During one of the latest webinars, Gareth Smith, Director of Student Affairs at the University Academy 92 (UA92) gave us a whirlwind tour through virtual Open Days, digital student recruitment, and how to move your open day activity online. 

Here are some of the key takeaways:

Utilising Technology

  • Utilise the expertise of your in-house learning technologists. They will help you make the most of the digital tools available and explain how to run smooth events online. 
  • Test your tech ahead of time 
  • Use technology during the events to showcase your campus. It will remind students there are real buildings, grounds and facilities for them to attend when this pandemic is over.
  • Don’t be afraid to test different platforms to maximise your reach. Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram (and Insta Live), Facebook – they all play a role.

Planning your event

  • Online events are less formal than standard open days. Chances are that your traditional, popular keynote speakers (e.g. the VC) won’t have the same impact in these environments. So don’t be afraid to innovate.
  • Leverage your students social media expertise, involve them in promoting your events as ambassadors. 
  • When it comes to online events, “little and often” seems to be the best approach. Schedule your events often, and aim for smaller groups of participants than your traditional events.
  • You might get 15 -30 people on your Insta Live, but if you run them often, it will build up your reach. 
  • Don’t churn out the same event every week. Keep it fresh by having different speakers, different formats and using different platforms to attract applicants.
  • Remember parents! This switch to digital means they may be feeling locked out of the conversation. Engage them and give them a place to ask their questions. 

 

Including pedagogy 

  • Organise Q&A live sessions with lecturers and professors. They are a great way to engage students around their chosen course of study. 
  • Course tasters are great but they can be tricky to organise if you have a lot of them. Group similar courses/areas together to streamline the events, but leave space and time for course-specific questions afterwards.
  • Mental health, wellbeing and resilience are key things to address in your online sessions. Provide different channels to encourage students to open up and ask specific questions. 

If you would like to learn more about our Money Ready for Uni – to help your digital recruitment and onboarding strategies, get in touch.