Virtual Campus Tours: Saying Goodbye to Covid and Hello to a New Era of International Student Recruitment

Gen Z (anyone born after 1997) is a generation of digital natives who expect a high level of technology and interactivity in their daily lives and education. They are the generation currently applying to and attending secondary school as the world begins to break free from COVID restrictions.

Interactive Virtual Campus Tours had already begun to prove their worth long before the pandemic hit and put the world on hold. As schools ramp up their admissions efforts in preparation for a return to form, 3D Virtual Campus Tours will allow school representatives to bring their campus to international student recruitment fairs anywhere in the world.

When we look at the statistics from 2021, we can see that the number of students applying to study abroad programs is still on-trend to increase year over year.

Canadian private and independent schools continue their long history of being some of the most desirable educational institutions in the world. With all this in mind, let’s explore why 360 Virtual Campus Tours are a must for any Canadian boarding school hoping to maximize its international recruitment potential.

Canadian International students pre and post pandemic: By the Numbers

US News and World Report have ranked Canada among the top 5 countries for quality of living for seven years running.  Both USN and listed Canada as the fourth best country for education worldwide in 2022.

In 2019 around 6 million students chose to study abroad. This number had steadily risen from a mere 2 million in the year 2000. Of those 6 million students, 642,000 attended school in Canada. This number dropped to 528,000 in 2020, as the Covid-19 Pandemic brought many study-abroad programs to a halt. Though this decrease was no surprise due to pandemic regulations and safety precautions, many wondered when or if life would ever return to normal.

As it turns out, the appeal of broadening one’s horizons in a study abroad program never truly waned. In 2021 the number of students studying abroad in Canada once again rose above 600,000. What makes this rebound so impressive is the fact that new Study Permits rose from just over 255,000 in 2020 to around 450,000 in 2021. That’s almost fifty thousand more study permits than the 2019 record of just over 400,000. Students worldwide want to participate in study abroad programs now more than ever. With this in mind, it’s no stretch to imagine a record-setting year ahead!

VR: A Brief History

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The first Stereoscopic photos and viewers existed as early as 1838. Morton Heilig invented the first Head-mounted display in 1960. This headset didn’t feature any motion tracking, but it allowed for viewing a non-interactive film in stereoscopic 3D. By the time Heilig revealed his Headset, science fiction had been exploring the idea of virtual worlds crafted through technology for decades. Throughout the 60s and 70s, the capabilities of VR Tech grew by leaps and bounds, but it wasn’t until 1987 that the name VR became popularized by Jaron Lanier.

Throughout the 80s and 90s, VR had begun to become a pop culture phenomenon.

VR headsets were featured in select arcades. Companies like Nintendo and Sega made ham-fisted attempts to bring VR gaming to the masses with products like the infamous Nintendo Virtual Boy. Films like The Lawnmower Man and The Matrix also helped to popularize the concept of virtual worlds. 2012 began a VR renaissance. Palmer Lucky launched the Oculus Kickstarter. It raised almost 2.5 million USD, clearly showing consumer demand for VR Products that could deliver on the promise of truly immersive virtual worlds. In the last ten years, consumer VR products have become more than just a gamer’s hobby or techy pipedream. VR and its sister Tech AR (invented in 1968 by Ivan Sutherland) have become powerful tools in various industries.

Modern 360° and 3D Virtual Tours

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The first 3D Virtual Tour was made available to the public in 1994. It consisted of a walkthrough of Dudley Castle in England, rendered in 3D to match its appearance in 1550. Queen Elizabeth II was one of the first to experience this tour. One must wonder if her majesty is impressed with how far the medium has advanced in the nearly 30 years since.

The overall VR industry has been valued at about 5.98 Billion CAD in 2022. 3D Virtual Tours alone are projected to reach a value of nearly 31.37 Billion CAD by 2028. That number represents an annualized growth rate of 30.95% from 2021 to 2028. Interactive Virtual Campus Tours are quickly becoming a mainstay of any student recruitment office.

Gen Z has experienced interactive technology since they were old enough to pick up a tablet or cellphone and begin their exploration of the digital world. This generation expects technology to be an aspect of their daily lives and education. It should be no surprise that any student born after 1997 will not be impressed by static pictures (no matter how beautiful) or a narrated YouTube Video alone. Today’s students will judge the value of a recruitment experience on the technology and interaction provided. Students and their families expect a cutting-edge education, especially if they travel to a foreign country and spend thousands or work hard for scholarships and grants. Simply put, a modern student’s first impression when choosing a school to study abroad should include an interactive, 3D Virtual Campus Tour.

High-Quality 360 Virtual Campus Tours allow your school to bring an authentic campus experience to prospective students and their families anywhere in the world. Even as travel begins to open up and become less of a hassle, cost and safety concerns make Virtual Campus Tours an invaluable tool. It’s neither difficult nor expensive to set up your booth at international recruitment fairs with access to your Interactive Virtual Campus Tour.

Once you make the initial investment, your 3D Virtual Campus Tour will quickly pay dividends. You’re already spending money sending your staff overseas; why not send your campus with them?

Interactive Virtual Campus Tours WORK!

No alt text provided for this imageLet’s look at some of the benefits Interactive Virtual Campus Tours can bring to prospective students both at home and abroad. We’ve already discussed bringing the campus with you, but what does that really mean? The truth is, it’s really about taking what makes your campus unique and letting prospects experience it for themselves. Here are some of the incredible ways you can showcase your campus using a 360 Virtual Campus Tour-
  • Impress with Unique and Historic Landmarks and Buildings

They may have heard of your 200-year-old Chapel or state-of-the-art library and tech center. They May have even seen pictures of your forested lakefront, but when they can stand in front of these edifices and navigate their way around the grounds, your campus comes to life!

  • Share their home away from home with family

When parents can take a virtual stroll around campus, it gives them a sense of place and much-needed peace of mind about sending their children far away to learn. In some cases, parents or older siblings may be alumni. A 360 Virtual Campus Tour can become an alumni-guided experience with someone perspective students know and trust.

  • Provide context for statistics and records

Maybe your library boasts thousands of ancient tomes, or perhaps your sports program’s record reads like the conquests of the Roman Empire. When prospects can get a first-person view of where these stats and records were created, they’re left with a much more meaningful impression.

  • Highlight Student lifestyle 

Show your prospects what they can do with their leisure time and where they can enjoy these activities. Show parents that their children will be provided with a well-rounded way of life in a safe and well-kept environment.

  • Promote Sports and Co-Curricular 

Even the country’s best sports programs, clubs, and facilities will shine a thousand times brighter when prospects and their families can stand on the fields where legends were made and walk through the halls where dreams were fulfilled!

  • More Than Grande Halls and Beautiful Vistas

We’ve evolved the Interactive Virtual Campus Tour beyond the old idea of beautiful but soulless empty spaces. No matter how stunning, state-of-the-art, or historic your campus is, that only tells half the tale. Students will create memories and build lasting relationships with their classmates, teachers, and other faculty and staff. Using state-of-the-art videography and Green Screen techniques, we can authentically showcase that sense of community in a way that is impossible in any other medium.

  • First Impression and Familiarization 

You’ve probably heard the saying; there’s no second chance to make a first impression. Never is it more accurate than when someone is looking to spend time and money on a venture far from home. The interactive and visual nature of a 3D Virtual Campus Tour provides a long-lasting first impression and an immediate sense of familiarity and place that you just can’t get with the written word, pictures, or video.

Putting it all Together

Interactive Virtual Campus Tours provide unprecedented interactivity and sense of place to any student recruitment efforts, especially those aimed at international prospects. The current generation of prospective students expects this same level of technology and interactivity in just about everything they do.

International enrollment is set to break records as eager students return from Covid restrictions. Competition at international recruitment fairs will be tougher than ever, and a Virtual tour is exactly what your school needs to stand out and best show everything your program and campus have to offer!

Curious to learn more? Get in touch with the Chief Creative Officer at 360Pros by emailing or by visiting to learn about how a 3D Virtual Campus Tour could work for you.

Words Wonderfully Crafted by Keith Messina

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