Published: 23rd October 2023

Virtual Reality Tours: The Future of University Campus Visits

As technology continues to evolve, so does the landscape of higher education. One of the most significant advancements in recent years is the adoption of virtual reality (VR) technology for campus tours. Virtual reality tours are transforming traditional university campus visits, offering prospective students and their families an immersive and interactive experience from anywhere in the world. This blog explores how VR is shaping the future of campus visits and why it might be the standard approach for universities moving forward.

  1. Immersive Real-Time Campus Exploration

Virtual reality tours provide an immersive, 360-degree view of a university’s campus. Users can virtually walk through campus grounds, enter buildings, and explore facilities as if they were physically there. This level of immersion is particularly appealing to international students or those who live far from the campus, as it gives them a realistic sense of the university’s environment without the need for travel.

Example: The University of California, Berkeley, utilizes VR technology to offer a fully immersive tour of its campus, complete with the ability to enter lecture halls, view student accommodation, and even attend virtual events. This has proven especially useful for engaging prospective students during the global travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Enhanced Accessibility

Virtual reality tours are a game-changer for accessibility. They ensure that all prospective students, including those with mobility limitations, can explore campuses without physical barriers. VR tours can be designed with accessibility in mind, incorporating features such as audio descriptions, adjustable navigation speeds, and easy-to-use controls that cater to a wide range of disabilities.

Example: Stanford University provides VR campus tours that include audio descriptions for visually impaired users, making the campus more accessible and inclusive for all prospective students.

  1. Customisable Tour Experiences

Unlike traditional campus tours, VR tours can be customized to match the specific interests of each visitor. Prospective students can choose to explore particular areas of the campus, such as specific departments, extracurricular facilities, or housing options, depending on their interests and needs. This personalized approach not only enhances the user experience but also allows students to spend more time exploring the aspects of campus life that matter most to them.

Example: At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), prospective engineering students can opt for a VR tour focused specifically on the engineering facilities and labs, providing them with a detailed view of the resources available.

  1. Year-Round and Anytime Access

VR tours can be accessed at any time, from any location, and as often as desired. This anytime access is beneficial for prospective students who wish to revisit certain campus areas as they narrow down their choices or discuss options with family and friends. It also means that universities can offer campus visits year-round, irrespective of weather conditions or holidays.

Example: The University of Florida offers VR tours that are available 24/7, allowing prospective students from different time zones to explore the campus at their convenience.

  1. Cost-Effectiveness for Both Students and Universities

Virtual reality tours are a cost-effective solution for both students and universities. They reduce the need for physical travel, saving costs for students, and decrease the demand for guided tour resources on the part of the university, allowing those resources to be allocated elsewhere.

Example: The University of Manchester reports that implementing VR tours has reduced the need for additional tour guides during peak visiting seasons, resulting in significant cost savings.

  1. Bridging the Gap Between Expectation and Reality

One of the most significant benefits of VR tours is their ability to provide a realistic expectation of campus life. This realism helps prospective students make informed decisions about their college choice, reducing the likelihood of disappointment or unexpected challenges when they actually enroll.

Example: Prospective students at Arizona State University have used VR tours to get a true-to-life feel of the campus atmosphere, which has led to higher satisfaction rates among incoming freshmen who felt well-prepared for what to expect.

Virtual reality tours are setting a new standard for university campus visits. With benefits ranging from enhanced accessibility and customization to cost-effectiveness and realistic portrayals of campus life, VR tours are not just a temporary solution for travel restrictions—they represent the future of how universities will interact with prospective students. As VR technology continues to advance, it is poised to become an essential tool in university admissions, helping students from around the globe make one of the most important decisions of their lives.

Hatty Wilmoth

Hatty is the Marketing Manager for Maia Films. Passionate about all things video related, Hatty loves creating content, delving into the challenges of SEO and brainstorming with the team. When not orchestrating marketing campaigns, Hatty can be found exploring London markets, firing up the pizza oven or trying her hand at pottery.