Sep 25 2018

 Fran Taylor

The first Open Day of 2018/19 is taking place this Saturday (29 September). We recently caught up with Fran Taylor to find out more about Saturday's Open Day, the events that will be taking place, how many prospective students are expected onto campus and what she enjoys most about them.

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role as Head of UK Student Recruitment (Events)?

I’ve worked in higher education for nearly ten years now in a range of student recruitment and marketing roles, Royal Holloway being the third university I’ve worked for. I’m a History graduate, got bitten by the study bug and completed a Masters in Historical Studies whilst I started my career in recruitment. I’m a self-confessed HE Geek and I love the transformative nature of higher education, I’m passionate about the sector and the opportunities it can offer and even secretly enjoy meeting the challenge of the ever changing market.

I’m very fortunate to manage a relatively small but hugely talented team and together we plan and deliver a range of events to promote Royal Holloway at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Our most visible work are the Open Days and Postgraduate Open Evenings but the team also works on data analysis, as well as developing strategies for targeting specific audiences.

2. The first Open Day of 2018/19 is taking place on Saturday (29 September), can you tell us a bit more about the day, and what will be taking place?

All departments now offer an experiential element to their day, this is to really immerse our prospective students into the Royal Holloway experience. We know that these Generation Z students want to really feel part of the process and actively engage so these sessions have proved hugely popular and make us really stand out against our competitors.

We’ve also worked hard to incorporate hands on sessions into our offering outside the classroom. Founder’s Square Festival being the latest development. Throughout the day visitors will be able to watch demonstrations, but most importantly get stuck in and try out a range of activities from a diverse range of student societies. They can interview their parents on Rhubarb TV, join in rehearsals with the Dance Society, pot plants with the Sustainability Society and finally jump on a broomstick and play quidditch with the Harry Potter Society. Insanity Radio will also be broadcasting a special Open Day show throughout the day.

3. How many prospective students are you expecting onto campus?

Our September Open Day is always our busiest, we’re expecting approximately 1,400 students plus their families to visit this weekend.

4. Is there anything that you find surprises people about your role?

Colleagues around the institution are always a bit surprised about how far ahead we work, at least 18 months ahead. So I lose all track of what year I’m currently in! For example, our June 2018 Open Days were for September 2019 entry.

5. What do you enjoy most about Open Days?

Whilst the 5am alarm is a struggle I love the energy of the Open Day, how it brings a diverse range of colleagues together both Academic and Professional Service to deliver the day. The big buzz for me is seeing how enthusiastic our current Student Ambassadors are about their experience here and how prospective students begin their days a little nervously but by the end of it are confidently strolling around the Quads like they have always been here.   

6. Outside of work do you have any hobbies or interests?

I’m a keen baker outside of work, my team are very sweet and suggest I enter Bake Off but I am just a home baker, the secret is to sprinkle with (edible!) glitter and that makes it all look better!

7. What’s your favourite term at Royal Holloway and why?

The summer term is my favourite, Founder’s looks beautiful, and as a team we’re beginning a new cycle. There’s always so much going on with Summer Ball, Graduations as well as our events.

8. You may have seen our latest recruitment campaign, ‘Find your why’. We are interested to find out what Royal Holloway has helped you to discover about yourself…

Royal Holloway has supported me to be more ambitious with our events offering, trialling new ideas such as the Pop-up university and developing our parents' activities.