The University of East Anglia (UEA) Virtual Applicant Day
The time to decide
Following on from the highly successful virtual open days held in 2020, the University of East Anglia (UEA) needed to address the next step in the prospective student journey: persuading all the students who applied to UEA to make it their first choice. But with the pandemic forcing another national lockdown for the first part of 2021, they needed a virtual take on their traditional applicant day. So we got on the case. We devised a personalised interactive web-based platform that offers applicants all the information they need to be able to make their decision, with a phased launch that targets specific courses on specific days.
A deep-dive into student life
Applicant days offer students the chance to explore the UEA further with a subject-specific focus – allowing them to get more of an intimate feel for what it would be like to study there. And while some of the applicants would have attended the virtual open day, not everyone had – so it was still important to show life at UEA beyond academia. So we made sure the platform offered a mix of live content for the day itself, and informative, immersive resources that students could keep coming back to after the main event had finished – all personalised to the user based on the offer they’d received. The key features included:
A checklist to guide students through the content so they wouldn’t miss anything important
Live events and Live Chat functionality which could be scheduled for a single, a mix or all subjects
Downloadable resources for the user’s chosen course
A dedicated ‘student life’ section to show what it’s like to live at UEA, including interactive and immersive 360º and 2D videos and images
A ‘next steps’ section to guide students through the important tasks and deadlines they need to know once they’ve made their choice.
In place of the lectures that students would normally be able to attend in person, we filmed course leaders and academics giving their talks to camera and hosted the videos on the platform. Originally planned to be done in studio, the tightening of lockdown meant we had to adapt our plans – and instead we recorded the speakers remotely via webcam, who were guided by a handy instructional video we created specially for them, and supervised by a member of our team. For all 53 talks, we edited them into a consistent format using B-reel footage from each faculty and adding a standard introduction and ending too – creating a cohesive set of subject talks that can be viewed multiple times via the platform.
All of this was backed up by a CMS, allowing UEA team members to manage key content themselves, as well as detailed analytics to insights into the platform usage. The first virtual applicant day launched on 1st March 2021 – covering an initial six subjects; with the following phases planned for the coming weeks.
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