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Exhibitor Success Guide: Part 1

Overview

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Introduction

We're excited that you've joined NACAC for this inaugural season of virtual fairs and the unveiling of 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 the counseling and admission profession.

As you know, there's an urgent need for an alternative to in-person college fairs and school visits. The tried-and-true in-person events of the past are not happening this fall because of ongoing health concerns surrounding large gatherings. NACAC Virtual College Fairs has emerged as the 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, get started, or keep going on achieving their college dreams. 

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How the Virtual Fairs Work

The NACAC Virtual College Fairs platform has been created from the ground up to seamlessly connect students and colleges for an interactive, informative, and engaging virtual experience. 

Each of the virtual fairs is a one-day event. Students attend for free and may participate in as many fairs as they choose. Parents are invited as well.

High school counselors will be the first participants on the platform at the August 19 "Counselors Preview" fair. Information about participating was sent to counselors in late July. Marketing to students begins mid-August.

What Students Will Experience

An estimated 70 percent of students will 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 will direct students to virtualcollegefairs.org for login and sign up. Students will see a real-time list of college and university exhibitors for each fair.

Students will also see which live and interactive Zoom sessions each college exhibitor has scheduled. A simple click will add the college's session to their personal fair itinerary.

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

This "Schedule a Meeting" is an innovative feature of the platform. Students will see what meeting dates and times the college exhibitor has made available in 30-minute increments. A simple click will add the meeting to the student's fair itinerary.

Once registered with on the platform, students will begin receiving text and email messages from NACAC to remind them about the Zoom sessions and meetings they've signed up for. These nudges will increase in frequency as the fair date nears.  

What Colleges Will Provide

The exhibitor dashboard is your home base on the platform. This is where you'll:

  • Create your college profile by adding a description and images 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 to directly engage with students.

  • Set up live and interactive Zoom sessions.

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.

Live and interactive Zoom sessions are what engages students. You choose how many, what type, and what time to offer each session. You decide who on your staff will be responsible for presenting and can even set a limit on the number of students who can attend. All of this will be covered during the onboarding process!

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. The meeting slots are automatically set in 30-minute increments and the expectation is that you'll meet with a student for 15-minutes and then have 15-minutes for a break before the next meeting starts.

We recommend focusing on offering as many meeting slots as possible on the day of the fair. You can also offer meeting slots one week before and up to one week after the fair. We'll take care of sending students several reminders about their upcoming meetings. 

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

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Technical Requirements 

To provide students with as seamless an experience as possible, we believed it was important to choose one video meeting technology for the NACAC Virtual College Fairs platform. For the Fall 2020 season, we chose Zoom.

Zoom is seamlessly integrated within the platform. You'll use Zoom to offer live and interactive sessions as well as one-on-one meetings.

To participate as a college 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 the Zoom Pro level, 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.

Here are some additional recommendations:

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

  • We recommend that you set up sessions as a Zoom Meeting rather than a Zoom Webinar.

  • If you will be offering sessions at the same time or at overlapping times, you should use a separate Zoom account for each.

Many security updates were included in the latest 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 using the NACAC Virtual College Fairs platform to use the latest version of Zoom in order to ensure a safe environment for students.

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

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Lead Retrieval 

Because of student privacy concerns, NACAC allows only one person at your institution to be designated as the "Leads Contact." 

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 "booth" for a virtual college fair.

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.

What is Considered a Lead?

At a virtual college fair, you'll receive leads information for students who engaged with your college at the fair. This includes students who:

  • Signed up for one of your Zoom sessions

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

  • Viewed one of your college's videos

  • Favorited your college

  • Accessed one of your college's attachments

Note: Anyone who has been added to your exhibitor dashboard as a user will be able to access the name of students who attended a Zoom session or scheduled a meeting.

What Leads Information is Included?

The leads information will be divided by Student, Parent/Guardian, and Counselor/Teacher roles.

You'll receive the information collected as part of registration. This includes name, mailing address, email address, cell phone number, demographic information, applicant type (freshman or transfer), academic interests, current/last school, and other registration data.

How Do I Retrieve Leads?

The Leads Contact will see an export button on the exhibitor dashboard. By clicking this, an email link will be sent to the contact so they can download the student leads information from the virtual fair.

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

Access to leads will be available for a period of time following the end of the fair. Additional information about lead retrieval will be provided as part of the onboarding process.

Student Privacy

NACAC takes student privacy seriously and adheres to the strictest GDPR guidelines. Please contact virtualfairs@nacacnet.org if you have any questions or would like additional information.

 

 



Exhibitor Success Guide » Intro | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3