Departmental Open Days are primarily aimed at students who have received an offer from the University and wish to take a closer look at the Department before finalising their UCAS choices. With over 14,500 conditional offers being made for undergraduate courses in the 2015 cycle so far, making sure that all these applicants receive an invitation to a Departmental Open Day, and then keeping track of numbers attending each day, can be a significant challenge. To make the process easier for applicants and departmental administrators alike, the SAMIS team have developed an automated system to manage this.
Departmental administrators enter details into SAMIS for all the Departmental Open Days they will be running for the current cycle. Then can then invite specific applicants to specific dates, show a range of dates that all applicants can attend, and control the number of places available on each day. The applicants receive an email with details of the dates available and a task which they can access via Application Tracker. The task allows the applicant to select a day they would like to attend, indicate how many guests they would like to bring, their method of travel to the university and any special requirements. On completing the task, the applicant receives an email confirming their choices.
Each time an applicant completes the Departmental Open Day Invitation task, data in SAMIS is updated. This allows the departmental administrators to know exactly how many people will be attending each open day. When the target number of applicants for each open day is reached, the date is automatically made unavailable for further selection.
By recording information such as 'method of travel' in the invitation task, departmental administrators can tailor content specifically to those attending; for example, emailing parking permits to those travelling by car.
Due to the popularity of open days at the University of Bath, the SAMIS team have also collaborated with Marketing and Communications; the Departmental Open Day Invitation system is currently being used to distribute information to invitees, such as details of a free Park & Ride bus service.