Spotlight

Universities have traditionally found it hard to connect with potential postgraduate students. Hosting open days is the obvious marketing tool, but they are expensive and time consuming, and are frequently ill-attended. But how else do you let graduates know about the opportunities for further study? Universities are increasingly looking at alternative ways for postgraduate students to engage with them.

Hosting virtual open days as well as postgraduate study Q&A sessions using a group live chat can be a great way of connecting with your audience without them having to ‘make an effort’ or commit. They simply join the event wherever they may be – on the bus, at home or even at work. This makes it a much more accessible way for them to find out more about something they might only be vaguely considering.

University of Gloucestershire held one such Q&A session to help graduates understand how they could make postgraduate study work for them. Hosted by a member of the marketing team, they were joined by the course leader for the MBA programme, as well as colleagues from Careers, Student Finance, Admissions and Student Achievement. Participants asked questions on a wide range of topics showing just how varied their concerns and queries were and highlighting the importance of having the breadth of experience on the chat to answer their questions.

The other aim for the chat was to encourage attendance at the upcoming postgraduate on-campus event the university was hosting.

I really think you’d benefit from speaking to our academic staff at our open event in a few weeks. Definitely talk to them about which industry links are most important to you, and which events or festivals you would like to get involved with – it’s so important that you get what you really want out of your investment.

Lesley Southgate, Gloucestershire’s Social Media Officer told us

For those students who signed up for the postgraduate live chat, 33% converted to join the open event which is awesome for this audience. The experience is really, really valuable for those users who do join us, and I feel it’s a high-value touch point with them for us.

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