New Report: 58% of Students Value a Virtual Tour On A College Website

Last week Noel-Levitz released their 2010 edition on the E-Expectations Report about what college-bound students are looking for in terms of online engagement during the admissions process.  To create their report they surveyed more than 1,000 high school students about their online behavior and expectations.  I’m not going to rehash the complete report here, but if you are looking for that, Karlyn over at .eduGuru wrote a nice summary or simply go download the report for yourself.  What I would like to do is present a few very interesting data points and discuss exactly how we address those points.

76% of Students Use Facebook

Facebook was the clear winner of the social media websites surveyed although at 79% it still seemed this number is a little low.  With Facebook even this week expecting its 500 millionth user and the entire phenomenon starting in colleges and universities, you would think this number would be closer to 95% of the audience.    The slight difference here is that we are talking about college bound high school students in this survey.  Either way if over three quarters of your audience is on a channel, you simply can’t ignore it.  nuCloud gives you the ability to embed your virtual tour right on your Facebook page.  Don’t just take my word for it;  check out this example of one of our customers actually doing it.

58% of Students Identified Virtual Tours as Extremely Valuable or Adds a lot of Value

Speaking of embedding those virtual tours we have to be extremely excited to hear that almost 60% of incoming students find our product valuable!  It has never been more important than it is today to have a compelling and easy to use virtual tour on your website.  I think the big key in that last sentence is “easy to use.”  If you try to use a lot of the tours out there on college websites many are hard to figure out and even more painful to let them load.  Many prospective students have a well known dislike of being patient for things.

77% of Students Identified Campus Visit Request Forms as Extremely Valuable or Adds a lot Of Value

I very strongly believe that a campus visit is one of the strongest elements in the decision process of where a student chooses to go to school.  Any admission office will tell you that if they can get a student to visit their school they can get that individual to apply.  With this being such an important part of the recruitment funnel you have to think about as many ways as possible to open up it up more.  I strongly believe that an online virtual tour is definitely one of these methods.  If a student visits 30 school websites and knows they are only going to visit maybe five of them then seeing a virtual tour of the campus might be one of those important decision makers to keep a school on the list.

52% Have Viewed Videos About Colleges But Only 10% on YouTube

Finally this last data point shows how valuable students think videos are, but interestingly enough the world’s biggest video website isn’t where they watch this content about schools.  According to Alexa YouTube is the 3rd largest website in the world.  If you drill down into the data a little deeper then you will see 42% of the students are watching video on your website.  If you don’t have video on your website then you probably want to get some up there.  nuCloud does give you the ability to embed video in your map stops on your website as you can see in this example.  This probably isn’t exactly what students have in mind, but we are already in the process of developing a tool to let you embed video on your website.


These four data points are just a few of the many in this report.  Once again I highly recommend you learn what college bound students expect from your online efforts and read the report.  Just as we have to understand the data and what students desire so we can build products and services accordingly. It is important for colleges and universities to address these same desires.  You can download the full report here »

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