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SMC virtual magazine welcomes prospects

April Thomas | Friday, November 12, 2004

Prospective Saint Mary’s students can now experience the college’s campus without leaving home.

Saint Mary’s free virtual magazine – V-Mag – has been added to the College’s homepage, inviting prospective students to go on a virtual tour of the buildings and grounds.

According to Nick Farmer, Saint Mary’s director of marketing and communications, V-Mag was initially offered only to accepted students and not publicly displayed on the college’s homepage.

“This year the program is offered to prospective students, before the application process even begins,” Farmer said.

The first issue features the guidance of two current student hostesses and seeks to give an accurate portrayal of the school’s academic, spiritual and social atmosphere.

Junior Anna Bauer, one of the hostesses, got involved with V-Mag through student government.

“I think the best part about the process was the student involvement from the very beginning,” Bauer said. “The producers made it a point to use real student interviews, stories and perceptions in writing the scripts.”

NewGame Communications created the V-Mag to appeal to today’s teenagers. In V-Mag’s first year, the company employed both Saint Mary’s College and Georgetown University as initial test subjects.

Mary Pat Nolan, Saint Mary’s director of admissions, saw potential in the idea.

“The admissions staff was looking for a cutting-edge, technologically savvy way to communicate with accepted students, a way that would present the benefits of a Saint Mary’s education from our most credible sources – Current students, faculty and alumnae,” Nolan said.

Now in its third year, the newly enhanced virtual magazine has been helping differentiate Saint Mary’s from other colleges and reduce traditional marketing costs.

Despite its success, the virtual tour is not meant to be a final step in decision-making.

“The V-Mag is not intended to be a replacement for the campus visit . . . rather, it is an exciting invitation to learn more,” Nolan said.

Bauer said producing the Saint Mary’s V-Mag gave her the opportunity to share her enthusiasm for her school.

“This was one of the best experiences during my college career thus far,” Bauer said. “It was so much fun to get to share this place with prospective students and hope that my story can help them come here and love it as much as I do.”