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Exhibitor Success Guide: Part 1

Overview

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Introduction

We're excited you've joined NACAC as a virtual fairs exhibitor.

NACAC Virtual College Fairs is a dynamic, new, digital meeting space for colleges and students. We've brought together NACAC's vast experience from 40+ years of offering in-person college fairs with the expertise of VisitDays, NACAC's virtual fairs technology provider. The result is a best-in-class virtual fairs experience for students and admission professionals.

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has created ongoing health concerns about large gatherings and indoor events. The tried-and-true, in-person, college fairs and school visits of the past are just not happening right now. NACAC Virtual College Fairs has emerged as a preferred alternative ― a way to meaningfully connect with students who are exploring colleges and who would thrive on your campus.

For students, these fairs are a welcome beacon during an uncertain time. So many disruptions have happened in their lives. Even so, thinking about and making plans for the future are still important. NACAC Virtual College Fairs inspire students to explore their options and pursue their college dreams. 

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How the Virtual Fairs Work

NACAC Virtual College Fairs is a college search site that prominently features one-day events called virtual fairs. Students may look at the colleges on the site at any time and, on the day of each fair, can attend their choice of Zoom sessions offered by the colleges.

The fairs platform provides an interactive and informative virtual experience that prioritizes student choice and engagement. The fairs are free and students may participate in as many as they wish. Families are invited as well. 

Here's what happens in a nutshell:

  • In advance, colleges create an exhibitor page at admin.visitdays.com.

  • Colleges use their own Zoom accounts to create sessions that will happen on the fair date. They then add these Zoom links into admin.visitdays.com. 

  • Students sign up at virtualcollegefairs.org at any time. They look around and see which live and interactive Zoom sessions are being offered by different colleges and can set a reminder for themselves. Students also see if the colleges they are interested in are offering one-on-one Zoom meetings and can make an appointment. Live chat is also available on the college profile page, if the college decides to turn this function on.

  • On the day of the fair, students log into virtualcollegefairs.org and exhibitors log into their Zoom accounts. Students and colleges meet each other. Magic happens!

  • At any time, but especially after each fair, colleges can download a prospects report to follow up with students who demonstrated an interest in their institution.

 

What Students Experience

This short video provides students with an overview of virtualcollegefairs.org.

Approximately 50 percent of students access the virtual fairs through their phones. As a result, the platform has been designed specifically for mobile and with the digital expectations of young people in mind.

All marketing and promotion efforts direct students to virtualcollegefairs.org for sign up and log in. Students see a real-time list of college and university exhibitors for each fair.

Students also see which live and interactive Zoom sessions each college exhibitor has scheduled. A simple click on the blue "Remind Me" button adds the college's session to the students' "My Schedule" tab.

Students can also access each college's profile page. The profile page includes a photo of the college, a short description, links to Zoom sessions, links to recorded videos and materials, the "Schedule a Meeting" option, and the "Chat" option.

The "Schedule a Meeting" option is an innovative feature of the platform. Students see what meeting dates and times the college exhibitor has made available. A simple click allows the student to reserve a time to talk one-on-one with an admission representative. The appointment also gets added to the students' "My Schedule" tab.

The "Chat" option is a feature that the college has the opportunity to toggle to "On," "Away" or "Off". If the feature is set to "Away", students will have the option to leave a message for the school.  If the college has chat turned on, the student can simply click the "Chat" button to initiate a chat conversation. 

Once signed up at virtualcollegefairs.org, students begin receiving text messages to remind them about the Zoom sessions they've asked to be reminded about and the one-on-one meetings they've registered for. These nudges increase in frequency as the fair date nears.  

What Colleges Set Up

The VisitDays platform (admin.visitdays.com) is where you add your college's information. This is where you:

  • Create your college profile by adding a photo and description as well as links to YouTube videos and PDFs.

  • Invite other admission staff as users on the platform and include their photos and contact information.

  • Add "Schedule a Meeting" slots so admission staff can directly engage with students.

  • Set up live and interactive Zoom sessions for students to attend.

  • Toggle Live Chat to "On," "Away" or "Off."

Note: The NACAC Virtual College Fairs platform strongly highlights the Zoom sessions. Our expectation is that each exhibitor will offer 2 - 4 sessions that students can attend on the day of a fair.

The live and interactive Zoom sessions are what engages students. You decide how many sessions to offer (up to the fair's maximum), what type of sessions to present, and what time to schedule them. You also decide who on your staff will be responsible for presenting. More details are on the pages that follow.

Another innovative aspect of the NACAC Virtual College Fairs platform is the "Schedule a Meeting" feature. You decide how many virtual meeting spots to make available to students for one-on-one Zoom meetings with a college admission representative. You set the dates and times and assign a staff person for each slot. 

You can offer meeting slots on the day of the fair and even before and after the fair. We'll take care of sending students text reminders about their upcoming appointments. 

For additional details, please review the information in Part 3 of this guide, Your College's Virtual Presence.

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Technical Requirements 

For the Fall 2021 season, we have chosen Zoom as the video meeting technology for NACAC Virtual College Fairs.

We believe it's important to provide students with as seamless an experience as possible. The use of a single video meeting technology rather than several different options helps accomplish that. We are technology-agnostic, however, and may change this in future seasons depending on the needs and preferences of students.

Zoom Information

Zoom is seamlessly integrated within the admin.visitdays.com platform. You'll use your Zoom account to create meetings. Zoom meetings is used to offer both live sessions and one-on-one scheduled appointments. 

To participate as an exhibitor, you'll need a Zoom Pro account or higher (not a Zoom Basic account). Most institutions already have a Zoom Pro plan or higher. 

With Zoom Pro, you'll be able to offer sessions for up to 100 students each. If your institution has purchased a "large meeting add-on," you'll be able to offer sessions for up to 500 or 1,000 participants each.

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Creating Zoom Links

The admin.visitdays.com platform asks you to enter a Zoom link for your live sessions and one-on-one meetings. You'll use a link from your Zoom account.

In Zoom, set up your live sessions and one-on-one meetings as a "Zoom Meeting" rather than as a "Zoom Webinar."

Ability to Save live sessions as draft
No need to immediately publish your live sessions. Now sessions can be saved as drafts before publicly publishing for all.

Double check to make sure a passcode won't prevent people from attending your sessions or meetings.

  • First, open your Zoom application and go to the meeting you've set up for each live session or one-on-one scheduled meeting. Look at the "Security" field to see if there is a checkmark next to "passcode." 

    -- If there's no checkmark, you're ok and there's no need to do anything else.

    -- If there is a checkmark, look at the "Invite Link" field ― does the URL include a question mark with "pwd=" after it? If so, you're good to go. If not, then edit your meeting by going to the "Security" setting, uncheck the passcode, and select “Save."




  • Next, go to the VisitDays platform and double check the link you inserted for your session or meeting. Does it match the link in your Zoom meetings set-up screen?

If you're offering any concurrent sessions or meetings, be sure to input a different Zoom link for each since they will need to happen at the same time.

Cross check that the times match on Zoom and on the fairs platform. When you create your meetings in Zoom, make sure the start and end times are correct for Eastern Time. (Students will see the sessions and meeting times listed in Eastern Time).

Other Tips and Information

  • When you create a meeting in Zoom, do not click the "Registration: Required" box. 

  • For one-on-one meetings, definitely enable the waiting room feature so attendees don't inadvertently interrupt each other’s meetings.

  • The admin.visitdays.com platform will require you to input a capacity limit on your Zoom sessions. We recommend making the limit as large as is comfortable for you and that you have a Zoom license for. This is because even students who enter your session for a quick peek and quickly leave count against your session capacity total.

  • With many staff now working from home, internet capabilities vary. Please ensure your presenters have the bandwidth to offer a Zoom meeting with video.

  • Many security updates were included in the 5.0 version of Zoom released on July 1. This includes automatic passwords and waiting rooms as well as controls over screenshare and chat. We expect all colleges and universities registered with NACAC Virtual College Fairs to use the latest version of Zoom in order to ensure a safe environment for students.

  • Please see the FAQ page for additional questions and answers regarding Zoom.

 

Browser Information

The VisitDays platform does not include support for any version of Internet Explorer since Microsoft's end of life for the product in January 2019. Please use another browser for your own security and to enable the full functionality of NACAC Virtual College Fairs.

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Prospects Export (Leads)

To protect student privacy, NACAC allows only one person at your institution to be designated as the "Leads Contact." The Leads Contact is the only person who will see the "Export" button when they login to the admin.visitdays.com platform. Clicking on this button provides a full export of all of the prospects your institution has received.

By default, the Leads Contact is the same person as the "Exhibitor Contact." The Exhibitor Contact is the person (probably you!) who registered with NACAC and purchased your college's "virtual booth." 

We recommend that the same person be designated as the Leads Contact for all NACAC college fairs (both in-person and virtual). To change your organization's Leads Contact to a different person, please contact customerservice@nacacnet.org.

Who is Considered a Prospect?

At a virtual college fair, you'll receive contact information for students, parents, or counselors who engaged with your college at the fair and so demonstrated interest. This includes those who:

  • Attended one of your Zoom sessions

  • Scheduled a one-on-one meeting with one of your college's representatives

  • Viewed (or started to view) one of your college's videos

  • Favorited your college

  • Accessed one of your college's attachments

  • Participated in a text chat with one of your representatives

How Do I Retrieve the Prospects Report?

The person designated as your "Leads Contact" is able to retrieve the prospects report at any time.

(Note: Have you previously exhibited at a NACAC in-person college fair? If so, an email with leads information was automatically sent to you after each fair. This email is not sent to you after a NACAC virtual college fair. You can access your prospects at any time.)

After each fair, the Leads Contacts should log into admin.visitdays.com to retrieve the latest prospects.

Please see the screenshot below. Within the "Prospects" tab, the Leads Contact will always see a yellow "Export" button. Clicking on this will send an email to them and a link to download a spreadsheet with the prospect information. (Note: This link will expire in 24 hours to ensure you're always getting the latest data. Just click the "Export" button again to get a new email and link.).

 

 

Once the prospects are exported, the Leads Contact may share the information with appropriate staff at your college following your institution's data privacy policies. 

Our recommendation is to have a communications plan in place before the fair ends so you can follow up with your prospects as soon as possible. Prospects stay in the system for one year. They will, however, definitely be more valuable to you the "warmer" they are.

What is Included in the Prospects Report?

The prospects report is provided as a spreadsheet that downloads as an .xlsx file. This is compatible for import with Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, Mac Numbers, and other applications and can then be used for CRM imports. If you require a data dictionary, please contact us.

The report is cumulative across fairs and fair seasons. A date/time stamp is included within the report. 

The report is divided into two parts which you can access through the two tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet. The first part is titled "Unique Leads." This has one row for each person who has interacted with your college at a NACAC Virtual College Fair. The column headers are the following:

  • Role (such as freshman, high_school_counselor, parent, teacher)
  • User Created At (date and time stamp)
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email (this is the unique identifier)
  • Cell Phone
  • Street Address
  • Street Address 2
  • City
  • State (standardized)
  • Postal Code
  • Country
  • Birthdate
  • Current or Last School
  • Current or Last School - City
  • Current or Last School - State
  • Current or Last School - Postal Code
  • CEEB Code
  • Applicant Type
  • Intended Enrollment Term Year
  • Major (this is currently an open text field)
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Graduation Year
  • Interactions
    • Favorited Profile
    • Attended Session
    • Watched Video
    • Scheduled a Meeting
    • Viewed Attachment
    • Text Chatted (more information to come)

The second part is titled "All Leads Interactions." This has one row for each interaction with your college at a NACAC Virtual College Fair. The column headers are the following:

  • Role
  • User Created At
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email
  • Cell Phone
  • Street Address
  • Street Address 2
  • City
  • State
  • Postal Code
  • Country
  • Birthdate
  • Current or Last School
  • Current or Last School - City
  • Current or Last School - State
  • Current or Last School - Postal Code
  • CEEB Code
  • Applicant Type
  • Intended Enrollment Term Year
  • Major
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Graduation Year
  • Provider (your college name)
  • Event (fair date)
  • Interaction Type (such as: favorited your profile, attended your session, viewed your video, etc.)
  • Interaction Detail (this is the name of the session, video, etc. that created this prospect)
  • Interaction Date


Note: Under "Event," a fair date will not be provided for the following interactions: favorited profile, viewed video, viewed attachment, attended one-on-one scheduled meeting). This is because students can take these actions at any time, not necessarily only on the fair date. However, we've provided an "Interaction Date" so if you wish to associate an action with a particular fair date, you will have the flexibility to choose what date ranges to consider.

 

Can Other Staff Access Prospects Information?

Only your "Leads Contact" has access to export the full prospects report.

However, anyone on your staff who has been added as a user to the admin.visitdays.com platform is able to see the real-time information about participants who attended a Zoom session or scheduled a one-on-one meeting. This information is limited, however, and only includes name, role, and email.

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Student Permissions and Privacy

NACAC takes student privacy seriously and adheres to the strictest GDPR guidelines. 

When students register, they are asked to agree to the following:

By clicking Continue, you are indicating that you have read and acknowledge the Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy, you are over the age of 13, opt in to receive emails and text messages, and opt in to provide your information to higher education institutions and organizations.

Links to these policies are always accessible from the students' My Account page at virtualcollegefairs.org.

Students opt in to allow VisitDays and NACAC to email and text them. They can opt out of these notifications from their My Account page. These opt-in permissions do not pass on to exhibitors for texting students. Exhibitors should check with their organization’s data processing, privacy, and other communications policies to determine legal requirements for texting students. 

Registrants also opt-in to engage with exhibitors by viewing videos, favoriting, and attending sessions and one-on-one meetings. Please consult your organization’s data privacy policies for engaging with students in one-one-one meetings.

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Active/Inactive Status

We always hope college exhibitors will return for subsequent NACAC Virtual College Fairs! What happens, though, if your institution is not registered for a future fair?

Your institution may be put into Inactive status. This will result in changes regarding your access to admin.visitdays.com and what is visible to the public on virtualcollegefairs.org. The timing is as follows:

  • As part of closing out the Spring 2021 season, July 31 is a stopping point. On this date, spring exhibitors who have not signed up for a Fall 2021 fair will be marked Inactive.

  • For the Fall 2021 season, there will be a 14 day waiting period at the end of each virtual fair. After the waiting period, exhibitors who have not yet registered for an upcoming fair will be automatically marked Inactive. 

The Inactive status is easily reversible! Any time your institution registers for an upcoming fair, it will be converted to "Active" within two business days.

In any case, your Leads Contact will always have full access to your prospects report for one year from the date of your institution's last fair, regardless of your institution's Active or Inactive status.

Inactive Status

  • Logging into admin.visitdays.com ― The Exhibitor Contact, Leads Contact, and any Users you've added to the platform can still log into admin.visitdays.com when an institution is Inactive. 

  • Exhibitor profile page ― When Inactive, the institution's profile page will not be listed anywhere on the virtualcollegefairs.org site. However, a student might happen upon the institution's profile page through a direct link or Google search; if so, the page will display an "Inactive" tag. Note: Even when an institution is Inactive, you're still able to log into admin.visitdays.com to edit the institution's signature photo and bio text.  

  • Videos ― When Inactive, the institution's videos will no longer appear on virtualcollegefairs.org. Once the institution has changed to Active status, the videos will reappear and all data (such as number of views) will be retained. Even when an institution is Inactive, you can continue to add videos to admin.visitdays.com, but they won't be visible to the public. 

  • Live sessions ― When an institution is Inactive, you won't be able to add new live sessions. You're still able to see the live sessions offered previously, but these will not be editable.

  • Meetings ― When an institution is Inactive, you can continue to add scheduled meeting slots to admin.visitdays.com, but they won't be visible to the public. Once the institution has changed to Active status, the scheduled meeting slots will appear on virtualcollegefairs.org on the institution's profile page.

  • Prospects report ― Even when an institution is Inactive, the Leads Contact is still able to log into admin.visitdays.com to export the institution's prospects report. This access is available for one year from when the institution last exhibited at a virtual fair.

 

 



Exhibitor Success Guide » Intro | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6