Schools Take Recruitment Virtual with Online Education Expo

A virtual college fair took place last week, allowing prospective college students and their parents to interact with a number of institutions, including George Mason University in Fairfax County, VA; John Carroll University in University Heights, OH; Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI; and Laramie County Community College in Wyoming.

Hosted by FastWeb, a scholarship matching engine and a site within the Monster Worldwide network, the EducationXpo featured booths for each participating school where participants could chat with school representatives, a student union for students to chat with each other, an auditorium with Web-based presentations, and resources where registrants could learn about financial aid and scholarships. Attendees could designate an avatar to represent them graphically.

"We have had lots of visitors--many more than we expected," said participant Sarah Hannes, e-recruiting specialist at Laramie County Community College. "A lot of potential students are located on the east coast that we wouldn't normally be able to reach."

Hannes said the expo allows prospective students who visit her school's booth to ask questions, view videos, and click on links, including admissions, financial aid, academics, about us, and residence life. She was joined in the 12-hour event by other admissions reps, financial aid reps, and current students from the school, who made themselves available for chats with participants.

When the event ends, she said, "people will still be able to login, so schools can still have chat sessions with students." Her college will probably hold special events during the 90-day archive period, such as parent sessions, "where we inform all our prospective students' parents that they can login at a certain date and time and chat with us."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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