QS virtual recruitment fairs assisted two-thirds of attendees in their study decision

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, data from QS insights shows the impact of virtual fairs on student recruitment in UK higher education

New data from QS Insights provides an overview of the impact of virtual fairs on the university recruitment process one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, revealing that QS’s (Quacquarelli Symonds) own virtual events helped more than two-thirds (69%) of prospective student attendees in making their study decision.

With the ongoing pandemic, its subsequent lockdowns and ensuing social distancing measures putting an end to large gatherings, education industry events have not been allowed to take place. Consequently, the sector shifted to virtual conferences, exhibitions and fairs, with recent research from QS – the higher education think-tank – showing that online recruitment events have supported resilience in students and universities alike throughout this challenging time.

In 2020, QS online fairs saw more than 83,000 total student registrations, amounting to an average of almost 1,000 student sign-ups per event. Not only have these fairs proved beneficial for the institutes themselves, helping them achieve crucial recruitment targets, but they have also been of great value to attendees, proving their worth as substitutes for in-person events.

“The positive response to our virtual events has shown that they will continue to have a place once physical events become possible again” – Jessica Turner, QS

On top of helping prospective students settle on their university decision, virtual recruitment fairs have been great for industry engagement – with more than three-quarters (78%) of attendees saying they had contacted at least two institutions after the occasion. Furthermore, 77% of online participants claimed such fairs enabled them to meet with universities they had never encountered before.

“The restrictions on holding face-to-face events created a challenging environment for the sector over the last 12 months,” said Jessica Turner, group managing director at QS.

“Throughout the pandemic, QS remained committed to supporting our higher education partners through data-driven insights and innovative solutions,” she added. “We are pleased that we have been able to deliver high-return virtual recruitment fairs for the sector, continuing to enable high-quality interactions between providers and prospective students. The positive response to our virtual events has shown that they will continue to have a place once physical events become possible again.”

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