertise fresh, healthy eating options
• Implementing beautiful large display screens in select lecture halls instead of traditional projectors
• Installing new campus displays outside of classrooms featuring interactive maps which help student orient themselves on campus and find buildings and available study rooms
• Having glossy ultra-wide screens that display weather warnings, upcoming events, and school alerts to bolster communications between students and faculty.
Showcasing these solutions signal to prospective students that your school is investing in technologies that are part of tomorrow’s digital landscape. Students want to go to a school that impresses them and that they can be proud of. Such displays also impress on parents that the school has a focus on learning – not on frat houses and party environments.
It’s time to take your campus tour to the next level.
Remember, these students are arriving with the sole purpose of judging your school to decide where they will spend the next period of their lives, and you won’t get a second chance to impress them.
Make it count!