Perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing the sector since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has been working out what to do around open days.
Getting to visit campus, tour accommodation and, crucially, speak to students and staff remains one of the most important and influential recruitment activities a university can do. But, with campuses around the world closed for the foreseeable future, the sector has had to rethink things.
For most institutions, that has meant recreating the open day experience virtually, with online events. Many of our partners have done exactly that.
In this blog post, we wanted to highlight how three of our UK partners have approached virtual open days, and how they have used our platform to allow those vital peer-to-peer conversations to still happen, and for prospective students to still find out all they want to know about university life.
University of Sheffield - peer recruitment-powered online Applicant Day
The team at the University of Sheffield set up an online Applicant Day to replace their usual, in-person, one.
All applicants were invited to attend via email and were sent to a page full of fantastic content about life at Sheffield. That page also included a pop card to drive traffic to their TAP Page, and they created bespoke filtered TAP Pages with custom titles, linked from different headings on the main landing page.
The day was a great success; 125 prospective students had 169 conversations where 1,914 messages were exchanged.
Jo Thompson, Sheffield’s Senior UK Student Recruitment Officer (Student Voice), said: “We integrated our usual TAP page into the open day so that prospects could chat directly to students studying their course.
“We also created a second TAP page for our central services staff to recreate our central exhibition. This enabled our prospects to have useful and private conversations about finance, accommodation and other non-course related questions.
“We were able to have multiple staff from each team answering questions, and where a team received additional questions during a conversation, they were able to invite colleagues from another team into the conversation who were better equipped to answer that question - this was really useful on the day.
“Staff found the app really easy to use and it was very straightforward to set them up, even only a day ahead of the event.”
University of Bolton - an open day recreated on TAP
The University of Bolton used their Student and Staff TAP Pages as the main driver for their open day.
The four-hour online event saw Students and Staff online and available to chat to prospective students through our platform. During the event, 45 prospective students from 14 different countries had 79 conversations, where 1,174 messages were exchanged.
Paul Starkey, Director of Student Recruitment & Admissions at the University of Bolton, said: “TAP was our immediate go-to when thinking about how to take our open day online, and quickly. We didn’t want to let visitors down by completely cancelling so we tried to replicate the opportunity to talk to our staff as closely as possible. We were already using TAP for engagement with current students so this was an easy fit for us. Staff found the platform extremely easy to use. We are looking to take the platform even further now.”
Since this event, Bolton have been trialling promoting set times when their academics are online ready to answer questions, and are also planning some set themes and promotions.
For more information about their initial online open day, check out the case study we put together about it.
University of Sunderland - Ambassador-created content to promote their open events
For their online open days, the University of Sunderland created two landing pages - one for domestic students, and another for international students.
These pages featured information, photo and video content, and used filtered TAP Carousel widgets featuring their Staff, Academics and Students.
Over the course of their event, 91 prospective students from 15 different countries engaged in 135 conversations, where 1,723 messages were exchanged.
They also put our Content feature to great use, by commissioning selfies and photos from academics and support staff to show they were online and available to answer questions.
For information about how Sunderland got set up on our platform, check out the case study we wrote about them.
How can we help?
If you’d like to explore how we might be able to help you harness the power of peer recruitment, and connect prospective students to your Ambassadors during your online open events, please get in touch and book a demo.
Not only that, we’re also currently offering a three month period of free use of all our features to help you stay engaged with your students during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.