New app offers self-guided tour experience to prospective WMU students

Contact: Erin Flynn
People take a selfie near the Bronco statue.

A new self-guided tour app is available in the Apple and Android stores.

As of Monday, April 24, 2023, the self-guided tour app is no longer available. Explore the virtual tour or schedule a campus visit on the Visit WMU webpage.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University's Office of Admissions is reimagining the prospective-student experience amid the global pandemic. A new self-guided tour app—available for Apple and Android devices—gives families an innovative way to experience campus on their own terms.

"Providing a safe visit experience is important to us, and COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions can change. Plus, not every family will want a traditional visit structure at this time," says Director of Admissions Alicia Kornowa. "We needed a consistent way to connect students and families with campus; one they could participate in on their own time and as they are most comfortable."

Two people stand next to the seal statue by Sangren Hall.

The app guides prospective students to different campus landmarks and buildings. A student ambassador narrates each stop.

The app offers a GPS-guided walking or driving tour of campus landmarks, from dining and residence halls to academic buildings and the Bernhard Center, narrated by WMU student ambassadors. It can also be accessed remotely for students and families who aren't able to travel to campus or don't feel comfortable touring in person just yet.

"We know there are people who still need conversations and experiences, so we thought about how we can facilitate it in a new, exciting way and then continue to refresh the experience," says Chelsea Yordy, assistant director of admissions for campus visit. "There are a lot of new things we've designed and we have been a leader in providing those experiences." 

The platform also takes prospective students inside spaces they might not generally have access to with videos and virtual tours of residence hall rooms and floor plans. They can get to know student ambassadors, connect with admissions representatives and even learn about local restaurants by clicking through the app's navigation menu.

"This gives us an additional option to give families, on campus or not, to learn more about Western and get a feel for what life is like as a Bronco," says Megan Anderson, associate director of admissions recruitment marketing and communications.

University-led, in-person tours are currently suspended under the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' epidemic order, but there are a number of ways to learn about WMU. In addition to the new app, the Office of Admissions offers a number of virtual experiences to explore the University, including live, student-led virtual tours and interactive informational sessions with representatives from various programs and colleges.

The app uses GPS to offer turn-by-turn directions as visitors navigate campus.

Quickly pivoting and adapting early on in the pandemic, WMU has been leading the charge to innovate the college recruitment process, offering meaningful experiences for prospective students looking for a place to realize their purpose, focus on well-being and cultivate career success. In a year when many colleges and universities across the country are seeing steep declines in enrollment and interest, Western's seen an influx of applications—up 8%.

The Early Action deadline for first-year, domestic students to apply is Tuesday, Dec. 15. This means students can maximize their consideration for scholarships and all WMU academic programs as well as be considered for priority invitation to Lee Honors College. Rolling admission at WMU continues through June 1, 2021. Get more information about becoming a Bronco on the Office of Admissions' webpage.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.