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Open House Events: Its All in the Details Presenter: Pam Wilkins, Admissions Coordinator Undergraduate Admissions Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

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Presentation on theme: "Open House Events: Its All in the Details Presenter: Pam Wilkins, Admissions Coordinator Undergraduate Admissions Southern Illinois University Carbondale."— Presentation transcript:

1 Open House Events: Its All in the Details Presenter: Pam Wilkins, Admissions Coordinator Undergraduate Admissions Southern Illinois University Carbondale

2 Answer These Important Questions What key ingredients does it take to host a successful open house program? How far in advance should you start planning your open house events and how many staff/volunteers need to be there? Who will your target audience be and how should you communicate with them to get them to visit campus? What key elements does your open house agenda/schedule of events need to provide? Southern Illinois University Carbondale

3 Presentation Outline My Definition of an Open House Event Key Ingredients Needed to Host a Successful Open House Event Complete a Brief Questionnaire Q&A Southern Illinois University Carbondale

4 Definition of an Open House An event involving the entire campus community aimed at showcasing the academic, financial, physical and social benefits of enrollment for prospective students. Southern Illinois University Carbondale

5 Key Ingredients for Success Choosing the Right Date Reserving Needed Facilities Choosing the Right Target Audience Offering a Schedule of Events that meets Visitors Needs Marketing/Communications Directions/Signage/Parking Welcoming Atmosphere Food/Refreshments Transportation/Special Accommodations Staffing/Volunteers Southern Illinois University Carbondale

6 Choosing the Right Date Consult the campus and community calendars for potential conflicts with other already scheduled events and set open house dates a year in advance if possible. Choose a weekday that is convenient for your target audience which is most commonly a Friday, Saturday or school holiday. Try to avoid having open houses on the same dates as other major public/private universities if possible. Tying an open house to another event happening on-campus such as a football game or basketball game may be used as an additional incentive or hook to encourage prospective students to visit. Southern Illinois University Carbondale

7 Reserving Needed Facilities Determine what your space and facility needs are for each event and reserve as early as possible. Reserving space as soon as your open house dates are finalized is recommended if the facilities needed are only available on a first-come, first-served basis, or are facilities that may be reserved by both on- campus and off-campus organizations. Southern Illinois University Carbondale

8 Determining Your Target Audience Do you want to invite incoming freshman or transfer students to attend or both? What geographic areas do you want to invite? Do you want to invite students who meet certain criteria such as a specific ACT range or grade point average? Do you want to invite prospective students who would be entering school for just the upcoming year, or those who may be entering in two years, or further into the future? Southern Illinois University Carbondale

9 Schedule of Events Offer an open house schedule of events that meets visitors needs that includes the following information sessions or activities in a flexible time format: –Admissions Requirements –How and When to Apply –Financial Aid/Scholarship Opportunities –Options for Living/Dining on Campus –Campus and Housing Tours –Information Fair with Representatives from Academic and Student Services Areas –Showcases of Specific Colleges or Departments –Meet one-on-one with representatives from Admissions, Financial Aid and University Housing Southern Illinois University Carbondale

10 Marketing/Communications Post open house and other special events on your schools website and public calendar once the event dates and facility locations are finalized to provide prospective students with the opportunity to learn more about each event and to pre-register to attend. I recommend posting your events a year in advance when possible. Send out a combination of both print (if your schools budget permits) and electronic invitations such as postcards, posters, e-mail and text messages in a timely manner. Utilize social media resources such as Facebook and Twitter. Have recruitment staff promote your schools events when visiting high schools and community colleges. Southern Illinois University Carbondale

11 Directions/Signage/Parking Post specific driving directions, event location details, and a campus map with parking locations on your schools website so that visitors may easily print off this information. Send a confirmation e-mail or letter to those who have pre-registered to attend an open house with specific directions to the name of the building (and room #) where the event will take place, the physical location of that building, when to arrive, and a parking permit if needed. This confirmation should be sent out at least two weeks in advance if possible. FREE parking always works best! Appropriate signage should be placed along commonly used roads and on-campus to direct visitors to the specific event location. Southern Illinois University Carbondale

12 Welcoming Atmosphere Create a welcoming atmosphere when visitors arrive on campus by making a festive entrance with balloons, signage, and having staff or volunteers both outside and inside the building to greet visitors and give directions. Distribute a welcome packet at check-in with the Open House schedule of events and other pertinent information about your school. Go over the Open House schedule of events during the welcome activities so that visitors may get the most out of their day. Have an information station or table where visitors may come to for information or directions. Have staff and other volunteers stationed at specific locations to provide on-the-spot assistance as needed. Southern Illinois University Carbondale

13 Food/Refreshments Offer refreshments to open house visitors when they check-in at the event such as coffee, juice, fresh fruit, yogurt, granola bars and water. Provide FREE lunch in university housing dining halls if possible so that prospective students and their families may experience an actual dining experience on-campus. Our visitors love eating on campus! For summer open house events provide bottled water to visitors to help combat the heat. Offering any type of food or refreshments adds an additional convenience to your visitors that most truly appreciate. Southern Illinois University Carbondale

14 Transportation/Special Accommodations Arrange transportation such as buses or shuttles if needed for your visitors to take bus tours of campus (if offered) or as courtesy transportation to other locations on campus such as residence halls. Visitors often appreciate the added convenience of courtesy transportation so that they dont have to drive from location-to-location while on campus. Arrange to provide special accommodations to visitors who may be physically impaired and need the use of a wheel chair, or other accessible transportation while visiting campus. This is a good question to ask on your event pre-registration reservation form. It is also good to have alternate means of transportation available in the event of inclement weather. Southern Illinois University Carbondale

15 Staffing/Volunteers Last but not least, it is essential that open house events have the appropriate administrators, faculty, staff, students and volunteers on- hand to make the event a success. Those coming to participate need to know what their role is in the event and exactly what their duties will be. E-mail communications (most commonly used) with specific instructions should be sent out outlining what each participant needs to know well in advance. The earlier that everyone knows where to be, when to be there, and what to do when they get there, the better are your schools chances of hosting a successful open house event! Southern Illinois University Carbondale

16 Complete a Brief Questionnaire

17 Southern Illinois University Carbondale Questions?

18 Thanks for Coming Today! Contact Information: Pam Wilkins, Admissions Coordinator Southern Illinois University Undergraduate Admissions 425 Clocktower Drive – MC4710 Carbondale, Il 62901 618.453.2992 (office) 618.453.4609 (fax) E-mail – Southern Illinois University Carbondale

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