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How College Admissions Pros Can Succeed in a Mobile-First World

December 6, 2016 by Sam Slater

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From CampusBird Blog

Admissions departments know first-hand how the digital landscape has completely revolutionized the college application process. Students want more information in less time, and while this can seem hectic, the mobile-first trend allows the admissions department to present its school in the best light. That is...if they take the time to optimize their site and other online assets. Here are a few tips to help keep your admissions department ahead of the mobile curve.

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Be available.

Mobile technology and social media mean direct communication is always just a few clicks away. Teens are spending an estimated nine hours per day consuming media, meaning they are able to respond quickly to emails and digital interactions, and expect the same in return. The days of mailing application letters and waiting on hold to ask questions are gone. Students are reaching out to colleges and universities earlier, and - because of the web - are exploring and applying to more schools. By having an appealing and engaging mobile presence and doing your best to ensure timely interactions, admissions departments can hold the interest of top students (and also impress their parents in the process).

Give prospective students and their families a fun, mixed-media online experience.

Never has it been easier for college admissions pros to convey an effective and realistic picture of campus life before a student takes an in-person tour. If a student lives far away, can't afford the trip or other reasons prohibit them from making it to campus, a thorough and informative mobile-optimized admissions site can create a welcoming sense of community.

bgsu-5 A collection of videos, photos and general information documenting life on campus, in the classroom, along with snapshots of athletic events and other rallying points of school pride are powerful complements to a detailed walk-thru of the admissions process.

Additionally, virtual tours can play a huge role in a student's decision-making process. Developing multiple virtual tours helps cater to different students interested in different aspects of your campus - perhaps its athletics, history, art, or a student (and his/her parents!) who really wants to explore the various residence halls available. Dormitory/residence hall virtual tours are some of the most popular!

 

Mobile technology can reduce application process anxiety.

As you probably remember, applying to college is an exciting time. But it can also be intimidating. Having an mobile-ready interactive Q+A section covering the basics from applying to registering to moving into dormitories can help students and families feel more comfortable. Take another moment to think back to your experience going through the process. What were you nervous about? Move-in day? Your first day of class? Are these resources easily accessed on a mobile device?

It's important to make it easy for prospective students to feel welcome and excited, especially for those who can't visit in person. What drew you in and helped you decide where to go? Emphasize the importance of traditions, history, fun campus activities, fun local attractions and anything else that creates a sense of community and excitement. Some schools are surrounded by beautiful natural attractions; others are in the middle of bustling cities full of culture. Being able to explore residence halls, student centers, libraries and other locations (as well as the greater region around your campus) can help reduce anxiety, as can video, blog posts and other content generated by actual students describing their experience.

Use virtual tours and campus maps to create a self-guided online experience. 

Schools can create a self-guided mobile tour highlighting most everything a student learns on an in-person tour, and provide a direct link to it from the school’s website and social media accounts. This can help students feel at home right way, stoking the fire and getting them excited to call your campus home.

Interactive maps allow students to explore your campus on their own time and at their own pace, from wherever they are in the world. However, with CampusBird, you get to decide what features to emphasize and how to profile them with information, links, photos, video and more.

As virtual reality becomes even more common - and as more households purchase the necessary hardware - it will be common for schools to offer whole tours of sections of their campus in virtual reality. Read more about how higher education professional can getting started with virtual reality.

Admissions departments can stay ahead of the game by prioritizing mobile-friendly information and narrative, reaching students where they are every day (and probably every hour) on their smartphone!

By factoring the importance of mobile into your overall communications strategy you can ensure that prospective students find all the necessary resources to get excited about what your school has to offer.

Topics: Campus Map, College Campus Tours, Virtual Engagement

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