How to Create a Compelling Virtual Admissions Experience

Admissions help find the best applicants for your programs and build the next student body.

The college admissions process is an essential part of a university. You want to create an engaging and entertaining admissions process so that students want to become a part of your college and are excited by the prospect of joining your school. 

However, as the world has turned to online events over in-person events, it’s become a challenge for many universities to create a compelling virtual admissions experience that still highlights the benefits of the college and the reasons to attend. 

With everything from college admissions to graduation going virtual, it’s become essential for universities to be able to create great virtual events with ease. With the right tools by your side and the right approach to making an engaging experience, you’ll discover how easy it is to put together a virtual event for education and learning that brings in students.

 

The Evolution of the Admissions Experience

Even before the global COVID-19 pandemic, colleges and universities were starting to offer more options and experiences than a typical in-person university tour or college admissions meeting. Facetime and Zoom made it easy to talk face-to-face without being in the same room, or even state or country.

Outside of admissions, colleges were also adding online classes, course catalogs, and virtual mixers for many years before it became required. That means that key college experiences were trending towards hybrid event solutions long before universities were required to be online for student and staff health and safety.

After the onset of COVID-19, it became a requirement for universities and colleges to do most of their business online. Colleges who already had a headstart in virtual experiences may have adapted faster, but it’s now an essential requirement for colleges to be able to manage a virtual event successfully, or risk losing current students and new admissions.

 

Benefits of Virtual Admissions

While virtual processes like admissions are going to be required or preferred for a time during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still many benefits that will likely make them here for the long haul. Let’s look at some of the major benefits of virtual admissions that you can experience with the right tools:

 

Saves Time and Money on Travel

Parents and potential students have to balance the cost of traveling to do an admissions tour at a college against the odds of selecting that school. That means that some potential students, especially out of state potential students, might not even try to make a trip to your university.

A virtual admissions experience allows potential students all over the globe to see your school, saving families both time and money. It adds value to your college by helping parents of students avoid spending their money on a college admissions tour at a school their child won’t end up attending. 

 

Keeps Students Healthy

While COVID-19 has certainly posed a health hazard for students, there are other types of health concerns that can keep a student from traveling to see your school. By having a process in place for virtual admissions, you are able to help students tour the school and get a feel for the campus without needing to risk their health.

 

Reach a Wider Audience

Potential students across the globe are able to experience your university through a virtual admissions process. That allows you to expand your audience, market to more students, and increase the odds of finding ideal students for your school, even if they were originally outside of your scope.

 

Better Support 

A virtual admissions process is part of a shift to embracing event technology and working with online platforms to deliver the best experiences to your audiences. With the turn to technology, you are able to provide more support to your potential students. Through chatbots, direct calls, Zoom calls, and email, you can be available for any inquiry. 

You can also offer more information to potential students, with online documentation and a virtual experience that answers their questions. For example, you can record a virtual tour and put it online for students to browse at their own pace, then reach out to you for specific information and details.

 

Improved Adaptability

Creating a virtual admissions experience that works is part of adapting to new standards and new expectations. This not only helps you manage the expectations of today but helps you understand the steps that need to be taken to be adaptable in the future.

 

5 Tips for a Successful Virtual Admissions Experience

Running a successful virtual admissions program means that you need to be able to plan ahead and execute on your platform of choice. There are some best practices and tips to keep in mind while starting your virtual admissions process, all of which can help you create an engaging and compelling experience.

 

1. Update Your Website and Socials

Prospective students and their families will use many different digital tools to discover things about your college. If you have an old, slow website or inactive socials, you likely won’t interest many students. Updating your website and social network profiles helps families find you and know more about the school. And you can post about your virtual admissions options so students know that they can tour the school without needing to travel.

 

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Creative with Your Events

Virtual admissions need to match the energy and excitement of an in-person university tour. That means that you need to be able to get creative and create events that excite prospective students and make them want to join your college. Try things like:

    • Virtual tours
    • 360 virtual reality experiences
    • Room visits
    • Virtual booths for clubs and classes
    • Meet the professor events
    • Online panel discussions 
    • Alumni speakers and discussions 
    • Spotlight events

 

3. Personalize and Customize Whenever Possible

Just because you’re taking the admissions process online doesn’t mean that you can start treating your prospective students like nothing more than an email address. You want to create personalized and customized experiences tailored to each prospective student’s wishlist and interests.

 

4. Get to Know the Platform

The platform you select for your virtual events is going to be a key component in any future virtual or hybrid endeavor you do. You need to know it in and out in order to get the most out of your investment and create experiences that are going to make your prospects want to apply and join your school. Make sure you demo the virtual event platform extensively and ask for help or support from the developer when necessary. 

 

5. Practice, Practice, Practice

The last thing you want is to be dealing with surprise issues or mistakes during an admissions tour or meeting with a prospective student. That can make the university appear unprofessional, and make the prospect uncertain if your college is able to handle virtual or hybrid events like classes in the future. Practicing using your engagement tools and running through events before going live can help you create the best possible experience.

 

Case Study: USC Commencement Ceremonies

To see the impact of having the right virtual event platform at your side, let’s take a look at a specific case study: The University of Southern California’s commencement ceremonies. While commencement isn’t the same as admissions, the success at USC shows what is possible when you have a plan and a great virtual or hybrid events platform. 

USC

USC partnered with 6Connex’s virtual events platform to create a hybrid commencement experience that would delight all students in both 2020 and 2021. In addition to the in-person event activities, USC used 6Connex’s event tech to bring the events to life for people at home, rather than a standard broadcast of speakers. 

Together, USC and 6Connex created a set of virtual experiences that could match or complement the in-person events taking place on campus. Social media, photo booths, and videos all played a role in making the virtual event shine. In particular, a 360 virtual reality camera was utilized to let those at home feel like they were sitting in the same room at events and traveling around the school with other students, family, and staff. USC plans to use the 6Connex technology in 2022 and beyond.

 

The benefits of having a virtual event platform that can handle important events like commencement ceremonies and admissions are well worth the effort of creating a hybrid or fully virtual experience. For more information on how 6Connex can help you put together an unforgettable college admissions experience, contact the virtual environment experts or request a demo today. We’re happy to help you hit the ground running!


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