As you might expect applicants did their homework and put in the miles with 86% of students attending two or more Open Days during their university decision-making process, and 41% attending four or more.
Students say a great university Open Day experience is one where they can envision themselves at your university. If an applicant can picture themselves living and working at your university, then you have communicated the most nebulous of concepts – the student experience itself.
Most important to students when attending an Open Day
- Finding out about clubs and societies
- Seeing the student accommodation
- Visiting facilities (libraries, shops, sports facilities etc.)
- University welcome staff
- Talks/lectures from academic staff
- Meeting academic staff
- Getting a feel for the campus
In bad news for academic egos, talks and lectures came 5th on the importance list, with meeting academics coming in a surprising 6th. The message from students clear – they want to see student experience factors like accommodation, life-around-learning facilities, and clubs & societies.
Reassurance was a theme that came through strongly. Applicants want to be reassured their student life will be enjoyable, and a well-run Open Day reassured them that the university itself was well organised which is an important factor for them. 73% feel reassured they would settle in quickly and would easily find people like themselves after an Open Day.
Students value helpful staff, a friendly atmosphere and a well organised day. Open Day organisation is the easiest way to turn applicants on and off. The research found students disliked Open Days where they had to wait around for meetings, experienced a clash of activities and had to rush from lecture to lecture.
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