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New technology introduces potential students to campus

December 16, 2011

Starting this year prospective students will have a different way of visiting the campus. The Admissions Office at UW-River Falls is planning to launch a new program which will allow prospective students to be able to tour the campus virtually with the option of being able to chat with an online staff person at the school to answer any questions a potential student may have.

“We are working with a company called Virtual Rabbit, which specializes in developing virtual tours for college campuses, businesses, recreational areas, etc.,” said Jennifer Sell, an admissions counselor/marketing coordinator for UWRF Admissions. The UWRF tour will include over 30 360-degree images of campus.

The photos were taken in late summer/early fall 2011. The Admissions Office and DoTS coordinated the photo shoots and worked with developing the campus map.

“Separately we have launched a chat service on the Admissions webpage last month, which gives prospective students immediate access to admission counselors,” said Sell. “This chat service was developed by DoTS for prospective students, and we are one of the first offices to use it.”

Prospective transfer students have been the most active users so far.

“I would have loved to have this kind of program when I was looking at colleges,” said Alyssa Vircks, a senior at the University. “It would have been nice to get a feel for the college before actually going there, and it helps you to weigh your options.” For years the Admissions Office has tossed around the idea of offering a campus tour virtually.

They had wanted a way to showcase the campus online to potential students, as well as for students who had lived too far away to be able to easily visit the campus. “We are launching the program this semester because the timing and the cost was right for this new initiative,” said Sells.

The finishing touches of the tour are scheduled to be completed by the end of the semester.