virtual reality

University uses virtual reality for recruitment

Accepted students receive virtual reality headset for immersive virtual tour of campus via custom website

The University of Hartford’s Barney School of Business (the Barney School) has launched a virtual reality campaign in an effort to attract accepted students for the class of 2020 to enroll in this upcoming fall semester.

The virtual reality campaign immerses students into campus life via a customized and fully branded website with video and audio, and a Google Cardboard virtual reality headset.

To deepen user engagement, the Barney School developed a supporting social media campaign where students are encouraged to share their experiences using the virtual reality headset and portal. The Barney School tapped independent digital agency Primacy to develop the campaign.

The immersive and interactive experience allows prospective students to the Barney School’s undergraduate business program to tour the campus from the comfort of their home and catch a glimpse of real student life, visiting everything from classrooms to the on-campus Starbucks to its athletic facilities.

To develop the experience, Primacy filmed the University of Hartford’s campus and created a custom, branded and standalone web-app that shares a 360-degree view of student life and a branded Google Cardboard VR headset.

The app can be viewed on either a desktop computer or mobile device, and a voice-over on each scene describes what is happening on that area of campus. This past month, the Barney School mailed the custom web-app and headsets to its group of 1,300 accepted students in their admissions package.

The Barney School has integrated this virtual reality experience with its current social media campaign. The campaign, which will last until May 2 when accepted students must decide if they will enroll, encourages students to Tweet out a “selfie” with their headsets on and tagging #‎BSBGoesVirtual. By posting a “selfie,” students are entered to win an Amazon gift card.

“The Barney School of Business is a unique and cutting-edge institution, and when looking to convert accepted students into matriculating students this year, we wanted to find a way to stand out from other universities and show, not just tell, accepted students what life is truly like on campus, both inside the classroom and out,” said Marty Roth, dean and professor of management and marketing at the Barney School. “To develop this innovative campaign, we looked no further than Primacy, who demonstrated their experience and leadership in the VR arena, most notably for higher education institutions. We’re thrilled with the results so far and can’t wait to welcome the class of 2020 onto our campus.”

Higher education has been an early adopter of virtual reality technology, and it has become a powerful tool for educators to instruct and a new landscape for students to learn and engage. Primacy is tapping into this market opportunity by partnering with institutions to develop virtual reality campaigns for students before they step into the classroom. In addition to working with Barney, Primacy also created a 360-degree Oculus Rift virtual reality headset for high-school students to be transformed onto the Regis University campus.

“Virtual reality technology offers an opportunity for higher education institutions to achieve their goal to connect with potential students and leave a lasting impression,” said Melissa Tait, SVP technology and project management at Primacy. “This campaign in particular is very unique in that we developed a customized web-app to convey the Barney experience, so accepted students have faster and more user-friendly access to the content. We were also thrilled to develop a campaign in our own backyard and work with a local university to showcase the flavor of their campus to students both near and far.”

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Laura Ascione

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