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Case Study: Higher Education Admission Process
Background
In fall 2011, a record 19.7 million students were expected to attend American colleges and universities.1 For most high school students, attending an institutue of higher education is the natural next step in their lives, yet selecting the right school can be a major undertaking. Students spend hours of time researching different schools to determine the best fit. On-campus visits are a good way for prospective students to get a feel for a school but are not always an option. Organizations must convince prospective students to take the time to visit or in some cases even submit their application without setting foot on campus. This is where our interactive higher education virtual experiences come in...
Stages & Scope
These virtual experiences are designed to enhance, extend, and interconnect the following stages of the admission process:
Select a stage to learn more:
Summary
Our virtual experiences encourage students to immerse themselves in an organization's content and interact with the people, places and things that represent the organization in new and unique ways. Our rich media applications give students access to the information they need, when and where they need it. These applications enable students to build an affinity for a school whether they visit a campus or not. They also provide students with powerful tools to make the most of their visit and keep the organization top of mind as the students make their decision whether to apply.
1. Virtual Exploration: Preview
During this stage, the intention of the virtual experience is to encourage students to learn as much as they can about the organization from the comfort of their own home. This includes accessing information from their computers, tablets and/or mobile devices. Students need to be sold on why they should consider visiting or applying. Our interactive rich media applications provide organizations with a powerful new suite of tools to make that conversion happen.

Our rich media applications pull together vast amounts of rich media contentimages, videos, audio clips, commentary, slide shows, panoramas and more — to tell a compelling story about the organization that draws students in unlike any other online presentation tool. These applications enable students to freely explore an organization's campus while learning about buildings, facilities, programs, academics, faculty, and more. Students can also choose to take an online 'guided tour' around campus which might cover key themes like athletics or campus life.

As students explore an organization's rich media application, they can bookmark specific pieces of contentvideos, buildings, map locations, images, or anything — and share what they are looking at via email or other social networking services. Students can refer back to those pieces of content at any time by using their bookmarks or shared links.
2. Pre Visit: Planning
The students have decided they want to visit the school in person and are ready to start planning their time on campus. Using the same rich media application (see Stage #1), students can plan for what they want to see and do during their visit plus map out where to go and exactly how to get there while on campus.

The interactive maps in our rich media applications enable students to easily find buildings, facilities, areas of interest and more by either browsing around the map itself, using a sortable index, or searching by keyword. Students can turn on layers that highlight residence halls, food services, bus stops, walking paths, handicap accessible entrances to buildings, and more. Students can also get step-by-step walking directions from one building to another or map out a digital self-guided tour around campus including preferences like walking vs. driving or handicap accessible paths only. Directions and self-guided tours are also available on mobile devices (see Stage #3).

Note: Organizations can use any type of map artwork as the base maphigh resolution rendered maps, aerial photo map, hand-drawn maps, and more — on which they can plot their buildings and facilities, areas of interest, walking and biking paths around campus, and more. Organizations can also include and interconnect several maps to accommodate multiple campuses or regional, local, and campus maps.
3. During Visit: Guidance
The students arrive on campus eager to learn more about the organization and determine if the school is the right fit for them after all. Armed with a comprehensive understanding of the organization (see Stage #1), a preplanned itinerary (see Stage #2), and most likely a mobile device, the students set off to explore the campus.

Our rich media applications are mobile-ready and offer students a powerful toolkit while on location. The very same information they viewed, bookmarked, shared, etc. from home is now available at their fingertips as they walk around campus. This includes a mobile map with building and facility information, directions, self-guided tours, layers, a keyword search and more.

GPS-enabled devices such as smartphones and tablets enhance an on-campus experience even further. Students can locate themselves on the mobile map with a touch of a button and then get directions to any other location on the map. As they are walking around campus, GPS Proximity Content Alerts prompt them to learn even more about the things they are physically near using their mobile devices. Additionally, students can bookmark places, things and people as they encounter them while on campus and make personal notes about each. Bookmarks and notes can be referenced later as students begin to review their visit and compare it to other on-campus visits (see Stage #4).

Additionally, organizations can automatically push messages directly to students' mobile devices while they are on campus as long as they have installed our iOSTM or AndroidTM app. These messages can be GPS driven or not. For example, as a student enters campus, the app can automatically prompt the student with a "Welcome to Campus" message from the Admissions Office. The students will be asked to opt-in to future messages while on campus and if they accept, additional scheduled messages can be sent throughout the day. These could include a reminder about dining options sent around 11:30AM or a reminder about an upcoming guided tour departure times. They could also be coordinated to specific events, such as announcinging a guest speaker or an athletic event. These ongoing touchpoints not only help the students feel more connected to the organization throughout their visit but also ensure they make the most of their time while on campus.
4. Post Visit: Review
The students are back on the road, most likely headed to another school on their 'tour'. They reflect on their recent experience and wonder how the next school will compare. At this stage, keeping an organization in the forefront of the students' minds is critical as students begin to whittle their list of candidates down to those they plan to apply to.

Our rich media applications provide multiple ways for organizations to stay top of mind after students spend time on their campus, some passively while others more direct. Content bookmarks students created during their visit (see Stage #3), and their related personal notes, enable them to recall details of their visit and continue to learn more about an organization after their visit via a mobile device or from their computer.

Organizations can also automatically push follow-up surveys or other messages directly to students' mobile devices who have installed our iOSTM or AndroidTM app. This enables organizations to stay in touch with students and potentially capture stealth applicants that may visit campus while the admissions office is closed. This also provides the students with a way to offer feedback to the organization on their own time, giving them more time to think about their experience before responding.
 
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