Wednesday, 18 July 2012

What a difference a day makes

No, this isn’t a blog about the popular song as sung by Dinah Washington, but rather a blog about our forthcoming Open Days in October.   In a service led industry where our product is intangible in nature and, to a great extent, consumed at the same time as it is produced, Open Days have always been an important marketing tool for showcasing what we can offer prospective students.  However, it could be argued that the recent rise in tuition fees means that the role of Open Days is now more important than ever, with prospective students scrutinising every aspect of this investment closer than ever before.  A number of universities have already reported Open Day attendances increasing as a result of this.

So at our forthcoming Open Days this autumn, expect students and their parents to be savvier than ever and asking more questions about what they get in return for their investment.  Remember, at this stage, students will be doing a lot of research and comparing what we can offer against that of other universities.  Think about what makes your course or courses stand out from the competition and what a prospective student might like to know.  Although students will obviously be looking closely at the learning environment and the surrounding area as an indicator of whether they like this university, they will also be giving careful consideration to how we can add value to them as an individual.

It is worth highlighting Chester’s student-centric approach to learning; our innovative work-based learning modules; our outstanding graduate prospects; our excellent NSS scores and our current standings within various league tables within the Northwest.  Parents might also be keen to hear that Chester has been revealed as one of the safest universities in England and Wales.

Ensure you use current students at the Open Day as advocates for your courses; satisfied customers are always a key referral source for any service organisation.  And ensure you make good use of the exhibiting space available at the Open Day as an area where prospects can speak to staff on a one-to-one basis.

It is also important not to simply tell prospective students who we are, but to show them.  Put on as many taster lectures and demonstrations as possible.  Invite students to view your facilities and let them have a go. Engage and entertain prospective students and their parents so that they leave inspired wanting to know more. This is the one day you have to show prospects what Chester is all about.

Anna Long and Mark Hoddell will have already been in touch with a good number of you to ask what your requirements are for our forthcoming Open Days.  Hopefully this blog will have got you thinking more closely about what you need to deliver, but should you have any queries about this blog, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

All in all, the Open Day is about showing prospective students the difference that Chester is able to make.  With applications opening in September, the timing of this Open Day is such that it coincides with when the majority of applicants will be researching and applying for university and we want that application to be to your course at Chester.

So what difference does a day make?  Well, if our Open Day does what it’s supposed to, hopefully a big difference to our prospective students and their perceptions of Chester.

Until the next communication...


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