How the University of South Carolina leveraged data insights to drive virtual outcomes
About the University of South Carolina
University of South Carolina Columbia is the largest institution in an 8 campus system and the largest driver of academic research in the state. Furthermore, UofSC serves the largest and most diverse population of students in South Carolina, offering more than 320 degrees.
Moving From In-Person to Online
The University of South Carolina recognized that due to the COVID-19 pandemic their fall open houses, typically a large driver of prospective student interest, historically serving thousands of students from across the nation, would need to be re-imagined for a virtual format for 2020. Additionally, the team wanted to avoid hosting webinars on platforms with bandwidths that might not accommodate their large audiences.The admissions team was seeking a partner to ensure their content met and exceeded student expectations on a platform that was not only reliable but also unique to the institution.
Building a Unique Experience
In partnership with PlatformQ Education, the University of South Carolina designed and executed two virtual open house experiences in the fall in support of generating interest in, and applications to, the institution. While the program was presented as live over two separate weeks in September and October, the majority of the content was pre-recorded and presented as live (simulated live) with accompanying live chats. This enabled the institution to create strategic content that was well produced while also feeling authentic to the institution’s brand.
The institution prioritized outreach and invitations based on student data and profiles. Additionally, identified student prospects were invited to the events via email and text using direct log-in tokens called Q-Tokens. These tokens allow participants to join the event without being required to log-in or register while also tracking their activity to the record level–an important consideration that ensured no student’s unique interests went unnoticed.
In total, the two virtual open houses reached nearly 4,200 unique visitors with nearly 85,000 interactions across chat, presentation views and document downloads/link clicks across the institution’s Conduit platform.
Of course, in today’s environment success is not measured by attendance but rather, measured by outcomes. By the University of South Carolina’s Early Action deadline, 66% of event attendees had applied for admission, with over 80% of those applicants coming after the virtual house event.