A recent survey found a widespread deficiency of resources for educational institutions, including a lack of fundamental information on enrollment data. Without this data, many colleges and universities lack insight into what institutional events their current and prospective students want.
As the higher education system kicks back into full gear, these institutions need more efficient strategies to collect key student information and use that data to deliver a more optimized student experience. One often overlooked strategy? Educational events such as college fairs, kick-off weeks, campus tours and other activities.
These events offer educational institutions a creative option for obtaining crucial information about both current and potential students.
Finding the right data
Higher institutions can use a wealth of available information, from student demographics and achievements to perceptions and processes. When analyzed for insights, this data helps educational leadership to:
- Improve student access.
- Determine what learning programs to invest in or cut.
- Counteract inequality and reduce bias.
- Improve online and in-person teaching.
- Enhance the university experience.
Events offer the perfect opportunity to collect this data. To maximize the effectiveness of data collection during event planning and execution, colleges and universities must implement technology.
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Best practices for event registration
The higher education sector relies on events for many reasons: recruitment and campus tours, career and job fairs, alumni reunions and engagement, fundraising, research forums, conferences and symposiums, competitions, concerts and sporting events, and so much more.
To stay connected, strategize, plan and run events seamlessly and efficiency institutions must use a single platform. A single event management platform also empowers higher ed institutions to offer virtual and in-person attendees an immersive experience and standardize their off- and on-campus events.
For example, if a college wanted to host an orientation event to welcome new students, different groups could use the same platform to personalize the experience. Even before arriving on campus, each group could create different — but connected — virtual events like “Meet your roommate” or “Get to know your professors.” Students could also virtually attend specific, required sessions to familiarize them with campus life, courses, dorm expectations and more. Parents could take their own journeys and participate in sessions relevant to their needs, like how to complete FAFSA applications, learn about scholarship opportunities or review campus safety policies.
Branded event registration pages and event templates help to create a sense of community — integral to a well-designed event. A single platform also supports customizable spaces that facilitate connections among faculty, prospective and current students, parents and anyone else in the college and university community.
Other tips to keep in mind include:
- Keeping original branding, with everything associated with the event — online registration, payment processing and registration policies — branded the same. Consider embedding the registration process on the main homepage, making it easy to find and complete.
- Taking advantage of templates but customizing them to align with your organization’s brand, maintaining consistency across all events.
- Ensuring your software is capable of automatically compiling reports, which are critical for understanding and gaining insights into the data you’ve collected.
- Identifying which registration features your organization needs to create a seamless experience for users. Search for event management software specifically designed for higher education.
- Using waitlisting to capture and hold contacts who’ve registered for an event after it’s booked. Dynamic waitlists update in real time, registering when someone has added their information to an event and contacting people automatically should space open up to accommodate them.
- Using event apps to give participants access to the information they need 24/7 about schedules, session updates, speakers and organizers, other attendees and much more. Mobile event apps enable attendees to “choose their own adventures” by deciding which sessions to attend.
- Connecting with participants after the event concludes by using the contact information they provided. Send a follow-up email to ask for feedback to apply for future event planning. Maintaining the connection can also help turn students into ambassadors for your organization.
Using data to deliver an exceptional student experience
The student experience is critical, and the right data can ensure higher ed institutions deliver on the promise of a positive experience. By analyzing trends in data collected through events, colleges can identify whether they’ve met their goals, learn more about student demographics, find areas of improvement and achievement and more. Tracking data gives leadership the insights it needs to make decisions that will also attract more students, reduce attrition and generate higher revenue