Tips to Turn Leads into Enrollments with Virtual Fairs

3 min read

Katarina Gligovic

Online tools proved beneficial during the pandemic, and a lot of higher ed institutions are turning to the hybrid model of teaching and events – with a mix of on-campus and digital tools.

College fairs also went online during the pandemic, but it seems they will predominantly stay virtual since they successfully captured the attention of international students and put universities on the global map.

What is a virtual student fair?

Virtual student fairs have the same goal and overall structure as pre-pandemic physical fairs. You can set up a virtual booth and talk to prospective students one-on-one via video chat. They can last however long you need and can have scheduled events such as workshops and webinars. From a university's side, the one-on-one chats give the chance for institutions to familiarize themselves with prospective students who might become applicants.

Virtual fairs can be hosted by an external organization or the institution itself. Externally hosted fairs are pre-scheduled events and universities become an exhibitor, with their own assigned virtual booth. The booths are online profiles that share pre-recorded videos, and general information about the university and its study programs.

Organizing your own fair, with webinars and online events to recruit prospective students requires slightly more planning, budget, and a marketing strategy. However, these fairs have a sole focus on your university, and you can tailor the workshops to suit your study programs and what your prospective students want to know.


Watch how Virtual Fairs helped St Martin's University generate 350+ leads


Why are virtual fairs popular?

As virtual fairs can be attended from all around the world, reaching international students has never been easier. Some of the benefits are: 

  • Easily accessible information

Sometimes scrolling and searching a higher ed institution’s website doesn’t answer all your questions, and virtual booths provide all the necessary materials in one place. You can receive general information about the university, program structure and career opportunities, pre-recorded videos of representatives, and links to virtual tours.

  • Take out the stress of traveling

While virtual fairs are usually catered to prospective international students, they also help domestic students gain an insight that they wouldn’t get from websites. This can help students decide if it is worth the visit to campus or not. Virtual fairs give a platform for personalized meetings and prospective students may feel more comfortable asking questions via video chat than in person.


  • Increased visibility

Virtual fairs hosting dozens at one time allow students to filter their search so they can look up a study program in relation to location and area of interest. If your study program matches prospective students’ interests, it is highly likely they will check it out.

  • Workshops

Online workshops help students understand better how certain topics are approached in academia and, more importantly, how that topic is integrated into your study program. During workshops, students are directly engaged in the conversation, which is a great opportunity to connect with prospective students.

In our latest State of Student Recruitment survey, which surveys over 20,000 prospective study abroad students, we asked what information would help applicants finalize their choices, and one of the top answers was to hear from current students on their desired program. Having workshops with input from current students gives practical insights into campus life and career outcomes.

  • Securing enrolment with easy follow-up

Students often leave their email address when signing up for workshops so follow-up emails can easily be implemented in your conversion marketing strategy. Instead of just sending a generic email, personalize your emails for virtual fair attendees and for example, include a summary of your workshop or presentation.


With the help of collected data, surveys, and up-to-date statistics you can tweak your university presentation and adjust it to a virtual fair. Attendees of virtual fairs should be integrated into your CRM strategy since you have access to information about the number of students visiting your booth. You can then personalize your communications and convert international student leads into admissions.

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