The "pandemic session" has run its course and things are getting back to normal. It's now time for the admissions teams to get back into the groove and work on the next set of students coming in, not just at the freshman level but for transfer students as well. The effects of the pandemic reflect in the decline in transfer students' enrollment and it's now time for a change.
Though most transfer students are community college students looking to get into a four-year institution, their worth has increased over the past few years. They seem to be "a breath of fresh air" for the colleges, providing not only financial benefits but promoting diversity and varied creativity. However, as their demand rises, so does their scarcity.
The perceived scarcity of transfer students doesn't translate into a lack of interest from the potential students. They are affected by several factors which include financial constraints, inconsistent grades, and lack of sufficient knowledge of their intended colleges. The latter could be a thing of the past by the time you are done reading this article.
Transfer students have questions, they have things they want to see, structures they want to compare and so much more. To be fully satisfied, they don't need automated answers or pictures that don't tell the whole story, they want to be in your college debunking their doubts and getting answers. There are ways around this and your college could join other colleges at the forefront of getting transfer students in.
To solve a problem, you need to identify it first. What do transfer students want? They want to see the establishment, they want their open-ended questions answered, and they want to know what the change will entail. A virtual tour will do all these and save them the cost of travel and accommodation (which is one of the things they are considering). This technological approach has become one of the most popular ways prospects get to see the campus for the first time. The only problem left will be their open-ended questions – and that's where a live virtual tour comes in.
With a live virtual tour, all questions will be answered in real-time by your admission counselor or student ambassador, while going through the facilities virtually. The transfer students get a view of their next location, and get appropriate answers to all that's in their head, going through the nitty-gritty of your college from the convenience of their homes. Here is a more detailed explanation of the 3 ways this approach helps your college stand out to transfer students:
Sightseeing is very important to students. They want to know what your college has in terms of facilities, academic buildings, classroom and lecture hall spaces, recreational centers and gyms and so much more. Though their interest is there, they still want to know what all the fuss is about. A live virtual tour gives the visual advantage you need. It definitely does more than an email or a description over zoom or phone.
With a live virtual tour the transfer students can conveniently see how they would live, where they would learn, study or hang out and socialize with friends, where they would thrive in every other sector that interests them personally. Nothing convinces you more than what you see! And pairing this with unique stories that your tour guides share during the tour, will definitely make your school stand out for transfer students.
Ever gone on a tour as a kid? The tour guide is there to make it all fun, but they are there for more than that: they answer those childish questions we ask, like "Why is it there?", "What makes it do that?", "Can it go faster?". Now, as college students, there are more intellectual questions. The college would be doing themselves a disservice if they rely on automated answers and this is where the "live" part of virtual tours gets its flowers. Use the power of storytelling to give your campus a "voice" and connect that transfer student to their future home.
Make sure you allow time in your live virtual tour for a dedicated Q&A session where all their doubts are cleared and all their questions answered. The most important thing here is that they end the tour with all they need to make a decision. Not to mention that there will be a slight nudge in the direction of that college that is advanced and structured enough to provide a live virtual campus tour for its intending students.
A basic difference between transfer students and freshmen is that they've experienced college life. They've been on one campus before, they know how college works. So, you can't blame them for making comparisons.
These comparisons speed up the process for them and virtual tours speed up the comparisons for your college. It puts everything on the table and lets them see it. Comparisons don't exactly mean they are looking to make sure they are moving to a better campus; at times, they just want to get familiar tot he "new" as fast as possible and avoid any bad surprize.
Now that we've talked about how a live virtual tour can help you speak into the hearts of transfer students and help clear all doubts they might have, let's not forget about accessibility and visibility. The virtual tours can convert a student to become yours but it needs to first be found and experienced by these students.
Once you make the decision, be ready to put it all up in their faces. Make it visible on your website, promote it on social media, use social influencers and send customized invitations through emails or personal connection. Advertising your tool should carry an important role in your marketing strategy, what comes next is worth it after all.