The perennial problem of the Open Day no-shows

What to say to the applicants who stayed at home

They’ve clicked on an ad, leafed through a prospectus, browsed your site and booked onto an Open Day. You’ve kept them warm with emails, sent a reminder text and sent them an itinerary. And they still don’t turn up. 

Universities often report Open Day no-show rates well in excess of 20%. While it’s frustrating it also means universities are presented with an audience with a high level of engagement and demonstrated an intention to act, but have failed to act.

Our Open Day survey (of 1,200 applicants) has some valuable insights for recruitment teams and marketing departments putting together communications for Open Day no-shows.

Of those who haven’t or won’t attend an Open Day the biggest deciding factor was location and commute from home (68%). Communicating your transport links and provision for commuter students can help your local applicants make their decision. They haven’t had the opportunity to experience how your university lives up to its reputation in the flesh, so they may need a bit more quality reassurance.

Non-attenders haven’t been able to speak to current students. Use other ways of helping them engage with the current community; twitter takeovers, current student outbound calling, directing them to The Student Room for authentic peer-to-peer info for example.

Top deciding factors for students who didn’t attend an Open Day

  1. Location and commute from home
  2. University reputation
  3. Cost of living
  4. Friend recommendations
  5. Talking to current students already at the university

Key information sources when making their university decision without attending an Open Day

  1. University website
  2. UCAS website
  3. University prospectus
  4. Other league tables
  5. The Student Room

When it comes to virtual Open Days 30% dislike the idea, 28% like the idea and 21% don’t know what they are. Students are still new to the idea of an online experience but virtual Open Days could become an extremely valuable tool for those who don’t attend an Open Day. Virtual Open Days coupled with speaking to current students on websites like The Student Room can make a huge impact on the decision of those who don’t attend an Open Day.

Want to hear more student insights from The Student Room?

Contact us today on 0800 999 3222 or get in touch to find out more.