The Importance of Campus Visits in Branding

On paper at least, our college clients share much in common. But when we actually visit the schools we work with, it’s easy to see how unique each campus is. Nothing differentiates a school like a campus visit. 

At almost every private college we visit, we hear that prospective students who make campus visits are much more likely to enroll. Why is that? What is it that flips the switch for prospective students and families when they come to campus?

We suspect a lot of it comes down to the fact that some of your most important selling points are intangibles—individual attention from professors, a strong sense of community, a faith-based approach to campus life and learning. You know how transformative these factors are but you probably don’t have data to prove it. For prospective parents flipping through your viewbook or reading your postcard, your school’s family-like atmosphere can seem a little fuzzy—especially compared to those hard tuition numbers, which aren’t in your favor compared to state schools and community colleges.

But the minute prospective students and their families set foot on campus, those intangibles don’t seem so fuzzy. They see that the professors actually do know their students, and it’s not hard to imagine what a difference that kind of attention would make in their own academic lives. Any college can claim to have a friendly campus, but when prospectives are warmly greeted by college students, when they see that your students genuinely enjoy and care about one another, that intangible becomes invaluable. And that higher tuition seems a lot more justifiable.

The experience you offer on campus visits is as much a part of your branding as your website or printed collateral.

What are you doing to get prospective students on campus? What does the campus visit experience communicate about your institution? First impressions are lasting. Don't underestimate the campus visit in your marketing strategy.