The industry of VR is one of the leading niches that are expected to completely change our future. For so long, we have relied on smartphones and computers to connect with people and visit websites, and it has always been in 2D screens. But, virtual reality will take this to the next level with immersive 3D websites, locations, and characters. Of course, this is touching a lot of industries, but one of the forerunners of this exciting future is virtual tours of college campuses. Unlike other domains such as business and healthcare, virtual tours of colleges and universities have been an easy feat for many tech companies to simulate for prospective students. They essentially require less interactive content than other apps, and even multiple methods can be used to achieve similar virtual touring experiences. But now, VR headsets are getting better and more immersive, and they will help students eliminate a lot of the hurdles that come with traveling to targeted colleges or learning about their future careers. Whether you are interested in VR for touring or just excited about its potential in general, read more to explore below how powerful it will be for students’ education and what kind of materials and VR experiences are being created by various companies.

VR as The New Technology for School Tours

Some of the ways VR headsets gained traction have been through gaming and college tours. As early as 2015, there were already many apps and websites that offered a virtual journey through the grounds of different campuses through google cardboard. The virtual experience of students, though mediocre because of the quality of cardboards, was actually an exciting discovery for them. They could see a 360-degree video spanning all details and information of the college, all from the comfort of their beds. For example, in 2015 the university of Savannah College of Art and Design gave away 5000 cardboards for its accepted students to help them explore the university. (1) They were able to weigh the pros and cons while they were home first, and then visit the college to complete the enrollment process. In essence, what the students experience is a video through the perspective of the cameraman who wanders through the various sections of the university. So, the students feel as if they are being led by a touring guide, which is very similar to being there in person. This and many more examples have marked the start of the interest of universities and students in the potential of VR. In 2020, however, virtual tours of colleges have become an entirely different thing. Those uncomfortable cardboard goggles evolved into elegant cable-based and wireless headsets that are the escape of many gamers. The graphics have become high-end, the immersion is scary, and the performance is more powerful than the best smartphones. This is why in recent years VR companies have revolutionized college tours. If you wish to visit a specific school, you can now truly teleport into the high-end experience of the campus, with the exterior atmosphere made deeply realistic instead of recorded through 360-degree cameras. Plus, you have the freedom now to walk or teleport with the VR controllers throughout the university, making your touring feel as if you are really there.

Sophisticated Websites that Offer VR College Tours

Virtual reality content doesn’t just rely on apps on special platforms, but are also, in fact, accessible to you via websites. With a cheap cardboard VR or sophisticated headset, you can tour thousands of universities around the world and experience highly immersive graphics and smart ways to communicate with college administration. One of the best websites to offer these services is CampusTours. It’s a professional company that has created VR touring guides for more than 1,800 schools in the U.S, U.K, Canada, and many other countries. The tours include many types of media and interactive content that make your visits extremely insightful. For example, you will not only visit the campus square, administration, and library but also find out about the types of sports and practicing areas with your own eyes. If you need to ask a lot of questions, there will also be a feature in CampusTours that has ready answers for the kinds of inquiries that students often make. But, it’s still on the making and will be up on the website soon.
If you want to try another option, then you will definitely stumble on the YouVisit website sooner than you think. It’s a website rich with features, providing high-end virtual content, videos, photos, and information across all virtual headsets but also your phone and computer. That means even without a headset, you can have a feel of the 360 stitched videos of campuses through your phone. However, sophisticated headsets are worth the purchase for most students who need to explore a large number of colleges within a short timeframe. For these ambitious learners, knowing all your options is a must for finding the ideal college. YouVisit virtual tours of colleges cover 600 U.S schools, and it includes an immersive experience of sports playing fields and different parts of the campus. If your aim is an American school, using this website is a must.

What are VR Tours of Campuses About

VR tours of college campuses bring to the table engaging features that add up to your knowledge base even if you plan to travel in person. At the campus square in real life you will surely explore all of the facilities and easily talk to the school staff, but learning about a college is more than that. New VR apps and websites now give you a look into the college’s traditions, history, art center, and campus life. Sometimes you want to get closer to a college’s background or maybe understand the local culture that‘s embedded within the university and community of students. If the values and practices that are cherished within a university also match yours, you will be making an even smarter and nuanced decision. And nothing makes this more alive than how artistically and succinctly VR apps present these features and information. With in-person travel alone, you might be missing out on key information from students VR testimonials or the students ambassadors. If traditional touring has been limited all along, VR will be the opportunity to expand our research scope and depth. For some students, VR tours of universities might even be preferred over travel if they are not sure how to have a well-researched tour. Many students report that they are intimidated by sending personal emails to staff members or even talking to them in person. In this scenario, they benefit more by chatting with a bot in VR and asking it all the important questions without anxiety.

Why VR Tours for Colleges Are Getting Attention

As soon VR apps and videos began evolving, more and more students are rushing to own headsets and VR GEAR. Students across the globe have realized that they have had choices limited to their local location just because they didn’t have the budget or suffered from chronic illnesses or disabilities. The benefits of VR, therefore, have leveled the ground between the rich and poor in making their future educational careers a tap away.
In a study investigating the relationship between relocation costs and college attendance, it was found that students from low-income families are more likely to settle for local universities than distant ones. This has been associated with an access gap that was mainly caused by traveling costs and expenses. Across larger populations, this is a strong and impactful deterrent for students who want to thrive in their ideal college. The VR tech has been changing this because it has been increasingly more accessible to everyone.

The rise of the trend of VR is also owed to how the prices of headsets are dropping dramatically over the years and becoming an option for any student. Massive VR companies like Oculus, HTC, and Valve have pushed the boundaries even further in the last 5 years, making VR more mainstream not only for gamers but also for internet users like students interested in social VR apps or virtual tours of colleges and universities.

Benefits of VR Campus Tours for Students

The advantages of VR tours of campuses will change your touring experiences in many ways. Imagine having to explore a university while the rain is pouring heavily or the weather is extremely cold. Or what if your entire family needs to find out with you about your future college residence and help you in your decision-making. Going there with your family or in the bitter weather is sometimes out of the question, but these issues are immediately solved with a VR headset. Some of the typical benefits of VR tours of colleges include:

  • Getting into college areas that may not be normally accessible for in-person touring.
  • Not having to deal with bad weather or ruin the excitement of our trip because of the snow or rain.
  • Expanding our opportunities for diverse colleges and beyond our local limits.
  • Inspecting the structures of buildings, location of facilities within and outside of them, and the distances between classrooms, buildings, and residence halls.
  • Spending a cheap amount of money on a headset that is both useful for your VR touring and satisfying your gaming needs if you have any.
  • Allowing all your family members – including your grandma – to visit and share with you the touring experience in the comfort of your house.

About Mokadem Ali Zeghada

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