Visiting American University’s lecture halls, dorm rooms, and sports facilities with a few mouse clicks swayed David Shapiro to enroll at the Washington, D.C., campus.

Colleges and universities are turning to the interactivity of web 2.0 technology in the annual bid to lure new students by showing the best of campus services and facilities. American University and Penn State University are two schools heading the trend toward virtual campus tours, and higher education officials expect more schools to follow.

"Most colleges, when you’re applying, you don’t have an up-close look at the [campuses]," said Shapiro, 18, a senior at Newton South High School in Newton Centre, Mass., who visited American University this week.

The virtual tour includes dozens of online videos in which faculty, staff, and students trumpet American’s educational and recreational highlights. These personal testimonies, Shapiro said, helped him choose American over the other 10 schools he applied to.

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