Multilingual Magic: Increasing enrollment of 1st generation students with 360° Tours

Influencing the decisions of Spanish-speaking families and communities
View the 360º Tour

“The transformative power of a virtual tour has been undeniable for us. It has not only allowed us to put our campus beauty on full display but has also opened the door to Hispanic communities, students, and parents, giving them a chance to discover the unique opportunities our institution offers. The result? A game-changer.”

Sandy Destiny, Director of Creative Services

Sonoma State is nestled between gently sloping hills, bustling towns, and serene countryside in beautiful Sonoma County. Just an hour’s drive from both San Francisco and spectacular stretches of coastline, there is always something new to discover on the pristine campus, which is one of the 23 schools of the California State University (CSU) system. However, in today’s highly competitive recruiting climate, attracting new students to its beautiful campus can be fierce. This is why Sonoma State is always exploring unique enrollment perspectives and tools. 

Image of a laptop with the Sonoma State Virtual Tour. The virtual tour has an option to chose between English and Spanish
2 phones both showing a virtual tour by concept3d. The left phone is in English, the right phone is in Spanish

Challenging Enrollment Shifts with New Audiences

Sonoma State University was experiencing a significant drop in enrollment over the past five years. One of the target audiences to increase enrollment for the university is first-generation students, many of whom come from Spanish-speaking homes. The Hispanic population is projected to become the largest ethnic group in California by 2050, so having a Hispanic focus in the university’s recruitment strategy is imperative. The institution identified that parents and other adults in their communities play a key role in influencing a student’s college choice. To improve engagement with these students, their parents, and family members, the team needed a solution that could combine a beautiful, informative virtual tour with multi-language Spanish capabilities.

Proving Place and Belonging with Personalization

The university decided to implement a virtual tour using Concept3D’s 360° Tour solution with the addition of the multi-language feature to better connect with prospective students and their parents, particularly those who are Spanish-speaking. This allowed the university to showcase its picturesque location in California wine country, through an immersive virtual tour and provide information in Spanish, making it more accessible for the target audience. Students and parents can see what it’s like to stand at the Seawolf Plaza and gaze at the modern Student Center or what it’s like to sit in the outdoor terrace and lawn at the Green Music Center, all from the comfort of their homes hundreds of miles away.

Reaching Results with Virtual Engagement

Sonoma State University is now positioned to reach the target audience of first-generation, Hispanic communities and better tell the story of its unique offerings. Recruiters and student orientation staff have given positive feedback that the virtual tour has been a game-changer for remote recruitment and presentations. The virtual tour has also helped bridge the gap for students who cannot visit the campus in person, ultimately assisting in attracting more students and working towards increasing enrollment. Sonoma State University has seen an impressive amount of engagement. The tour has helped Sonoma State present itself in a manner that competes within the California State University system and beyond, capturing over 15,000 unique views since the launch of its virtual tour, showing that it resonates with the target audience.

“Our virtual tour has proven instrumental in overcoming the challenges students might face when trying to visit our campus in person, such as distance, time, or financial constraints. Offering an immersive, high-quality virtual experience, we’ve managed to bridge these gaps, ensuring every prospective student can explore our campus and gain a sense of what studying here would feel like.”

Sandy Destiny, Director of Creative Services

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