t’s that time of the year when you get to see lots of enthusiastic faces on a college campus. It’s school and college admission season, the time when admitted and prospective students visit campus with their families.
However, the pandemic has disrupted the process and today a majority of colleges are transitioning to virtual admissions. And in doing so, they reap the benefits of an online experience and of virtual events.
The virtual world has opened new horizons of accessibility and possibilities for many students, especially for those who faced barriers in the college search process due to great distances.
The best part is that the students and colleges are navigating through this new and ever-changing landscape together. During these times, the only way through it is through it.
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The college admissions process has evolved
The college search and admissions processes have changed significantly since the wake of the pandemic. Most of the Universities have now updated their website with all required college information. Students can get information that is authentic, unfiltered, and student-centric, all virtually, and that is the real benefit. Students can find information related to the following issues at their fingertips:
- Collect college course catalogues
- Visit the college campus through a virtual tour
- Check out the campus amenities and activities
- Access to the campus newspaper/newsletter
- Interact with admissions officers
- Read about student achievements and alumni placements through college blogs
- Check Twitter handles and Facebook pages
- Participate in online college fairs
- Apply to multiple colleges in one click through the common application
- Evaluate and compare courses
- Read student’s reviews about various facilities, including dorm food.
- Attend mixers & alumni events where they can get the low down directly from old students, attend sessions with alumni, network and ask questions
- Attend welcome day with current students/teachers
- Talk to school counselors and school seniors about academic programs
Benefits of virtual admissions
If we accept the new normal, online college admissions are a win-win situation for colleges and students. Check out how!
Saves travel & time
Parents are always worried and involved in visiting the college campus to know all the finer details about the college and hostel before confirming admission into a college. With the virtual admission process, both money and time are saved. College admissions virtual tours add a lot of value to parent’s inhibitions about campus.
Round the clock support and quicker responses
Universities have a dedicated virtual team adapted to helping national and international students with their applications and queries through a chat box, emails, or even a direct call.
Virtual college admissions have opened up wide avenues, targeting students globally. This way, the information about college and its courses is attracting global talent.
College information availability
College students check the social media channels, live streams, and webinar recordings posted by Universities to get the gist of the education system or the courses being offered and students’ success stories. This way, parents and students get fairly knowledgeable about what is being offered.
Admissions Counsellors are using interactive technologies like virtual tours, live streaming to deliver presentations and make real connections with students across the globe. Students are benefited from connecting one-on-one with admissions officers, seniors, and fellow students and can get their queries resolved.
Accepting electronic documentation
Universities are now accepting electronic documentation. They are conducting their own entrance, aptitude, and English proficiency tests so that students are not delayed with their scores.
Hosting webinars and events
Colleges are hosting webinars for prospective students on various topics. Special academic advisers become speakers and talk about the admission process, introduce new guidelines, subject selection for online classes. (Read here to know how to plan a large scale virtual networking event for your students.)
How to run successful virtual admissions?
The pandemic has impacted the enrollments big time, and colleges are looking for more creative measures that enhance virtual interaction, attract higher enrollments, and lead to greater student/ parent satisfaction. Colleges have swiftly shifted to the virtual world for the admissions process.
Read along to understand how the virtual world has changed the whole admissions process, hear the success stories, and be ready to create one.
Virtual college admissions events
There are a variety of creative formats for virtual college admissions events. These open up opportunities to connect with prospective students globally, spark a conversation, create a brand, build trust, and solidify their plans to enroll in your college.
For a virtual admission process, colleges need to host bigger groups as well as host one-on-one conversations between the admissions officer and prospective students.
Strategise your virtual college admissions event by considering which types of event would best suit each stage of the admissions journey. Keep in mind the security of candidates, and pay close attention to the participant experience throughout all your virtual events.
Build a virtual campus on a virtual platform
With technological advancements, it is possible to create a virtual campus. You can set up virtual events in less than 5 minutes with a platform like Airmeet. This event can be planned, promoted, and hosted from a single platform with no third-party integrations.
The university’s lag-free and real-time sessions and professional quality in HD create an excellent first impression. You can host these sessions for hundreds of students. On a broader range, you can utilise the virtual platform to
- Plan and manage your daily schedule at ease
- Modify and update course material on the go
- Give live lectures or show recorded videos
- Seamlessly engage students through a poll, Q&A, reactions, and chats
- Encourage students to raise a hand and ask questions
- Create your lounge for discussions, brainstorming, and collaborations
- Join coffee tables for informal catch-ups and celebrations
Organize a virtual fair
Just like physical fairs, virtual fairs help foster connections between students and colleges. Virtual college fairs act as a one-stop solution for students to gather plentiful information about different college options.
As part of their convocation week, Florida International University (FIU) hosted a resource fair where over 30 department representatives came together using the social lounge with virtual tables on Airmeet. Each department was assigned a booth customised to fit their requirements.
Students checked out the fair and interacted personally with the different booths. So instead of hosting a typical webinar where each department would conduct lectures, FIU hosted a very real-like world fair on Airmeet.
Watch the case study
EdBrand works towards helping students find their right-fit colleges and guide them through the admission process. EdBrand also successfully hosted a virtual career fair with Airmeet.
EdBrand also successfully hosted a virtual career fair with Airmeet. EdBrand wanted a virtual platform for substantial student-college interactions, where students could get an opportunity for group meetings, one-on-one meetings, and small group discussions amongst themselves. Fifty international universities participated with students from 73 different Indian cities.
Go the extra mile to meet the need of all students
While you focus on accommodating the majority of students, this may leave many others marginalised. See if you can meet their needs with your attention to detail.
Create a segment of your incoming applicants or inquiries according to their stage in the enrollment funnel. Form groups of applicants in the same stages, having similar backgrounds like a stream, location, language preferences, financial aid details, etc.
Financial aid: The global economic crisis has caused many families to suffer financially. Give them information about available options for financial aid. For Instance, Whitfield School’s website has a “Tuition and Affordability” page to reassure families of the worthiness of education and how the school can lend a helping hand.
Hearing aid: The challenges faced by hearing-impaired students can be even greater in the online environment. A solution to such a problem is Captioning. Captioning is the process of converting the audio content into text and displaying the text on the screen.
Health promises: You can inform parents about the availability of Covid vaccines and the promise for future immunity. Make them aware of University health programs and general medical services provided to students.
Leverage technology to engage prospective students
The applicants come from different countries, different streams, and different perspectives. The admission team can utilize technology to interact, engage and stay connected. Leverage technology to
- Reduce response time through automation
- Optimise all communication channels to be mobile compatible
- Improve your visibility with SEO
- Plan, set up, promote, and host the event from a single platform with no third-party integrations
- Host multi-day, multi-track events
- Host multiple engaging sessions in parallel and host up to 100K participants in a virtual event
- Hook your audience with meaningful interactions
- Offer networking opportunities to applicants
- Engage with the audience to emote, ask questions, chat, and most interestingly, raise a hand and join the speakers on stage.
- Make high converting landing pages.
Why virtual admissions are here to stay?
Once you are on board with the right event platform, you can host a broad spectrum of events, like webinars, Inter-college events, networking events, alumni meets, convocation ceremonies, fairs, club meetings, and more.
Book a free demo with Airmeet to curate the best experience for your prospecting students.
Virtual college admission is conducted on an online admission platform where students and the college admission team interact, understand, and attend virtual events before finalising the admission.
Colleges and universities shifted from a decades-old process of physically visiting a college campus to the virtual world, thereby reinventing a virtual process.
To increase online visibility, invest in search engine optimisation for the website and content management. Curate every website page with an intent to rank on search engines, not only the homepage.
Virtual college tours offer a glimpse of campus life. Colleges are tapping into a 360-degree virtual tour, where students from thousands of miles away can see all the major areas of a college campus. Students can see different dorm rooms, classrooms, lecture theatres, laboratories, and other important amenities like the gym, library, swimming pool, etc.
A virtual tour is just one of the tools required to attract and engage students and parents. You need a virtual platform to host multiple events, to share the philosophy and achievements of the college, have interactive sessions between the admissions team and prospective students. You need a live engagement element.