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Virtual Reality for Colleges and Universities

January 16, 2018


Immersive Technology is Changing the Landscape of College Recruiting

In an effort to increase college applications and enrollment, educational institutions are turning to 360° Virtual Reality Video for campus tours and college recruitment. With VR, colleges and universities can engage prospective students who want to narrow down their options without spending the time and money required of traditional campus visits.


From the comfort of their living rooms, prospective students can experience school activities, observe campus culture, and tour their future learning & living environments. They can even sit in on a class, if they choose. Some colleges have taken it a step further—creating virtual reality videos for off-campus attractions and landscapes to showcase the entire student experience.  


Virtual reality marketing is more than a passing trend. A recent report published by the National Center for Education Statistics shows a five-year decline in overall college enrollment. For the first time in decades, educational institutions are having difficulty meeting their admission goals, which means prospective students can afford to be more selective in choosing the university they want to attend. And these students want to experience a school before making that choice. Thumbing through a brochure doesn’t cut it anymore.


Targeted Virtual Reality Marketing to a New Generation

The pool of prospective students is different now than it was in the past. Today’s college-aged population has lived an entirely immersive, connected life and they want their school selection process to be the same. More than any other age group, they strongly prefer mobile devices which means it’s more important than ever for colleges and universities to include mobile-friendly, interactive technology for prospective students.


Some schools are now utilizing 360° Virtual Reality Campus Tours at college fairs. Offering prospective students a fully immersive, 3-dimensional experience not only adds personality (and fun) to a school’s presence at a college fair, it makes them memorable. And that’s what drives results.


It’s no surprise, then, that to effectively market to a savvy, tech-dependent population, colleges and universities are applying the latest technology in virtual reality video production—especially as VR headsets are becoming more affordable and widely accessible to the general population. Universities looking to nudge students toward that taking that first step while keep costs down are sending cardboard headsets directly to students. The best part? It’s working.


The Benefits of VR in College and University Recruiting

In the first two years after introducing virtual reality as a recruiting tool, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) saw a 26% increase in admission applications. SCAD offers virtual tours of campuses in Savannah, Ga.; Atlanta, Ga; Lacoste, France; and Hong Kong. Similarly, Northern Arizona University saw over 30,000 prospective students take a virtual tour of their campus in two years. Of those that took the tour, more than 4,000 took action, either by providing contact information, scheduling a traditional campus visit, or applying for admission.


Virtual reality technology offers the closest possible alternative to a physical visit, but don’t think of it as a substitute—students who take a virtual campus tour are more likely to take action and they’re nearly twice as likely to enroll.


About Black Tent

Black Tent is an award-winning 360° virtual reality video production company based in Cincinnati, Ohio. We help innovative companies, universities, and brands nationwide connect with their audiences through immersive experiences. Learn more at blacktent360.com or follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@blacktentmedia) and Facebook (Black Tent Media).



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