Ultimate Medical Academy’s First Virtual Career Fair Will Build on the Success of UMA’s Recent Virtual Open Houses
By Julene Robinson, Vice Provost of Programs & Academic Affairs, Ultimate Medical Academy
Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA), a Tampa-based nonprofit accredited educational institution, will host our first virtual career fair on April 20. We are designing it and other planned virtual career fairs to complement our efforts to help UMA graduates explore potential employment opportunities in their field of study with healthcare providers. The virtual experience also reinforces that UMA is predominantly an online school with 15,000 students and 40,000 alumni across the nation.
UMA’s first virtual career fair will build on the success of four virtual open houses we held during the past year to raise awareness of UMA and its programs as well as build relationships with potential students interested in healthcare careers. Recognizing that the majority of UMA’s programs and students are online and that our students and their employers are located across the U.S., UMA began hosting the open houses in 2017, which to date have had almost 1,000 people register to attend. We held our most recent open house on Jan. 23 and have another one planned for May 8.
The virtual open houses give attendees the opportunity to interact, ask questions, and gain a feel for what it would be like to attend UMA and pursue a career in healthcare.
With our school’s focus on student success and creating positive outcomes through preparing students for careers in their field of study, the virtual open houses are also an opportunity for attendees to learn more about how online learning works.
To host the virtual open houses and career fairs, we use vFairs, a platform that specializes in delivering virtual events utilizing rich interactive features to engage audiences around the world. We have found the platform to be extremely effective and user friendly.
For the open houses, we created trade show style booths featuring videos and other collateral providing information about UMA’s Academics, Admissions, Student Finance, Education, Learner Services, and Career Services departments. In addition to being able to virtually visit the booths during an open house, attendees can also chat with representatives from each group within their respective booth. For example, a booth dedicated to Academics offers the opportunity to chat with students currently enrolled in UMA programs, while a booth dedicated to Career Services is staffed by Career Services Advisors ready to answer questions about career opportunities in healthcare.
We also have current UMA students who are members of our student ambassador program on hand to chat with potential students. They provide information about online learning and UMA from the student perspective.
We have marketed the open houses with news releases and by sending invitations via email to prospective students and students who are already enrolled but have not yet started their courses (as a retention effort). The emails direct them to register online where they see this message:
Choosing the right school for you can be a difficult decision. Join us for a virtual open house where you can find out everything you need to know about UMA, all from your own computer or mobile device. You can:
- Watch online presentations from UMA departments
- Chat live with our friendly staff and students
- Watch videos from our support teams
- Find out more about our wrap-around student support services
On the day of the event, we host a morning session and an evening session.
Hosting virtual open houses benefits both potential students interested in healthcare careers and UMA. Attendees can learn about UMA at a time and location that is convenient for them without having to worry about challenges such as finding child care or transportation. For some, it is also a less overwhelming way to learn about our school by being able to have their questions answered in an online setting, rather than in person. Attendees have also told us they like being able to chat with other students during the virtual open houses.
The chat feature also gives UMA an opportunity to further build relationships with prospective students. We then can follow up via phone/email after the event to continue to nurture the relationship.
We also recognize that virtual events are more economical than hosting physical events in several locations across the country would be extremely costly and inefficient.
We are excited to continue the open houses and to build on their success with our first virtual trade fair. It will be a soft launch with Career Services Advisors inviting graduates to attend and then manning the booths.
There are some lessons learned from our open houses we would like to share with those interested in hosting virtual events.
Plan on taking the time and effort to create an engaging virtual experience. Once everything is in place, future events will be easy. It’s simple, you just need to contact the vendor to set the page live during planned times for the virtual open house or career fair and then get the word out to prospective students, recent graduates, or others, respectively.
Expect to work out some kinks. Our first open house had lower attendance than we had hoped, and fewer attendees chatted with our staff than anticipated. In subsequent events, we were able to correct this by targeting a more specific part of our potential student list, adding in additional contact points via SMS and Social Media ads, and focusing the messaging on really driving the participants into the booths to chat with us.
About Ultimate Medical Academy
Ultimate Medical Academy is a nonprofit healthcare educational institution with a national presence. Headquartered in Tampa, Florida and founded in 1994, the school has more than 40,000 alumni and offers content-rich, interactive online courses to more than 15,000 students as well as hands-on training to hundreds of students. Ultimate Medical Academy students have access to academic advising, one-on-one or group tutoring, resume and interview coaching, job search assistance, technical support and more. Ultimate Medical Academy is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Learn more by visiting https://www.ultimatemedical.edu/.
We have planned for new challenges and opportunities with our virtual career fairs. We are in the process of reaching out to employers interested in participating and letting them know they will need to be available to chat during the times we hold the virtual career fairs. Our first career fair on April 20 will be a soft launch with our Career Services team running the employer booths to work out any kinks before having actual healthcare employers participate.
We are planning to host several more virtual open houses this year for prospective students to learn more about UMA and careers in healthcare. And we are excited to begin offering our graduates the ability to attend virtual career fairs to explore employment opportunities in their field of study with healthcare providers across the nation.
JULENE ROBINSON is Vice Provost of Programs & Academic Affairs at Ultimate Medical Academy. She is responsible for leading initiatives to monitor and improve program retention, graduation and placement metrics, and to facilitate problem-solving and data-driven solutions to increase program health, curriculum viability, instructor performance, and student achievement.
Prior to joining UMA in November 2010, Robinson served as the Regional Executive Director at the Florida Department of Education. Previously, she was Vice President of Program at Bardoli Global, Inc., the Founder and Principal of KIPP Houston High School, a Teach For America corps member, and a Special Education teacher.
Robinson has a B.A. in American Culture from the University of Michigan and a Master of Education from National Louis University.
Contact Information: Julene Robinson // Vice Provost, Programs & Academic Affairs // Ultimate Medical Academy // 813-388-4242 // email@example.com // https://www.ultimatemedical.edu/ // https://www.facebook.com/umaonline // https://twitter.com/UltimateMedical