Guidelines For Organizing A Successful Postsecondary Information Event (PIE)
Coordinate With Local Schools
- Running a PIE with other local schools allows universities to attend more events and reach more students.
- Starting a hosting rotation with local schools will ensure that each school will get equal exposure to university representatives over time.
- Coordinated PIEs often attract local media that can help advertise your event to reach parents and students not currently attending the host school. If you would like suggestions for writing a press release for your event, feel free to contact a member of the Standing Committee on Student Recruitment (SCSR).
Choosing A Date
- To ensure that your PIE will be attended by as many university representatives as possible, reference the online calendar to see what events are already scheduled.
- Once an event is registered it will be posted for other counsellors to use in their planning process.
- If common dates must be used, consider spacing out events to allow university representatives to attend as many as possible.
- Choose your event date early to allow institutions to take these dates into consideration when organizing their fall travel schedules. We suggest completing the registration as soon as possible.
Planning Your Event
- Communicate with other local schools to see if they are thinking of hosting a PIE. If possible, collaborate with them to make the season more efficient for the universities.
- Plan early, and be as transparent as possible with the schedule. University reps should know well in advance everything about your event.
- If your PIE overlaps a normal meal time, please try to provide refreshments and/or snacks to the university reps.
- If you are located in or near a large city, consider things like traffic congestion when choosing your start time. Many university reps might not be familiar with your local traffic patterns, and often get stuck in rush hour traffic trying to reach your school.
- If you are located in a rural community, it may be wiser to attend your local Ontario Universities’ Regional Fair rather than attempt your own PIE.
Most PIEs fall into 3 event formats: Fairs, Panels, or Presentations. If possible, it is a great idea to schedule a general presentation called “Your Ontario Universities” (YOU), given by one of the senior university representatives. Some PIEs will include more than 1 format in the same event.
Fairs have each institution set up a display and answer questions at tables distributed around a gymnasium, atrium and/or library. If multiple schools will be attending, staggering student attendance will ensure that all students have an opportunity to speak with representatives. Fairs are effective in that students get to roam around and ask whatever questions they like to whichever institutions they like. The disadvantage is that the universities don’t get a chance to tell their whole story, and often don’t have time to adequately engage the student. We can only answer the questions that we are asked. Fairs can range in length from 1 to 3 hours depending on how many students are invited to attend.
Panels feature short 3-5 minute overviews of each university. They provide an ‘at-a-glance’ summary of unique and exciting features, and allow the students the opportunity to hear from all universities, even those they may not have originally considered. They can easily become overwhelming for the audience, however, as it is a lot of information and usually lasts longer than the average person’s attention span.
Presentations at a PIE involve giving each attending university their own separate room, and scheduling several sessions in a back-to-back format. Students choose which universities they would like to hear from, and plan to attend those sessions. Time slots can be as short as 15 minutes, or as long as 45 minutes, and an event usually has 3 sessions. The advantage of this format is the opportunity for university representatives to provide more in depth overviews of their institutions, and more fully engage the audience. It also allows them to use audio/visual aids to better tell their story. The disadvantage is that the format tends to favor the larger and more local universities, while the smaller ones or those farther from the location tend to be ignored.
YOU is a general presentation on behalf of all Ontario universities, to all in attendance, and is designed to describe the Ontario university experience. Time and space permitting, it is an ideal way to address issues that students interested in any university need to know, and it sets the stage for the event and can answer important questions in advance. This presentation can be anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes in length.
Event format may vary depending on timing, size, location and space availability.