We’ve all heard about this ‘New Normal’ but what does it mean for Open Days?

Eleana Davidson on 15 September 2020

It’s that time again; Open Days. And while our friends over at Natives and Akero have over 10 years of experience in what makes an Open Day successful, 2020 calls for brand new, fresh insight. So here at Student Hut, we gathered just that, to supplement the resources you already have. Here’s what we found and you can download the insights for free here too. 

First things first, 74% of students said they would want to attend an in-person open day, compared to 64% who said they would want to attend a virtual open day.

But the reality is that in some cases, a virtual event is the only option. So this is what’s most important for students when it comes to online open days:

  • Virtual tours of the campus,
  • Live talks about the course(s), 
  • Virtual tours of the student accommodation. 

They also told us what you can shelve to save time and resources; virtual tours of your university town/city and live chats with administrators and admissions officers.

Consider replacing those aspects with these instead; question and answer sessions, Covid-19 response information, insights into societies and clubs, advice from current/past students and information about interviews and admissions.

“It was quite similar to a normal open day in that lectures and discussion panels don't really change by going online.”

We discovered that 5% of prospective students have already attended a virtual open day. And of those that have attended, we can learn from the negative aspects of their experiences. Which included difficulty in getting the true vibe of the campus/accommodation virtually, and the inability to ask questions. So what can you implement in order to counteract those shortcomings? 

“It was an easy process to book/sign up to sessions, it was organised well so that prospective students could ask questions on the live chat/video.”

Here’s some food for thought to finish with; the majority of students told us that they would prefer to have access to virtual open day content over a period of time. Can your students sign up and access the open day materials for a number of days, rather than on a specific date? If not, this may be worth revisiting. 

You can download the full insights here and be sure to sign up for fortnightly updates with our Student Tracker for more like this (on a range of topics).

Eleana Davidson
Eleana Davidson on 15 September 2020