Think Postgrad conducted a survey to discover how the effects of the pandemic have impacted university events. The survey was completed by individuals within marketing and recruitment teams in the UK Higher Education sector.

Summary of findings

The survey findings provided a behind the scenes view of what the last 15 months have brought for those in HE. Working extremely hard to bring events to prospective learners, the online events have made room for flexibility for planning and logistical purposes, particularly for academics who may have found it easier to commit to online events.

The general consensus is that online events have led to positive outcomes, however, will never wholly replace on-campus open days. A hybrid approach using online events earlier in the student recruitment cycle could prove very fruitful for universities who can provide prospects the opportunity to see taster lectures and live Q&As at the click of a button.

Key Messages

Events

Since lockdown online postgraduate events have occurred more frequently than in a normal year

Event Attendees

Virtual events have allowed universities to expand their capacities capped at physical events

Conversion

The survey reported a relatively even split between minimal change compared to an increase in applications

Resources

A small number of respondents said workload had increased during the pandemic, but overall the majority reported less workload or much the same

The future of open days

Open days will be a hybrid mix of online and on campus events in the future

Webinar style events to be used for faculty, tester lectures and live Q&A sessions which have attracted a new audience normally reserved for applicants who are further down the decision funnel. Offering virtual visitors, the chance to interact with course leaders and current students online has been very positive.

One of the great advantages of the virtual event is that learnings from user attendance and completion figures can be attributed in real time. Visitors to a physical open day have many different touch points to reflect on after the event, whereas managing virtual visitor expectations can be measured while it is in progress, and changes can be made and applied for the next opportunity.

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