virtual open houses

A Guide to Virtual Open Houses For Universities and Colleges

With online education in practice, most educational institutions prefer hosting virtual open houses. The purpose is to attract a large number of students and to receive online applications. It is, however, a transformed approach to hosting a university open day. Because of the pandemic restrictions, most institutions have begun looking for more interactive and engaging strategies to host prospective students online. To them, a virtual open house seems ideal as it is accessible and user-friendly for global applicants. 

As long as it is serving the purpose, virtual open houses will dominate all around the world. 

What Are Virtual Open Houses? 

Virtual open houses are the right substitute for in-person open days. Previously, in-person open days demanded more of your time and expenses. While now, virtual open houses bring you a chance to introduce the university campus and facilities to a global audience and secure maximum admission applications. 

It has saved you from the hassle of long-term planning and arrangements. Also, it saves you lots of time and does not require the students and parents to travel down to the campus location. Meanwhile, you could utilize the time better and design a memorable virtual open house experience for the audiences. It is by far considered the most economical and efficient solution for universities and colleges around the world! 

Why Host Virtual Open Houses? 

There are numerous good reasons to host a virtual open house. Since the pandemic, people have been quite cautious about gathering on-site in large sums. We cannot blame them as health and safety come first. Moreover, the climatic changes today discourage travelling long distances. Under those circumstances, making people travel or gather at the physical venue is unsafe. Thus, for all the good reasons, people now prefer an online virtual gathering over a physical one.

So, would you dare move your educational events online? I believe yes! Virtual open houses not only expand your reach but also helps achieve sustainable results that are unmatched compared to a physical event. But would you like to drain all your money once the event is over? Of course not! So, switch to a virtual open house and maximize the visibility of your university, campus facilities, educational programs and prominent faculty.

Let us discuss the possibilities of virtual open houses in detail! 

3D Virtual Campus Tours

Remember how as a kid, you were obsessed with watching an online tour of the entire city without having to travel? Virtual platforms bring in the same strategy and transform open house experience into a 3D virtual reality experience. Basically, the platform applies advanced 3D animations and renders to create an online campus tour of your university. Creating a life-like venue, the virtual open house presents a next-level experience to the prospective students and their parents. Is this an effective strategy to secure more applications? Absolutely, the 3D campus tours help showcase the campus facilities and familiarize the attendees with your colleagues in the best way possible. As a result, your students experience campus life from the other side of the screen and seamlessly envision their presence on the campus.

Global Reach Across Borders

Why do you think most educational institutions now support online education? It is because the online platforms make everything seem so easy. Now, virtual platforms aid institutions in expanding their reach and allowing remote admission applicants to join in the open house event. For instance, just with an online log-in system, a student from far ends of the world has direct access to your open house. They have access to all the information, content, and documents needed to apply to their dream college. 

Without having to travel or make changes in their schedules, a student easily applies for the programs of their interest. In general, people from any race, nationality or cast now easily enrol themselves at your well-reputed institution and benefit most! 

Online Display of Educational Programs

Just like an in-person open house event, you can display all the available student programs and degree options to prospective students. Multiple webinar options are also available to better educate students on the programs, available subjects and the professors. In fact, the virtual space allows your institution to post-program options at exhibit booths installed in the halls. Like, students get to engage with the booth representatives and have all the necessary information on the degree programs.

More specifically, the exhibitor booths have a resource vault that allows you to put all the necessary information, files and documents; You can make them accessible and downloadable for the attendees to reach an informed decision about their chosen fields.

Access to Real-time Event Insights

We all know how tiring is the documentation process. Physical open houses had you feeling drained and fatigued after the in-person meetup sessions with the students and parents. Also, it was not easy to keep track of all the students’ registrations or applications coming in from thousands of students. Especially the paper documents and admission files took months to be processed further. We do not mean to scare you with these flashbacks, but who would want that anymore?

The digital age has eased it all for us. Now, with a virtual open house, you receive accurate and real-time insights on the attendee registrations, log-ins, booth activity, live chat and interaction, webinar attendance, and a number of applications received. This not only offers an insight into your event’s overall progress but also indicates the success factors. On the top, the information and statistics are secure and accurate, steering you clear of any potential errors. 

By all means, the above discussion is pretty convincing for the universities and colleges to reconsider their options for hosting open houses. So forget about the human efforts and let tech and tools do it all for you.

How Would You Set up a Virtual Open House?

You need not worry when partnered with a virtual events platform! Interestingly, a virtual platform self-manages the entire process of setting up your virtual open house. The support teams help you achieve your goals, from planning to execution. Therefore, you need not hire an event management team who would save your day. Rather, it is only a virtual platform that helps you set achievable goals, work on the event segments, and take you step-by-step through the open house event.

Pick a Suitable Platform

Which virtual platform seems perfect for you to host a memorable virtual open house? Well, it’s a simple process:

  1. Look for a platform with an extensive portfolio hosting virtual open houses for reputable educational institutions.
  2. Consider a platform that offers your desired services and meets your proposed budget. 
  3. Do not compromise on the quality of your event by debating over the pricing. After all, it is about your reputation before a global audience.
  4. Make sure the platform offers 24/7 tech and customer support and has a shining reputation among the competitors.
  5. Consider client testimonials and learn from their experience.
  6. Request demos so you may have a clear picture of your event.  

Work on Event Marketing

In order to gather a global student base at your event, work on pre and post-event marketing. Your event marketing would determine the overall success of the event. So, settle down and plan effective marketing campaigns for your open house. Then, use all the social media channels and platforms to post the best picture of your upcoming virtual event and attract the target audiences. 

By far, social media is considered the fastest approach to reaching your target audience, be it students, parents or guardians. So, create a convincing marketing campaign and watch registrations pile up for your virtual open house. If possible, throw in some dollars so you may receive quick and efficient results.

Present Your Best Picture

A virtual open house allows you to post a convincing picture of your university and college to attract high-school graduates. When you attend to all their reservations online, they need not come down to the campus, wasting their precious time and money. Instead, a virtual open house becomes a true replica of your campus building and displays student life in the best way possible. All in all, you can present 

  • 3D animated virtual campus tour
  • Showcase university facilities 
  • Educate students about programs 
  • Present university facilities at booths 
  • Share university resources in the resource vault 
  • Allow keynote speakers to present the best picture 
  • Host informative webinar sessions
  • Offer an overview of campus life
  • Share annual reports and achievements  

Indulge in Seamless Networking and Engagement 

Unlike physical open house events, virtual platforms allow you to engage students in live one-on-one or group chats. It offers a great opportunity for parents and students to network with university faculty members and staff. Basically, a meeting scheduler option is available for the attendees and students to request private meetings with eachother easily. In fact, to enhance the engagement experience, live audio and video conferencing options are available. Live booth representatives are at the service of students and parents to guide them to apply for programs of their interest. 

On the top, the platform encourages recruiters to;

  • Use the profile search option to engage with anyone online 
  • Easily engage with students through the meeting scheduler option
  • On-demand webinars hosted to educate students on on-campus facilities  
  • Live gamification features encourage student participation in the event 
  • Host live polls, surveys and quizzes to receive live feedback 
  • Live Q/A sessions hosted to attend to student/parent queries 

Track the Overall Event Success  

There are certain determining factors that offer an insight into the success of your event. Your open house event has a live dashboard with all the event reports such as; attendee registrations, student applications, booth activities, live chat stats, webinar views, and downloaded content. Altogether these stats suggest how your open house performed. So, now you have an example of what worked best for you and what did not. This helps streamline activities for your next open house and likewise discard any practices that did not yield expected results. 

Working Tips for Universities and Colleges

If you have beginner’s luck, a virtual open house would change the future of your institute. But, do not let astray with everything available on the internet. Instead, put the best foot forward and then adopt some proven practices to host your online open house.

  • Partner with a platform that has a strong online reputation and promises an advanced feature set 
  • Go hybrid if you wish to offer audiences an in-person and online experience.
  • Play smart when marketing your brand before a global audience 
  • Investigate and intervene within the platform to create the best experience for your attendees
  • Create a photo-realistic live tour of the campus for parents and students 
  • Let faculty, staff and administration guide and educate students on multiple available programs. 
  • Offer online courses for remote students to study from home. 
  • Consider your budget before finalizing the matter with virtual platforms. 
  • Allow social media channel integration to expand the reach of your event.
  • Run convincing marketing campaigns targetting parents, students and guardians 
  • Allow students to save the resource materials in the swag bag and access them later. 
  • Engage with students and families in live text, audio or video chat 
  • Accept student applications for upcoming summer programs. 
  • Customize the virtual venues to offer attendees a real-life campus experience 
  • Showcase all your university facilities such as; libraries, hostel, transportation, cafeterias, computer labs, departments, co-curricular societies and more 
  • Offer incentives to the most active audiences 
  • Make sure your webinar presentations are informative and interactive. 
  • Receive real-time reports and learn from these stats to streamline your next event

Benefits of Hosting Virtual Open Houses

A virtual open house is a win-win for universities and colleges aiming to globalize their reach. Moreover, it offers numerous benefits beyond the limits of a traditional open house. 

  • Allows you to gather students and parents from around the world 
  • Helps put downloadable materials online, such as books and student guides
  • Offers a 360-degree tour of the campus to attract student applications
  • Live interaction and engagement opportunities for students
  • Overall impact of the event is measured with real-time insights

In Conclusion 

Rediscover the online experience by hosting remarkable virtual open houses for your prospective students. Join Lansera – virtual events platform, and let software, tech and tools create an unforgettable experience for your global audiences. 

So, explore the best ideas for virtual open houses and, above all, showcase your university and college before a global audience.

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