Educational institutions across the board—from independent schools to international schools, universities, and beyond—are increasingly adopting virtual campus tours. These digital campus experiences offer significant advantages for schools and prospective students alike.

Prospective students often consider a number of institutions in their search for the perfect fit. But the time and costs involved in physically visiting each of these schools can be substantial, especially if the schools are located thousands of miles away. Visiting campuses to get a true feel for the institution they are considering is even more difficult for international students.

And yet, campus tours are a key element in the process of choosing an institution. The way a school campus feels can be a huge indicator of whether or not the school is suitable. From the school’s perspective, the opportunity to welcome prospective students onto campus, where they’ll get a sense of the school’s unique offering, is essential to standing out and attracting new applicants.

Fortunately, virtual campus tours enable schools to offer prospective students the valuable experience of visiting the school from the comfort of their home. Eliminating the financial burden associated with in-person campus tours, virtual campus tours allow schools to communicate their value to prospective students across the globe.

What is a virtual campus tour?

Virtual campus tours enable prospective students to explore a school campus using their mobile phone or computer. Eliminating the need for students to spend time or money traveling to the school, virtual campus tours allow students to “visit” and learn about the school through interactive campus maps. These interactive campus tours extend a school’s reach to prospective students around the world. And, by putting the highlights of the school’s campus at the fingertips of any prospective student—making it easy for them to remember all the things they love about the campus—virtual campus maps help institutions increase the likelihood that admitted students will enroll.

Best Practices for Virtual Campus Tours

There is no limit to how creative educational institutions can get with their interactive campus tour. Ultimately, the approach a school takes to create a virtual campus tour will be shaped by the school’s unique style, values, and highlights.

With this, there are some best practices to ensure that interactive campus maps work effectively at showing a school’s best sides and attracting prospective students.

Embrace different types of media
Integrating the use of images, videos and 360º tours gives your virtual campus map the best chance at communicating well to any type of audience. Some prospective students may enjoy the experience of “walking” through parts of your campus with a 360º tour while, for others, high-quality images of your campus buildings, classrooms, dining halls, and dormitories will speak louder. Integrating different types of media is a great way to ensure that your efforts in creating a virtual campus tour effectively address the preferences of any prospective student.

Incorporate trivia and anecdotes
Incorporating trivia and anecdotes into your interactive campus tour offers a fun way to increase engagement, teach interesting facts about your school, and make the overall experience of your virtual campus tour more memorable.

Include your campus surroundings
Sure, interactive campus tours are designed to give prospective students a feel for your school’s campus. But they may also leave people wondering what’s just outside your campus’s borders. By featuring attractions that are available near campus—like restaurants, theaters, shops, and more—virtual campus tours offer a great opportunity for schools to increase their appeal.

Examples of Interactive Campus Maps

Want to see some virtual campus tours in the works? Check out how these three schools are using virtual tours to attract prospective students:

  • Beacon College’s virtual campus map features main campus buildings in addition to various buildings in Leesburg, the town where the campus is located. The clean, user-friendly map offers an intuitive way for prospective students to explore the school and includes categories that promote easier navigation. The map features icons users can click to see high-quality images of any building and information about what offices or departments they’ll find there.
  • Using an advanced satellite view of the entire region surrounding their campus, the Texas Tech Athletics virtual campus map features clickable icons for the school’s various buildings and other sites like tracks and parks. Integrated into the map, Matterport 360 Tours offers prospective students a 3D walk-through so they can experience the school athletic facilities as if they were actually there. Beyond their campus map, Texas Tech also created a map of Lubbock, where their campus is located. The neighborhood guide highlights the various attractions students can enjoy close to campus.
  • The University School’s virtual map illustrates the way independent high schools can embrace virtual campus tours. Using familiar “pins” that young prospective students are accustomed to seeing in popular map applications, the school makes it easy to navigate its campus virtually and enjoy a look at its various facilities. Clicking on any pin offers a slideshow of high-quality images of the building, along with a description.

Create a Virtual Campus Tour with Mapme

The task of creating a high-quality virtual campus map may seem daunting. But with Mapme, it doesn’t have to be! Mapme makes it easy for educational institutions to achieve interactive campus maps that help them shine, online.

Anyone—including people with zero coding or technical skill—can use Mapme to create a powerful virtual campus map. The tool allows you to easily customize your map so it’s aligned with your school colors, fonts, and logo. Using categories, you can organize the different features of your campus to make your interactive campus map even easier for users to navigate.

Mapme also makes it easy to give in-depth information about any landmark on your map. It offers a simple interface for adding descriptions, images, PDF files, and even videos for any building or location. And, if anything about your campus changes (for example, a department moved to a different building), Mapme makes it easy to update your map information accordingly.

Need to get the word out? Done! Mapme allows you to easily embed your virtual campus map on your website and share it via social media.

Check out Mapme solution for school campus virtual tours.