The potential for virtual reality in college classrooms is massive. Higher institutions do require special hardware to capture 360-degree videos, which can then be turned into VR-ready images. The software is readily available and even affordable, but many schools are unsure of how to use this technology to benefit students, faculty and alumni.

So far, campus tours are the most common way to use virtual technology. Prospective students can tour a school and request more information after seeing a 3D model of the campus. Yet what are some of the other ways that colleges and universities can use VR to influence student decisions? Here are five ideas to get you started.

1. Campus Housing

A large part of the college experience is campus housing. This is where students will be sleeping, studying and spending a lot of their time, so it needs to be comfortable and welcoming. Even students who visit the campus in person rarely get to see the housing options available. VR helps with this, as it can take students through your dorm and get them more excited about where they will be living.

2. Marketing

Marketing has changed dramatically over the years, with online channels being the focus of marketing budgets. Virtual reality offers another channel for colleges and universities, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. VR can be used in many different ways, such as for promoting international programs or informing the community on current student projects. With VR, you can tell a story that engages viewers in an entirely new way.

3. Admissions

Admissions professionals also have a lot to gain from VR. Through this technology, they can provide a more personalized experience for interested students. If a student is seeking an arts program or has an interest in sustainability, the VR experience can be customized to meet these needs. Admissions counselors can also interact with students in the virtual world by asking them questions and explaining procedures, much like a virtual tour guide would do.

4. Facilities Planning

When your school shows a map of your campus to prospective students, it’s rather limited. Imagine if you could show this same map in a 3D manner with various angles, heights and views. This would allow people to see what your campus would look like with a new building, park or field. Not only would this get students and faculty excited for the expansion, but also it would be helpful for fundraising events.  

5. Alumni Relations

Alumni magazines are a great way to keep graduates on top of the latest school news, but it’s far more effective if you can actually involve them in your latest developments. VR can be used to show alumni where their donations are going, such as building upgrades or scholarship programs. This is especially helpful for students who don’t live locally and can’t get back to see the improvements being made on campus.

Virtual reality isn’t yet mainstreamed in today’s higher institutions, but there’s no question that it will benefit students, faculty and alumni in time. How do you see your higher institution using VR in the future?