Image of a student attending a virtual open day

 by David Handy
, posted On 12 Jul '21
 By David Handy, Head of Admissions at King Edward VI College Stourbridge (Previously Senior Student Recruitment Manager at Newman University)

A school and college guide to virtual open days. What are they - and what will they involve?

During the last twelve months, the way in which we have facilitated open days and events has had to shift owing to COVID-19 and the challenges that this has brought about.

As universities we have had to adapt rapidly to be able to support your students, their families and yourselves through the journey to higher education. As such, open days transitioned to online events.

What to expect from a virtual open day?

Quite simply, expect for your students to be able to ask all the questions that they would have at a face-to-face event to both staff and students!

Different universities will do this through a range of platforms, but there will be the chance to ask course specific questions of academic staff, as well as getting the perspective of current students on their studies and the experience they have had at the university.

Not only can your students ask questions of our academic staff and students, but those crucial support services will also be represented – finance, admissions, accommodation, student support, the students’ union etc. We know that your students and their families may have very specific questions relating to their individual circumstances and there will be opportunities throughout events to ask them.

Virtual open days are more than just a chat platform

For many prospective students, participating in presentations during open days is very important, to find out more about the subject area they are interested in or about topics such as student finance and the applicant journey.

Universities have also been able to make these available virtually too. There may be live webinars running at specific times during an event or through pre-recorded videos that students can watch at their convenience.

Students should make sure they plan their time at the virtual event in order to ensure they can attend all of the sessions they hope to – in the same way they would when attending a campus event. If time is tight, they can always check if the university is running any webinar sessions at a different time.

Students can still see the university and campus

In terms of experiencing the university itself, your students will find virtual tours or campus tour videos available to showcase university facilities. There may also be the opportunity to book campus tours at another point to explore the facilities on offer at the university.

Teachers, careers colleagues and support staff: request your FREE UniTasterDays Teachers' Guide to University brochure.

This brochure has been produced by in collaboration with HELOA - to support the university guidance that is provided in secondary schools and colleges.

Editorial has been provided by over 35 colleagues at universities and higher education institutions throughout the UK. On topics covering how to support students with their university decisions, university events, widening participation & fair access, UCAS applications (including writing school references) and more. It also includes the key student finance facts from Martin Lewis.

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