Virtual reality is getting very real on campus with college recruiters finding big value with VR.

Virtual reality is getting very real on campus with college recruiters finding big value with VR. Click To Tweet

VR lets people experience places, in 360-degree splendor, from wherever they are. Low-cost viewers, such as Google Cardboard, allow anyone with a smartphone to experience VR’s immersive sensations, and colleges are capitalizing on it.

Check out Jennifer Fink’s article this week in University Business for several cases.

Northern Arizona University, for example, is generating solid leads with VR. Its VR campus tour, launched two years ago, has been viewed more than 30,000 times, says Chad Eickhoff, director of recruitment and orientation. More than 4,000 of them have shared contact information, scheduled a visit or applied for admission.

If just one of these students enrolls at the annual tuition rate of $24,000, the university comes out ahead. Its annual contract with its VR tour provider: $13,000.

Temple University in Philadelphia takes its VR tour further, incorporating some gaming elements into the experience. The “Temple Adventure” allows viewers to zip around campus while trying to find a treasure. The adventure is the result of a year’s worth of research and a strategy to meet prospects where they are, says Francesca Reynolds, director of marketing at Temple.

VR, however, isn’t just for reaching teens. Rutgers and others are using it to engage alumni and donors on capital improvement projects. High-quality VR renderings of buildings that don’t yet exist, for example, reassure stakeholders that money is being well spent.

Fink makes the case for VR success on campus. The technology is accessible, increasingly affordable and very much worth considering, especially in recruiting digitally-driven teens.