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Virtual College Tours Offer Students Unique Look at Campuses

YouVisit's platform has helped 10 million US high school and international students visit 600 different college campuses
BY BrainGain Magazine Staff Writer |   06-08-2019

Virtual College Tours

Linger for a minute on the gorgeous time-lapse of the courtyard at Yale University as it sits underneath an expansive blue Connecticut sky. Scroll down, have a look inside and walk around, virtually.

For those unable to travel halfway across the world at huge expense for a college tour, virtual college tours might be an answer.

Nearly a decade ago, Abi Mandelbaum, Taher Baderkhan and Endri Tolka, while international students at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, were frustrated by the lack of options for international and out-of-state students to get a better sense for what it is like to live and study at different college campuses.

“We had friends that ended up at colleges that weren’t the right fit for them,” YouVisit CEO Mandelbaum, a native of Colombia, told “Miami Herald.”

He and Baderkhan of Jordan and Tolka of Albania thought they ought to be able to take walking tours and explore the US campuses as if they were there. That inspired them to launch YouVisit in 2009.

Today, more than 600 higher ed institutions choose YouVisit's platform for powering their virtual tours and immersive web content. The company has helped 10 million high school students visit college campuses via Virtual Guided Walking Tours on YouVisit.com.

The YouVisit.com college content can be viewed with a virtual reality headset like an Oculus Rift, or on a regular website, letting you look 360 degrees by moving your mouse around.

“Our mission, from the day we started the company, is making the campus visit more attainable to students,” said YouVisit founder and chief technology officer Taher Baderkhan.

Today, the New York virtual reality company employees 85 people, and it's never taken venture capital money, meaning it is supporting itself on its own profits.

College authorities say a virtual tour is a “useful way” for students to familiarize themselves with a campus.

"I think it can be an authentic view into a campus of what it really feels like to be there," Joe Lackner, director of web communications at Hanover College in Indiana, told US News & World Report. "International students are very unlikely to visit campus before showing up on day one. The more we can show them of our campus, the better."

Prospective students can click through a web-based virtual tour of interactive photos and videos designed to be compatible across all devices.

While college officials praise virtual tours as an option, they also encourage students to visit campus if possible.


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