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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 launch of this 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 alternatives to in-person college fairs and school visits. The COVID-19 pandemic has created ongoing health concerns about large gatherings. As a result, tried-and-true, in-person, and indoor events of the past are not happening this year. 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 to hold on to their college dreams. 

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How the Virtual Fairs Work

NACAC Virtual College Fairs are one-day events. 

Students attend for free and may participate in as many fairs as they wish. Parents are invited as well. 

Each fair is one day for students to meet with hundreds of colleges for an interactive, informative, and engaging virtual experience. 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 meetings for 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 different colleges are offering and can set a reminder. They also see if the colleges they are interested in are offering one-on-one Zoom meetings and can make an appointment.

  • 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!

  • Colleges follow up with students who demonstrated an interest by downloading a prospects report.

 

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 will direct students to virtualcollegefairs.org for sign up and log in. 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 on the blue "Remind Me" button will add 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, and a "Schedule a Meeting" option.

This "Schedule a Meeting" option 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 allows the student to reserve a time to talk one-on-one with an admission representative. The appointment also gets added to their "My Schedule" tab.

Once signed up at virtualcollegefairs.org, students will 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 will increase in frequency as the fair date nears.  

What Colleges Set Up

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

  • 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 up to 100 (or 300) students to attend.

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 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. 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. 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 flex time to either continue meeting with the student or take a break before the next meeting starts.

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 several 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 2020 and Spring 2021 seasons, 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 platform. You'll use your Zoom account to create meetings. The Zoom meetings feature 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 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."

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. (The fairs platform lists session and meeting times in ET).

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 platform defaults to a session capacity of 95. You can increase this if you plan to offer a large session or make it smaller if you want the session to be more personal. We recommend making the limit as large as is comfortable for you. This is because even students who enter your session for a quick peek and quickly leave count against this 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 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 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. This button provides a full export of all of the prospects you have 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 "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.

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

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: If you've exhibited at a NACAC in-person college fair, an email with leads information was automatically sent to you after each fair. An email is not sent to you after a NACAC virtual college fair.)

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. NACAC has not placed a time-limit for how long after a fair you can retrieve these prospects. However, they will definitely be more valuable to you the "warmer" they are.

What is Included in the Prospects Report?

The prospects report was recently updated. It 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 a date/time stamp is now included within the report. (Note: For exhibitors who participated in the Aug. 19 Counselors Preview or Sept. 13 student fair, information about your previous prospects that was not included in the previous version of the prospect report is now provided).  

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

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 that if you wish to associate an action with a particular fair date, you will have the flexibility to choose what date ranges you wish 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 following informaton in real-time for any individual who engages with your institution by attending a Zoom session or by scheduling a one-on-one meeting. This information 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.

 



Exhibitor Success Guide » Intro | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7