Students who have never visited New Haven can now take a tour of Yale’s campus from the comfort of their homes.
The admissions office released a virtual walkthrough of Yale’s campus on its website Wednesday that depicts scenes from Commons, Cross Campus, the residential colleges, Science Hill and other locations. Viewers are guided by video images of Yale students who describe the University’s buildings and resources while offering facts about Yale’s history. Though the virtual tours are primarily geared toward prospective students and families who cannot afford to travel to Yale, Deputy Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan ’03 said they are also useful for those who have visited campus but want to refresh their memories of Yale’s facilities and resources before deciding to apply.
“Many prospective students and their families are not able to travel to Yale because of cost or distance, and we want them to have the experience of walking around campus as well,” said Quinlan, who helped lead the creation of the virtual tour. “For some prospective students and even some admitted students, the virtual tour will be the closest they can get to experiencing Yale before they have to decide whether to apply or matriculate here.”
In addition to giving a step-by-step “walk” through campus, the virtual tour website provides viewers with screenshots of the University’s facilities in 360 degrees, as well as videos of events that take place at buildings such as Sterling Memorial Library. The tour also allows viewers to descend into the basements of some residential colleges and enter labs on Science Hill.
Quinlan said this online content will supplement what students see while they visit campus, and provide them with information they may not have learned at the time.
“Yale’s campus is beautiful and its facilities are world-class,” Quinlan said. “For the most part, students and parents respond very positively to the sights and sounds of campus and the ‘gut feel’ they get when they walk into certain buildings.”
Yale is by no means the first Ivy League school to introduce a virtual of campus. Harvard offers a mobile phone tour, while Princeton, Brown, Cornell and Dartmouth have tours — some more interactive than others — that include pictures and links to information about different parts of the universities.
Yale’s virtual tour webpage consists of four parts: a campus tour, a science tour, a tour of the residential colleges and an athletics tour. The residential colleges tour tells viewers about the roles of masters and deans while displaying facilities such as dining halls, dorm rooms and butteries. The science tour proceeds through Kroon Hall and describes the Perspectives on Science and Engineering program.
Bowen Posner, senior assistant director of admissions, said the tours are broken into individual “hotspots,” at which videos of students pop up to give viewers a feel for places around campus. He added that the 360 degree panorama photographs on the virtual tour are a “special” feature of the website.
“The panoramas and video[s] include descriptions about each featured image and recording that aim to capture the function and spirit of each location,” Posner said.
Planning for the virtual tour began last May, and design and photography continued over the summer, said Ezra Marcus, assistant director of admissions. The University worked with Florida- and New York-based vendor YourCampus360 to build the final product, he said. The admissions office has been adding more features to the website over the last five to six weeks, he said, adding that the office collaborated with other university offices to compile content, he said.
“The virtual tour was definitely a campus-wide collaboration,” Marcus said. “We have experienced a huge amount of buy-in from other offices around campus, notably the Yale Visitor Center, the Yale Broadcast and Media Center, the Office of Public Affairs and Communications and the Athletics Department.”
The website includes links where prospective students can sign up to receive updates from the admissions office, schedule a visit to campus and apply to Yale online.