University of Alberta Open the Doors to Recruiting with a Virtual Open House

Case Study: University of Alberta

The University of Alberta in Edmonton is one of Canada’s top teaching and research universities, with an international reputation for excellence across the humanities, sciences, creative arts, business, engineering, and health sciences. The University of Alberta is home to a friendly community of more than 7,700 international students. In total, 39,000 Canadian and international students study together at University of Alberta’s welcoming and diverse campuses.


The Challenge

Universities and other educational organizations are reaping the many benefits of implementing a virtual environment for recruiting. There’s no better way to showcase university programs and educational opportunities without asking recruits to incur travel expenses or take time off from busy schedules to travel.

Although virtual recruiting may not completely eliminate physical meetings, it does offer ways to both inspire prospective students and get a preliminary idea of their interest levels. In fact, it has become standard for universities to utilize virtual environments as a supplement to physical interactions.

“It’s harder for recruiters to scout international students because they are not local. With the virtual environment, students can chat with a University of Alberta representative – Immigration Specialist, Department Faculty, Scholarship, and others. “ - Julia Jones-Bourque, BCom, Marketing & Communications Manager, University of Alberta International

The Solution

Leveraging 6Connex’s 100% virtual platform, the University of Alberta’s international administration created an online open house to encourage international student applicants. This virtual event gave the administration an online venue by which to connect with students globally who may not have either the awareness of certain programs or the means to travel.

 Individuals working the virtual open house event were regional experts in their respective fields. Since language and immigration information is region-specific, using a virtual environment made it easy to focus on specific topics. Recruiters were also able to target graduate students and others who start school at different times.

The Results

- 1,500 Registrants from Around the World

- 30% Attendance Rate 

With the International Virtual Fair slated for March 2018, the University of Alberta’s recruitment deadline was fast approaching. The University of Alberta began with a goal: to increase the number of international student applicants to the University of Alberta by building excitement via a virtual open house.  Next, the team began to collaborate with 6Connex to design virtual rooms that resembled some of the University of Alberta’s physical buildings, creating an authentic user experience. The event team wanted students to genuinely partake in the university atmosphere by roaming the scholarship, immigrations, and lobby areas as well as faculty-specific rooms, such as engineering and the arts.

The University of Alberta launched the initial open house online and captured an audience of 1,500 registrants from around the world. The event team expected roughly one third of those registrants to actually participate, but the event logged 580 attendees, exceeding expectations.

To improve outcomes, the University of Alberta’s recruitment process requires follow up after the initial contact.  Therefore, the University of Alberta contacted and engaged further with those students who attended the virtual open house and showed interest in the university. Overall, the University of Alberta’s virtual open house piqued students’ curiosities and provided them with a solid preview of the upcoming International Virtual Fair.


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