Local college to offer virtual tours

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton-Montgomery Community College recently hired YouVisit, a company that specializes in assembling virtual tours that can be used on client websites.

The company will design a virtual tour that will highlight the facilities the college has available to the student body.

“Oftentimes, when we get people on the campus, they are just amazed at what we have to offer here,” FM President Dustin Swanger said. “This will allow potential students to experience what each area looks like from their computer at home.”

College officials said the tour will launch on the website for the fall recruiting season and will feature a walking tour of the FM campus that includes photos and video. It will be accessible on the website and has the ability to be viewed from mobile devices, according to meeting documents.

The YouVisit team came to the college for three days to shoot video and pictures in late May and are hopeful to have the tour script finalized and on the website within four to six weeks, Swanger said.

The virtual tour will help the college with recruitment of out-of-county and out-of-the-country students and will be available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese.

College officials are anticipating a 2 percent reduction in student enrollment to 2,144 FTEs for the next academic year. Officials are looking for new ways to entice students to attend the college.

The college has purchased “pay per click” advertising to promote fall enrollment on Facebook and also purchased a number of billboards and newspaper ads.

FM has even been promoting summer and fall enrollment on a local TV?station during shows such as “The Voice.”

Swanger said the college typically has about 20 percent of the student population come from outside Fulton and Montgomery counties. This year, the percentage was 27 percent.

“I think having the virtual tour on our website will help with increasing our enrollment from outside our sponsoring counties,” Swanger said.

Swanger said there is a decline in community college enrollment across the country, partly because the number of students graduating from high school is dropping.

“We are also seeing a decline in returning adults because the economy is getting better,” Swanger said.

Levi Pascher can be reached by email at lpascher@leaderherald.com.