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Melbourne University hosts first ever virtual fair for prospective students

Steven Tannason

Mon Mar 21 2011

Melbourne University

THE University of Melbourne is turning to new media to attract prospective international students, hosting its first ever virtual fair in April.

The free online event will be held on April 14 or 15 – depending on the time zone – and will be a chance for international students and their parents to ask questions and get information about the university from anywhere around the world.

With a click of a button, students will be able to visit “booths” for all the various academic departments, have live chats with staff members, seek career and employment advice, and find out about the support services that cater for international students.

The City of Melbourne will also be at the event, providing accommodation advice and tips on living in the city.

The University of Melbourne’s regional manager for international markets Rhett Miller said the virtual fair would give prospective international students an opportunity to learn about the university in a unique online environment.

“It is an exciting and active way to engage with the students. There will even be online stream video presentations by prominent academics in the university and Q&A sessions,” Mr Miller said.

“We’re expecting 400 people in attendance, probably more.”

The University of Melbourne is the first Australian university to host a virtual event of this kind, and the fair is just one part of its new media campaign, targeting both international and local students.

The university has also been making good use of social media to connect with current and future students through Facebook and Twitter, and providing advice on how to get the most of campus life.

In conjunction with the virtual fair, the university is inviting new international students to create a three minute video of their first few days attending classes for a short video competition.

The winning video will be featured during the online event and the winners will receive a $500 Bookshop voucher.

When asked, Mr Miller said the virtual fair was not in response to declining international student enrollments across many Australian universities and educational institutions.

The Age recently reported a 10 per cent drop in international student enrollments for the beginning of this year.

“We’ve experienced some declines in some areas. However, the university’s doing better than most in terms of international enrollment,” Mr Miller said.

Mr Miller attributed the university’s success to its international reputation.

Last year, The University of Melbourne was crowned “Australia’s best” by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

It was also ranked 18th best university worldwide for studying clinical, pre-clinical and health, and 22nd and 24th its courses in arts and humanities, and social sciences respectively.

“I think it’s a sign of the success of the Melbourne Model as sort of a more specialised approach to professional education,” Mr Miller said.

Prospective international students and parents can register for the upcoming virtual fair at The University of Melbourne’s Facebook event page or CollegeWeek Live homepage.


The local times to log on are:

  • Melbourne and Sydney: April 14, 7:00pm – April 15, 11:00am
  • Seoul: April 14, 6:00pm – April 15, 10:00am
  • Beijing, Perth, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur: April 14, 5:00pm – April 15, 9:00am
  • Bangkok and Jakarta: April 14, 4:00pm – April 15, 8:00am
  • Mumbai and Kolkata: April 14, 2:30pm – April 15, 6:30am
  • Tehran: April 14, 1:30pm – April 15, 5:30am
  • Dubai and Port Louis: April 14, 1:00pm – April 15, 5:00am
  • Riyadh and Nairobi: April 14, 12:00pm – April 15, 4:00am
  • Paris, Berlin, Tripoli, and Johannesburg: April 14 – 11:00am – April 15, 3:00am
  • London: April 14, 10:00am – April 15, 2:00am
  • New York: April 14, 5:00am – 9:00pm
  • Los Angeles: April 14, 2:00am – 6:00pm