Reaching Applicants Everywhere: Second Virtual Graduate School Fair a Success

October 15, 2021

By Katya Hrichak

Cornell's Graduate School's virtual booth at the fair, comprising images of the Graduate School logo, McGraw Tower, Ithaca on a New York state map, students at a past in-person fair, and a backdrop of Cornell seen from a distance at sunset.
The Graduate School’s virtual booth

Prospective applicants from across the globe experienced Cornell from the comfort of their homes during the Cornell Virtual Graduate School Fair on Oct. 8. The virtual fair brought Cornell’s graduate programs and summer research opportunities alive in an accessible online exhibit hall with live chat from faculty, staff, and graduate students across campus.

“Hosting our graduate school fair virtually is not only practical, but it allows us to be intentionally inclusive of those students who would be otherwise unable to travel to in-person conferences and recruitment events,” said Graduate School Senior Director of Recruitment Anitra Douglas-McCarthy. “We can meet prospective students and share our graduate programs with students around the world at no cost to them.”

Students attending this year’s fair interacted with nearly 70 academic units, whose booths provided information about graduate programs, academic minors, and summer internship programs at Cornell through downloadable documents, videos, and additional content. Some units provided the opportunity for prospective applicants to have their questions answered via chats with faculty, staff, and current graduate students.

The virtual fair was first offered in 2020 when travel opportunities were limited and in-person conferences were canceled. Even with the return of large events looming, there are plans to continue holding the online fair in future years. An impressive 1,200 students pre-registered for this year’s fair, and the ability to access the exhibit hall for a full month after the live event will likely see an even larger participant total.

“Through this approach, we are now interacting with students we never would have been able to reach before,” said Douglas-McCarthy. “The feedback we have received from the participants and our academic campus partners has been overwhelmingly positive and, as such, I plan to continue hosting the virtual fair in future years.”

Learn more about recruitment initiatives.