Hobsons’ Student Recruitment Data Shows Importance of Virtual Tours

Earlier this year Hobsons came out with its annual report on undergraduate student recruitment.  Similar to the results we reported earlier this year from Noel-Levitz, this report also stresses the value of the campus visit and the online virtual tour.  What is really interesting in Hobsons’ data is that both the campus visit and virtual tour provide value in the search, applying and final decision process.  This essentially covers all the levels of the recruitment funnel.

Beginning the School Search

Interestingly there is no one tool that even 50% of people find effective for beginning the school search process.  There are obviously a whole lot of things that go into starting someone to look at your school.  Two of those items are the campus visit and the virtual tour though.  As we have argued before the campus visit is usually once students have narrowed down their list to a handful of colleges.  One of the ways students narrow down that list is by viewing tours online.

Applying to College

As any good admission counselor will tell you the campus visit is the most important item to help a prospective student decide that they want to apply to an institution.  As you can see, this data absolutely agrees with that.  There isn’t anything even close.  What is interesting here is that the virtual tour is just as effective to the applying decision to a prospective student as an admission counselor or guidebook.

Credible Resources for Decision Process

Once again for the final decision the campus visit still ranks supreme.  The virtual tour ranks higher than many things, but ultimately it is found to be a credible source by over half the prospects surveyed.

Closing

Hobsons also has a graduate and international student recruitment report.  Each has slightly different results, but all show relatively similar results.  The big difference is graduate students tend to put more relevance into the actual campus visit and international students in the virtual tour.  I think both of those findings make sense for obvious reasons.

I also find it very interesting that social media (Facebook, YouTube & Skype specifically) ranks so low down the list on all three surveys.  I completely agree with the data and social media is fun and interesting, but when it comes down to the final decision it’s not a determining factor.

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