We’re living in an age of uncertainty for recruiting international students. Brought on by COVID-19, changing perceptions of the United States in countries abroad, and other factors, enrollment has declined drastically over the past few years.
However, more than one million international students are still enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. The competition for these students is fierce. After all, international students contribute an outsized portion of tuition—nearly 30% for schools in 2015.
This puts institutions in a conundrum. In a time where there are fewer possibilities for studying internationally, how can you stand out to your international student audience?
Virtual tours have an opportunity to answer these questions now unlike ever before. According to an internal 2022 survey, ~70% of incoming college freshmen said they looked at their university’s virtual tour while they were enrolling in the school. Another 55% said they used the virtual tour when they were attending classes there.
Evidently, students are utilizing these virtual tools when schools provide them. Virtual tours allow you to showcase your university and tell your school’s story through a visual and immersive medium. That content drives initial interest, which personalized contacts can ultimately convert to enrollment.
Let’s dig into the medium as an important recruitment tool for international students. We’ll also explore how you can use them to build a better recruitment strategy for audiences abroad.
The benefits of virtual tours for international students
International students are a unique audience. They require more educational information in the recruitment process than your domestic audience. International students are not just unfamiliar with your school or its location; they also may be unfamiliar with the nuances of the American higher education system.
Any institution that is able to effectively communicate pertinent information to international students will jump toward the top of their consideration list. That’s precisely where virtual tours come into play.
Through your tour, you can effectively communicate who you are and what your campus looks like. However, you can also expand the experience off-campus. Familiarize your audience with your larger community by adding tour stops of your downtown area, where the best local restaurants are, or where they can see concerts. Finally, by showcasing buildings and weaving your story together, you can help your audience understand what to expect as they transition into the American higher education system.
The problem with traditional virtual tours
However, all of the above is hypothetical if your audience can’t navigate through the tour. That’s where the main issue with virtual tour technologies comes into play. Many do not include capabilities for multi-language tours.
Providing multi-language tours is essential to a successful international student experience. In this recruitment arena, colleges rarely only look to recruit a single demographic or students from a single country. If your international prospects only have the option to consume your tour content in English, you may lose their interest if English is their second, third, or last language.
The solution: Concept3D’s 360° virtual tour
Concept3D’s 360° Tour is the smartest way to compete in the international recruitment game. Our new multi-language advanced feature within the tour setup allows you to add Spanish, French, and Chinese (and more to come soon) as language options for your 360° Tour. This includes all the content in every one of your tour stops.
As an added bonus, this feature does not just help international students succeed. If your college is located in an area populated with non-English speakers, or your target audience speaks another language, students and visitors can easily toggle to the language in which they prefer to consume the content.
Are you looking to learn more about how 360° Tour can help you increase your international student admissions numbers? Contact us today.