Our first virtual applicant day

One of the videos on our new central hub for applicants, sheffield.ac.uk/study/explore

We held our first University-wide online applicant day for undergraduate offer holders on Wednesday 22 April, and are delighted to report that it was a huge success.

Each department created their own welcome hub and in total all hub pages received 18,147 individual visitors and were viewed 25,858 times throughout the day. Departments held virtual course talks, Q&As and interactions with students and academics, with 1,204 applicant participants across departmental sessions.

The evaluation survey, with a response rate of 44 per cent, shows high satisfaction ratings for all departmental elements of the day (96 per cent or above rated as great/okay). It did, however, highlight that applicants would have liked additional elements that were not offered on the day for certain departments:

  • 26 per cent would have liked a sample lecture from online teaching
  • 14 per cent would have liked a 360°/tour of department facilities
  • 8 per cent would have liked a session on placement and/or study abroad opportunities

These should, where possible, be considered for inclusion in future events.

Applicants were also able to engage with central services and speak with student ambassadors on our central welcome hub, which received 4,504 individual visitors on the day. We asked visitors about how useful they found this hub and received overwhelmingly positive feedback and an overall Net Promoter Score of 52, which is a strong score.

All central elements/activities were visited on the day and the survey results show that they all received high satisfaction ratings (97% or above rated as great/okay). The elements visited most were the Welcome talk (53%), the Sheffield virtual tour (44%), the ‘Why Sheffield?’ talk (37%) and the ‘A day in the life’ video (32%). Feedback from the survey suggests that we need to think about how we can make this more suitable for international students, both in terms of content and in the timing of the event.

I’d like to thank all colleagues involved for ensuring so many prospective students were still able to have a Sheffield experience, despite the current situation.

Dan Barcroft, director of student recruitment and admissions

Overall, 82 per cent of respondents are now planning to come to the University as a result of their virtual applicant day experience. This is a higher proportion than we normally see for applicant days, which is due to the fact that 56 per cent of respondents have already made a decision on their offer (44% have put Sheffield as their firm offer). Looking at those that have yet to decide on their firm/insurance institution, 65 per cent are now planning to come based on their online applicant day experience (17% saying that prior to the event they were not sure but are now planning to).

An evaluation survey has been sent out to all applicants invited to the virtual applicant day. At the end of May, once the survey is closed, an overarching summary and departmental summaries of the results for the UG online applicant days will be circulated to departments.

A huge thank you to every academic department and faculty as well as colleagues in Student Recruitment and Admissions, Corporate Communications, IT Services and the Digital Learning team.

Dan Barcroft, Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions, said: “The virtual open days have been a real collaborative success across the institution and it’s been very encouraging to see over 1,200 prospective students engage with us as they each make their decision on where to begin their studies in September. I’d like to thank all colleagues involved for ensuring so many prospective students were still able to have a Sheffield experience, despite the current situation.” 

Yesterday (Wednesday 6 May) we held a re-run of the the online applicant day to allow an additional opportunity for offer holders to engage with us.

Thank you very much to everyone involved in both days.