Billings universities have made changes to their enrollment processes due to COVID-19.
Montana State University Billings and Rocky Mountain College have both implemented a virtual campus tour program that allows new students to get a good look at the campus and ask questions answered to a new student specialist.
Rocky uses a guided walk through of the entire campus, including the equestrian facility and the aviation department, that allows future students to get an idea of how the campus looks even when students and faculty are there.
“For us, it’s an actually recorded and guided tour with a tour guide through each of our academic buildings, our facilities, resident halls, etc., so that they can actually see what it looks like walking through a building,” said Rocky's dean of enrollment services, Austin Mapston.
Mapston said that instead of just having students take the virtual tour through an empty building, footage of the campus when it is populated was included to showcase the student experience at the college.
At MSUB, Director of New Student Services Kristin Peterman said staff created their tour using a 360 degree camera that allows students to enter buildings virtually and pan around as if they were there.
These tours are guided by a new student specialist to ensure future students have the best experience.
“We’re trying to mimic that feel of students being able to come to our campus and visit with our new student specialist… then we can take them through campus virtually with all of our 360 photos and different things that we have on the web,” said Peterman.
Peterman said that to support students and local businesses, MSUB is offering gift cards to local coffee shops including Mazevo, Moav, and Rock Creek Roasters to students who complete their virtual tours.
Both Peterman and Mapston mentioned that they have seen positive feedback from the virtual tour experience and they are happy that future students can still visit the campus in this way.