University Open Days To Create A Great Impression

On an open day, prospective students need to be impressed enough to want to make your university their first choice and as you want to make the registration process as easy as possible, read this guide on how to organise a university open day.

Doing the university rounds a few years ago, I went to some chaotic university open days and it does not have to be the same for yours. Prepare in advance and get your team organised so that you don't repeat their mistakes.

How to organise a university open day:

Sort out the aims for your university open day. I'm sure they will be attracting the right candidate, one that will enjoy your courses, campus and extra curricular activities that are organised. You'll be competing with other universities so if your day is well organised, registration is simple and quick, the potential students are able to see what they are interested in and they get a good feeling about your institution, you're onto a winner.
Timings are very important and you'll need to identify the areas that most visitors will want to see and make sure that vital demonstrations or tours don't clash. That's my unfortunate experience where I've come away really disappointment that I haven't seen something vital. And I wasn't the one who was going to study there! So, either have a rolling programme of accommodation tours and department demonstrations or make sure that you can handle many people visiting these areas.

Once the day's timings have been sorted out, staffing is next. Calculate how many students you'll need and which staff will need to be on duty. Sometimes, it's just departments that have an open day which involves fewer people, but it's still the same principle. The students will need to be trained just before the open day and if you'll organise a distinctive t-shirt or hoodie for the students to make them noticeable, a design, sizes and quantities will need to be ordered.

Marketing, using social media, will need to be put in place, along with a simple registration system. Make sure that your chosen registration system stores your data in the EU Zone for GDPR and Data Protection compliance and beware free systems. Free ones don't charge because your customers become theirs, leaving them open to event marketing from other organisers. Avoid registration systems that store their data in the cloud as it could be held anywhere in the world. Once someone has signed up, send out a prospectus and include them on your CRM system. If your registration system has a CRM capability, your IT supply chain compliance is a lot quicker and easier. Prospective students will invariably bring a +1 to help them, so make sure that your facilities like refectories, toilets, tours and demonstrations can cope.

There are going to be prospective students from a poorer background who will not feel comfortable spending money to travel to your open day and this can be overcome by offering talks at schools and colleges, making sure your open day is filmed for social media or offering travel vouchers. If you want to take young people from a wide range of society, creative thinking will be needed to get them to your open day.

Registration on the day needs to be quick and easy; choose a registration system that has a check-in desk facility which is really easy to use. If check-in can be carried out on a mobile phone that doesn't retain the data, you won't have to invest so much in the event tech. Prospective students are going to be disorientated on their visit as everything will be new to them so make sure that everything is clearly signposted and the check-in desk is highly visible. Have lots of your students around to help and guide people around what will become a congested area.

After the event, canvas the students and staff that helped on the day to evaluate how the day could have been better. If your registration system has a feedback facility, find out from your visitors by sending out an email link the day after the event - finding out things from their point of view will be enlightening. The registration system that has a feedback facility will keep your IT supply chain simple and easier to manage for GDPR and Data Protection compliance.

A CRM system, either one that's built into your registration system or a separate one will help keep prospective students informed and in contact with your university. A built in system will help with GDPR compliance.

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