RNL National Conference 2019 Key Takeaways

The other week, the YouVisit team had a great time at the RNL National Conference in Nashville. One of the key points of the conference was that every touchpoint needs to be engaging. Touchpoints are the various points of contact and interaction you have with a student as they move through the student life cycle. Therefore, engagement has become more critical than ever due to the increasing number of touchpoints in a student life cycle. The way we have engaged with students in the past needs to change. To that point, engagement needs to focus on building a connection and adding value. As such, touchpoints should be ongoing engagement looking to develop relationships.

In the keynote speech presented by Sumit Nijhawan, President and CEO of RNL, he described the various channels you use as engagement points during the student life cycle. All these points have one goal: to drive back to your website. According to the RNL report for 2019 E-Expectations, seniors and juniors list your website as the most influential resource used in their college search. Once on your site, students want to see more.

“Digital engagement is the most important strategy for engaging Generation Z.” In particular, Nijhawan is “really excited about Super Content,” which he goes on to say “takes interaction with virtual content to a whole new level.” Super Content is advanced media layering that changes flat traditional media into interactive content.

Engaging Students


Virtual Tours

Of the 900 participants in the E-Expectations report, only 41% of juniors, and 18% of sophomores said they schedule campus visits. While seniors are likely to schedule campus visits, recruitment starts much earlier than rising seniors. That being said, most juniors and sophomores will plan a campus visit in the future, but we need to find engaging ways to influence them now.


Virtual Tour Influence on a 1-5 Scale

2019 2018
Sophmores 3.5
Juniors 3.37 3.03

Here, the data shows a significant increase in the influence of virtual tours compared to other resources used in the college search. There are many virtual tours out there. However, the beauty of what Super Content adds to a traditional virtual tour, and why Nijhawan mentioned it in his presentation, is engagement. The media layering aspect adds multiple points of interaction within one frame. Together, each one offers value in building a connection with students.

One of the six big takeaways for 2019 is to communicate visually as much as possible. “The more visual your content can be, the greater levels of engagement you will achieve.” Notably, Super Content allows the ability to take one form of visual media and layer others on top of it. Thus, turning your content into a highly-visual multimedia experience and allowing for higher levels of engagement.


Virtual Reality

Beyond a traditional virtual tour, there has been an increasing influence of virtual reality:


Virtual Reality Videos Influence on a 1-5 Scale

2019 2018
Seniors 3.35 2.57
Juniors 3.57 2.73
Sophomores 3.5

From 2018 to 2019, virtual reality videos saw the most significant gain in influence of any other resource. As such, numerous colleges are tapping into this trend and creating 360-videos and virtual reality to show off their campus. The high engagement factor of virtual reality is what builds relationships with students. With VR goggles, students can download YouVisit virtual tours and fully immerse themselves in the experience. This experience gives students a strong sense of what it’s like to be on campus.

The power of super content is it allows prospective students to interact with photos and videos while looking around your campus. Similarly to virtual tours, VR is a good starting point to get a student interested in visiting campus in upcoming years. For juniors and sophomores, who are unlikely to make a campus visit, it is critical to offer them a highly accessible immersive experience. This experience can influence their decision of which schools to visit in the upcoming years.

To see how super content to make a virtual tour come to life watch the experience below.

Virtual Tour