5 Open Days and Events That Have Caught Our Eye
No one can deny that the pandemic has taught us to think differently when approaching marketing and recruitment activities. Our Pulse deep dive into where we are at this stage shows students who want to study on campus are still concerned about Covid disruption but are the group willing to attend an on campus event to get reassurance. With that in mind, and the brave new world of physical and virtual events we find ourselves in, we wanted to take a look to see what was on offer in the sector.
#1 Fitting around a hectic schedule
It’s great to see Anglia Ruskin offering postgraduate open evenings to help fit around a potential applicant’s busy schedule. Being able to jump in after work or doing the school run is a great way to be inclusive from the start, and some of us are just night owls who need the day to wake up and get prepared for an important conversation! This is something we try and help with when scheduling our virtual events, where we have attendees from multiple time zones.
#2 The new hybrid offer
Now that physical events are back up and running, the big questions are what to offer to who, when and, essentially where? Cambridge has decided not to choose between physical and virtual, and instead offer hybrid open days where potential students can visit the campus in person alongside offering webinars, events and videos to join virtually. They’re not the only ones, Staffordshire University and the University of Greenwich are also offering these mix and match events, meaning potential students have complete control on how they want to interact with the unviersity.
#3 Dedicated text chat times
One of our wins for our virtual study fairs has been that we’ve seen five times more conversations with our embedded chat feature. So it was great to see that The University of Edinburgh promote their text chat with their College Admissions Teams during their mini postgraduate open days. Students are able to go to the virtual Exhibition Booths, much like they would at a physical open day, and have their questions answered there and then by the team, rather than trying to phone through or waiting for a reply to an email. We live in a world of instant information so formats such as these are really important at this crucial stage in a student’s postgraduate journey.
#4 Repurposing the webinar format
Who says open days have to be all encompassing and all day? We’ve already seen shorter evening events and frequet mini open days being offered, but how about an open day that only lasts an hour? That’s what UCL have adopted with their subject specific virtual open days. Granted, they are also offering the full day package but their specific subject talks with live Q&A are perfect for anyone who is time poor. Our research shows that being able to talk to admissions and academic staff is the most important aspect of an open day so these short slots are a great addition to the research process.
#5 A metaverse campus
You’ve probably seen the news about the pros and cons of the metaverse but Tomorrow’s University of Applied Sciences has grabbed the bull by the horns and is running it’s Professional Master in Sustainability, Entrepreneurship, and Technology completely remotely, with a metaverse campus! The student learning experience includes the metaverse campus in Cosmos, a Slack channel, technical app support, Impact Hubs, mentorship and the chance to meet up for events. With the success that Queen Mary saw conducting a third year medical student lecture in the metaverse, it will be interesting to see how this new technology is adopted in higher education.
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Eva Vichova and Nikki Hodgson discuss lessons learnt from our spring virtual and physical study fairs.