The modern enrollment game is never static. Admissions and enrollment marketing professionals are constantly looking for that edge to set them apart in attracting students, especially when it comes to audiences that can sometimes be difficult to unlock. Virtual tours with multi-language capabilities come into play here on multiple different levels.
Enter international students, an audience that’s become especially nuanced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the pandemic, more than one million international students are still enrolled at U.S. universities. They’re contributing an outsized portion of tuition thanks to both higher rates and more frequent scholarships.
Of course, travel restrictions and a general desire to stay closer to home have made attracting these students more difficult than ever before. Virtual tours are a crucial opportunity for this and other audiences, especially when taking multi-language capabilities into consideration.
Here’s the thing: international students love virtual tours. That makes intuitive sense, considering their more limited ability to visit the campus physically. Of course, so do local incoming first-year students; according to an internal 2022 survey, 70% of these students look at a university’s virtual tour while enrolling in the school.
The higher education ecosystem has picked up on that fact. That’s why almost every school now offers some kind of virtual tour to incoming students. But few of them are optimized for international and multilingual students, so Concept3D and our multi-language tool can help you stand apart.
Join us for an in-depth exploration of:
- The opportunities a multi-language virtual tour can provide
- How it helps attract different demographics of students
- The value of creating a more unique, global experience compared to other schools
1. Support Local Students Who Speak More Than One Language
Concept3D’s multi-language tool comes with global possibilities, but let’s start local. After all, COVID-19 has caused more students than ever to look at schools closer to their homes. Many prefer proximity over the cross-country drive or flight that has suddenly come with increased complications.
Of course, in the melting pot of the United States, targeting a local audience does not necessarily mean that audience only speaks English — far from it. Millennials were the first generation to make a sharp turn towards being bilingual. Gen Z has built on that trend. Today, an estimated 48% of incoming college students belong to a demographic minority, and more than 50% speak more than one language at least semi-fluently.
These students might still prefer English. Many of them, however, do not. In addition, their parents can also be non-English speakers. These factors have taken on a more important role in the college search process than in any generation before them. Offering options beyond English in the application journey is key.
That trend is why colleges are increasingly hiring Spanish-speaking recruiters. It’s also what makes a multi-language option for a virtual tour such a crucial tool. The Concept3D tour currently provides language capabilities for Simplified Chinese, French, and Spanish. As a result, it helps to engage and immerse non-native speakers and students who simply prefer another language, both next door and from the next city over.
2. Support International Students in the Midst of a Challenging Time
After years of increasing enrollments, the COVID-19 pandemic put a major damper on international student enrollment. The good news: enrollments from this crucial demographic are finally beginning to recover. This results in a more positive outlook for universities looking for or even depending on these students to meet enrollment goals.
According to one study, 65% of colleges and universities have reported an increase in international student enrollment for Fall 2022. The same study also found increased efforts by schools to attract this audience once again. More than 90% are committed to in-person learning for international students, and more than 66% are working with agents to reach and convince this audience.
But of course, traveling anywhere to study is a significant commitment. That commitment has only increased in the midst of a global pandemic. As a result, students considering international study are more hesitant than ever to travel and spend their time in a foreign country.
These students need a major push to make this commitment. They need to feel confident in their decision before making it. Whether they find their own schooling or work through agents, these students have to be convinced that your school is the right ‘second home’ for them long before they step foot on campus.
This is where a virtual tour that is designed to help multilingual audiences comes into play. The front-end of the Concept3D multi-language tool allows students to select their preferred language before jumping into the virtual experience. As a result, they can get a good, immersive view of your campus and university early in the enrollment funnel.
3. Showcase Your School’s Dedication to DEI and Accessibility
In 2022, accessibility is no longer optional. If your school’s website and overall digital experience don’t conform with the latest ADA standards, you will run into two potentially significant issues:
- You risk alienating a potentially significant audience. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 25% of all people in the United States live with a disability. Globally, that number extends to more than 1 billion people.
- Your institution could get into potentially serious legal trouble. In 2020, more than 2,500 lawsuits were filed in the United States alone against websites that were not accessible enough or violated ADA standards. Fines for such lawsuits can range into the millions.
Web accessibility, of course, is a complex topic. It can include anything from navigation that’s possible without a mouse to alt-text for all graphics. Fortunately, tools like interactive maps have made some of those nuances easier to implement.
For your virtual tour, one important component of accessibility is the languages you offer. In fact, having more language options is a great way to maintain that anyone can read and understand the content, both on the website and the tour itself. As such, it sends an important message to all audiences that you care about their background. It also shows that you can tailor experiences to their needs.
4. Position Your School as a Better Option Than Those Without Multi-Language Tour Experiences
Finally, we know that competition has taken on an outsized role in recruiting students, especially international and minority students. In fact, studies show the competition for these demographics will only get more fierce in the coming years.
Despite the recent recovery of international students wanting to study in the United States, there are still fewer options for studying internationally than there have been in the past. That means fewer schools compete for rising amounts of students, all trying to position themselves as unique and the best possible choice.
Meanwhile, the demographic cliff of domestic students graduating high school by 2025 has been well-documented and is the topic of much discussion and concern in higher education. However, one group continues to rise while other high school graduates are declining: minority students, especially Latino students. In fact, the number of Latino students graduating high school is actually projected to rise over the next three years.
For both demographics, helping your institution stand out from the early moments of the enrollment funnel is absolutely crucial. You need to position your school as different and better than others they might be considering, even as their options may all sound similar from their perspective.
A multi-language virtual tour can go a long way towards accomplishing that goal. From the moment students use it, this type of tour communicates that you care about their needs. It shows you are willing to discuss your campus and experience on their level. The experience becomes more memorable, helping your school end up on their shortlist when they’re ready to start applying and committing.
Finding the Right Solution for Your Virtual Tour
Put simply, the benefits of adding multi-language capabilities are clear, from committing to accessibility to making sure that target demographics can more easily experience an immersive experience. Of course, none of that matters if the virtual tour solution you work with doesn’t allow you to create that experience in more than one language.
That’s where Concept3D comes in. When you build your virtual tour within our platform, the work is done for you. All tours are pre-built with Chinese, French, and Spanish translations. All you need to do is click a button. Then your content can be just as easily consumed in any or all of these languages.
Concept3D competitors have offered some multi-language capabilities for years. Instead of rushing to be the first to market, we learned from others, heard from students and institutions, and patiently crafted the best and most accessible multi-language capabilities for our 360° tour solution. We wanted to make it the absolute best we could before the release, and now that solution has arrived.
With another recruitment cycle beginning, now is the time to leverage that feature for your own needs. Whether you’re looking to recruit international students or local students who speak multiple languages, now is the time to optimize your digital infrastructure. Contact us to get started with your virtual tour today.