VILLANOVA, Pa. – Today’s prospective students look in greater depth at more college choices than ever before, but the costs of travel make it difficult to visit every possible option. With these students and their parents making determinations for select campus visits based on what they see—and like—online, it has become increasingly important for colleges and universities to provide a greater sense virtually of what the various campus experiences have to offer.
Villanova University has announced the launch of a new “Virtual Visit,” virtualvisit.villanova.edu, giving prospective students, parents, and others the opportunity to experience campus remotely like never before—from a laptop, tablet or smart phone via the Internet. Villanova’s Virtual Visit allows viewers to listen to more than 500 video commentaries from students and faculty; watch videos about the University’s community, academics, commitment to service, athletics, etc.; explore Villanova’s 260-acre campus through an interactive, photorealistic map; and, take a virtual walking tour of major University hot spots. So whether a prospective student is a vegetarian interested in studying biology and joining the Quidditch club, or a female engineer planning to get involved in Blue Key Society, the Virtual Visit contains important information specific to varying areas of interest and academic disciplines.
Villanova began work with Campus Tours, Inc., in Oct. 2011, to create a media-rich virtual visit that would provide a more comprehensive and interactive online experience for prospective students across the country, as well as internationally. In the months since, students, faculty and staff from across the University’s colleges and departments collaborated to help make the Virtual Visit an engaging, realistic representation of the Villanova experience.
“It is important that people are not only aware of Villanova University, but also what makes the Villanova experience distinctive,” said Ann Diebold, Vice President of University Communication. “The Virtual Visit allows us to use our most powerful spokespeople—our students, faculty and alumni—to share with prospective students the impact spending four years at our University could have.”
The new Virtual Visit includes both a web and mobile version. By incorporating responsive design technology, the tour makes all content suitable for viewing based upon the type of device being used. The mobile version contains GPS-enabled way finding, which provides visitors to campus with their exact location and the ability to use the walking tour program as a guide for strolling through campus.
“Every year more than 50,000 prospective students and their families visit the Villanova campus,” said Steve Merritt, Dean of Enrollment Management at Villanova University. “The goal of the Virtual Visit is not to take the place of an actual campus visit. Rather we hope this encourages other students, who like what they see online, to visit the campus personally.”
Continued Merritt, “College choices are all about fit and envisioning yourself somewhere and our Virtual Visit allows prospective students to get a great sense of what Villanova has to offer.”
Villanova’s Virtual Visit also provides numerous components that make it interactive for users, including the ability to build their own virtual experience or save their favorite content. In addition, every piece of content on the Virtual Visit is sharable via social media.
About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.