Do Students Actually Use College Campus Maps?

September 14, 2016 by Sam Slater

From CampusBird Blog

You’ve been considering upgrading your campus map, but one pressing question is still standing out: do students actually use college campus maps?

Some people think that interactive maps are beneficial to freshmen, who – within a few short weeks – know their way around campus and stop using the map. You may have been holding out on that interactive map upgrade because you aren’t sure if it will really be of value. So let’s look at a few points.

Prospective Students Want Maps

Students who have grown up in the digital age rely on that digital experience when they head off to college. As they’re sifting through college websites, they want to be able to explore the campus virtually. Around 1/4 of high school seniors and their parents think schools should be putting more effort into virtual tours and interactive maps, allowing them to take a closer look at the campus.

Prospective students benefit from campus maps in a number of ways.

  • They can learn their way around campus before they get there for the first day.
  • They can explore everything that the college has to offer, from arboretums and disc golf courses to a university’s extensive history.
  • They can get a better picture of what the college really looks like, from the care and attention that’s been paid to the buildings to the gorgeous views they’ll find outside their dorm room windows.
  • They can fall in love with the campus – and get a great feel for student life – without ever setting foot on campus. And ideally your interactive map helps seal the deal on an in-person visit and campus tour.
Virtual Tour of Bowling Green State University. Image Courtesy of Bowling Green University.

Shocker: Mobile Accessibility is Critical

More parents and students than ever before have access to mobile devices, and they’re using them to check out information on potential colleges. 71% of graduating seniors have looked up college information on their smart phones, while almost half of their parents have done the same thing.

That means that your campus map needs to be mobile accessible, not just for students who are already on campus and hoping to find their way around, but for the students and parents who are considering your university as the ideal place for them to spend the next four years of their lives. It’s also critical to note that college websites are your most effective recruiting tool: according to most students and their parents, the college’s website paid a significant role in their choice of institution.

Current Students Depend on College Campus Maps

While current students may have their regular routes down, an interactive college campus map can provide a huge amount of information. A quick scan on social media will show how students share links to the campus map, and to specific locations within that map, to guide their peers around.

aren’t walking around with their phones in their hands, staring at the campus map to find their way around. They are, however, going to visit the campus map when it’s useful for them. This might include:

  • Sports and other special events that require students to spend more time visiting areas of campus they don’t normally check out.
  • Sharing information with parents and peers about parking, building locations, and even point-to-point interior directions
  • Finding a specific part of the administration building, especially when it’s a complicated maze.

Interactive Campus Maps Are Great for Alumni 

Prospective students aren’t the only ones who get a lot of use out of campus maps. Alumni who want a bit of digital nostalgia, or who are coming back for an alumni weekend or a special event, also find great utility in campus maps to learn more about what’s going on at the old stomping grounds. Campus maps might help them:

  • Learn what’s changed on campus
  • Experience a special alumni virtual campus tour
  • Easily find parking, event information, and even hotels, restaurants and attractions off campus

With CampusBird, you can even add a special layer just for alumni weekend, which automatically toggles on and then off at your set date and time.

And (one quick add on), interactive maps can also be used to help profile future buildings and construction plans, which can help with fundraising.

Interactive campus maps have a wide variety of uses that make them well worth the time and effort spent on them. More importantly, many students and their parents are coming to expect that kind of solution from their college websites.

Topics: Campus MapCampusBirdCollege Campus ToursInteractive 3D MapInteractive Virtual ExperiencesVirtual Tour

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