There’s a scene in Disney/Pixar’s WALL-E where the humans are in their space cruiser, floating about on hover chaise lounges, focused only on their computer screens and oblivious to their surroundings and to reality. Two of the characters’ computers break and they have an epiphany. They discover that their space cruiser has a pool and they dip their toes in and begin splashing about. They live in the moment.
It’s summertime! And millions of us are escaping our offices and computers (do you go off the grid on vacation?) and are heading to the pool, beach, shore, mountains and amusement parks. And many prospective families are including a visit to your campus as part of their summer excursions and vacations.
A few years back, the LA Times wrote about this growing trend in On vacation — at a college campus. Similarly the Boston Globe and New York Times wrote about how campus visits are withstanding recessions, as well as high gas and airline fares, as colleges and universities report increasing visitors to campus.
Because nothing replaces the real thing. College is an intimate product choice; you live there, sleep there, eat there, get sick there — you become part of a community. And no app, augmented reality, virtual tour or other technology running on any screen can replace the real tactile, human, in-the-moment experience. Sure, technology can enhance the campus visit, but when we ask students, “Why did you choose this school?” they overwhelmingly answer, “I visited and it felt right.”
So you’ve got to give prospective families visiting your campus an authentic, engaging and memorable experience. You might just discover your school’s swimming pool or campus visit a-ha moment.
If you’re looking for more insight on the campus visit experience, watch today’s Free on Friday Webcast at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time.
The TargetX Campus Visit Consulting Team just returned from the annual conference of the Collegiate Information Visitors and Services Association (CIVSA), where they picked up some new ideas and best practices to share. (If you miss the broadcast, you can watch it in our video library.)
Read more about our authors. Jeff is the VP of the Consulting Division and also known as the “Apostle of Authenticity.” He crisscrosses the country speaking at conferences and working with our clients. He’s driven by a mission to inspire higher education executives and admissions offices to overthrow dead culture, embrace their authentic “DNA” and render engaging experiences.