10 min read

University Life: Virtual Open Days and Virtual Career Fairs Explored

Three students looking at a laptop

Finding the right university and the right job post-study is no longer bound to the real world thanks to things like virtual open days and virtual career fairs.

For universities, virtual open days amplify the countless benefits of enrolling at a particular university. Similar to an in-person open day, only the virtual element does make it a lot more welcoming to international students.

Virtual career fairs are a little different in comparison. These events give students the chance to engage with employers right then and there, and begin to plan their next steps following university.

Our goal here is to show the value of using virtual events to recruit students, and how it’s used once they come to the end of their course. We’ve helped countless institutions understand this through the services we provide and can help you too.

You might have a rough idea of what they are and how they work already, but if there’s one thing we know about virtual events, it’s this:

There’s always more to learn.

What is a Virtual Open Day?

Virtual open days run a lot like your standard in-person open days. They give prospective students access to relevant information that relates to a specific institution. Be it through the courses they offer, the type of support they provide, and so on.

During a virtual open day, prospective students can see and interact with all kinds of curated content, such as a virtual tour, which allows them to navigate the campus as if they were there in person.

More importantly, they can also ask any relevant questions they might have to lecturers or other key figures using live chat and other 1-2-1 functionality. Again, this simulates the feeling of being at this type of event in person, only they could be on the other side of the world!

Additionally, at a physical open day it might be difficult to get to speak to lecturers, whereas at virtual events, they can still answer questions in the on-demand stage.

Usually, virtual open days are split into multiple sessions throughout the day, combining all of the following to entice students to enrol at that university:

  • Webinars
  • Panel Discussions
  • Presentations
  • Live Chat with Lecturers and Department Heads

Every university is different in terms of what they include at these events. Which is the great thing about virtual events, generally, in that you can include just about anything with the right event platform.

university students graduate

What are the Benefits of Running a Virtual Open Day?

Running a virtual open day gives universities – and colleges too – the chance to do a lot more in terms of increasing the number of freshers they have on campus at the start of term time.

This is, of course, one of the main benefits of virtual events, generally. The increase in the number of people you can reach compared to in-person events is staggering. There’s an entire world out there to engage with, which universities know first-hand thanks to the hundreds, if not thousands of international students who enrol each year.

Increasing how visible you are to prospective students is but one of the benefits of running a virtual open day, below we’ve included more for reference.

Running a Virtual Open Day is Cost-Effective

Attending an open day can be a costly experience – for you and for anyone travelling to your campus to seet. For institutions, there are the costs associated with opening the campus for the day, plus staffing, and catering (if applicable).

Running fewer in-person open days and more virtual open days will save you a lot of money in the long run, whilst not missing out on the chance to inform potential students about why they should think about enrolling at your institution!

What’s more, these events can be reused multiple times over. This not only saves you money in the long run but as a by-product of that, will cut the number of emissions produced significantly, which is something young people are influenced by.

These Events Can Be Replayed

Once an in-person open day is over, it’s over. Students have to either wait for another one if they missed it, or just not attend altogether. These events are also limited by what time they take place too, with most events occurring during sociable hours (between 8 am and 8 pm).

Virtual open days are a lot more flexible in comparison. Those in attendance can also watch presentations and access information at an hour that suits them once the event has concluded! This benefits prospective international students greatly, as they might operate in a completely different time zone.

Making these events replayable is incredibly helpful, and will lead to more people enrolling at your university because of it.

Woman on a laptop sitting on the steps outside of a university

Attending these Events is a Lot More Accessible

Accessibility is more of a requirement than a suggestion for universities. This applies to open days too. By running an event in a completely virtual setting, you remove barriers for attendees, creating a welcome environment that is open to everyone.

There is a range of people who may not be able to attend an open day in-person. Time and money are two of the main reasons why, so providing these individuals with a different way to learn more about your university will only increase its viability.

You’ll also show them you care as you’ve gone to that much effort to accommodate them. The same can be said for prospective students with physical disabilities. These prospective students have their own set of requirements, which you cater for automatically simply by giving them access to your virtual event!

In short, all anyone needs to access these events is an internet connection and a smartphone or computer, and practically everyone on the planet has access to both.

Analytics and Reporting Allow you to Monitor Everything

Gauging how well your open days have gone can be tough when you’re doing it physically. Sure, you can distribute surveys, but not everyone is willing to fill them in and do so with the same level of accuracy you’d hope for.

With virtual events, you can track pretty much everything. From how long people attended down to the second, to what types of questions they were asking, to which booths they visited. The data is all there and it’s all captured for you to use as you see fit! It will enable you to see which candidates have engaged the most, thus giving you a feel as to the likelihood of them making an application.

Understanding what works best will only strengthen all future events, thus increasing the chances of students choosing one university over another.

How do you Run a Virtual Open Day?

The way you run a virtual open day is the same way you’d run a physical version of the same event, only most of the work is handled for you, allowing you to utilise your time elsewhere as the event rolls on.

You’ll still need to plan the event as you would normally, just with more emphasis on digital and how you hope to engage those in attendance. Step one should involve the type of event you want to host.

Do you require a large multi-session event, or will a single stream webinar suffice? Once you’ve answered that question, it’s time to look for an event platform capable of performing what you need it to.

To run a virtual open day you’re going to need an event platform capable of meeting your requirements and your expectations. This is where we come in. At iVent, we give you everything you need to get your virtual open days up and running.

Not every virtual event platform will have the ability to host the type of event you want to run, making it super important that you make the right decision well before the event.

“This year we had our best experience with iVent to date. We have been a client for 4 years and found the communication this year to be super responsive considering the time zone difference.”
– James Cook University Australia

Unlike other platforms, we create yours with your wants and needs in mind. We’ve already helped institutions like Newcastle University, the University of Exeter, and the University of York bring their virtual open days plans to life, and could do the same for you.

Get started on your events.

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What is a Virtual Career Fair?

It’s time to go from one side of university life to the other and talk about virtual careers fairs. Like virtual open days, online job fairs take an existing event and bring it online, thus simulating the feeling of being there in person.

These events give students the opportunity to connect with a wide range of employers and vice versa. Again, by choosing to go virtual, you increase your scale-of-reach, meaning you aren’t as limited by location and more employers are likely to attend.

With the event taking place virtually, event organisers will never have to worry about not having enough space to accommodate every business. With the right platform, countless businesses can have their very own virtual booth.

Global accessibility is but one of the benefits of running a university jobs fair in a digital setting. Here are some of the other benefits for reference:

  • Interactive: Networking areas with group chats, surveys, and discussions encourage attendees to engage with each other in more ways than one.
  • Cost-Effective: Hosting the event virtually helps university organisers save both time and effort compared to traditional career fairs.
  • Ease-of-Use: Students can easily access the jobs posted and even schedule one-to-one interviews right there and then!
  • Connections: Running a virtual career fair gives interested individuals easy online access, meaning employers never miss out on finding the right candidates.
  • Data & Analytics: Detailed data and analytics allow organisers to track various metrics as an online job fair is happening and after.

For more information on virtual career fairs, and why you should run this type of event, check out this page here.

University Life: Virtual Open Days and Virtual Career Fairs Explored

Hopefully, this post has been an education for those previously unaware of virtual open days and virtual career fairs. Or, more specifically, how much of an impact technology has had on higher education as a whole.

Universities around the world were already taking advantage of virtual open days before the pandemic and are continuing to do so given just how viable it is in attracting prospective students to their institution and employers to careers fairs.

Decided you want to run one of these university-oriented events but don’t have an optimised platform capable of running them? At iVent, we create fully customised event platforms fit to engage prospective students from all walks of life.

Get in touch today to learn more about what we can do for you.

Virtual Open Days/Virtual Career Fairs FAQs

What should be included in a virtual open day?

When it comes to planning a virtual open day, organisers should look to include things such as webinars with key figures and students, taster sessions of classes, a tour of the university and any other relevant locations, and plenty of online resources for prospective students to access.

Why should universities run online job fairs?

Running an online jobs fair is great for connecting businesses with the right candidates, and students with the right jobs, without restrictions. For universities, it’s a cost-effective way of running an event that would typically take place in person, and a more consistent way of tracking how many jobs were applied for through optimised data and analytics.

How do you run a virtual careers fair?

To run a virtual careers fair you’re going to need a virtual event platform capable of meeting your list of requirements. A platform that can be easily navigated and features all relevant event branding. Talk to iVent for more information.

Get started on your events.

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