The Converse College online campus tour has been selected by the awards committee at CampusTours as the 4-Star virtual college tour for the month of November. In making their online announcement, CampusTours says, “Converse College has managed to develop a virtual tour that is informative and comprehensive, yet retains a simple and elegant interface. The CampusTours Awards Committee found this to be an excellent presentation, well worthy of the CampusTours Four-Star Virtual Tour Award!”
According to Chris Carson, tour director for CampusTours, the Four Star Tour Committee meets each month to discuss the 30 tours that they have been asked to review. “Each committee member is asked to select and rank five tours from the field of 30 and write a short review of each presentation,” he said. “The committee is comprised of three prospective college students (generally high school sophomores, juniors and seniors), two high school guidance counselors, and two college admissions counselors.”
In developing the Converse tour, Webmaster Julie Clarkson said she wanted to create a tour that offered more than just a campus map. “We wanted to create a tour that had depth to it,” she says. “We spent a great deal of time looking at tours of other schools and thinking about what students-and parents-might want to see in addition to the virtual tour.” Tour-related extras include personal audio vignettes from students, a planner to schedule an actual campus tour, a message from Converse President Nancy Gray, and an alternative way to search the campus map by department.
It was this commitment to depth that caught the eye of the Campus Tours Awards Committee. “We were extremely impressed with the attention to detail in the Converse virtual tour, as well as some of the unique features. Converse does a very good job of using the tour as a gateway to other university Web sites and content.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, online college tours are becoming increasingly important in the decision making process of college-bound high school students. In their Oct. 30 edition, the Journal states, “The latest market research shows that 70% of all college-bound high-school juniors began their college search on the Web, and virtual college tours came second only to actual campus visits in luring students.”