07 July 2020
Your students: the key to online student recruitment in the coronavirus age

Guest blog by Rob Speekenbrink, Noscura

As you well know, the coronavirus crisis has meant that all student recruitment must go online. 

Making the right choice has never been so difficult for prospective students, and getting real, authentic information to them has never been more difficult for institutions. 

Open days, visit days, sample lectures, one-on-one sessions… everything has to change and everything has to go online quickly. 

Our advice is simple: use your own students.

We’ve been a fan of it for years. Deploying your own students as ambassadors for your institution works for a number of reasons:

  • They have recently been admitted themselves, and can explain why they chose your institution
  • They speak the language of the prospective student
  • They know the course, the teachers, the buildings, the best routes
  • They know student life
  • They know the city
  • They are open and honest about the pros and cons

On the Noscura blog, I’ve previously written about organizing your student ambassadors. We have a lot of experience with setting up ambassador schemes and are happy to help you. In this blog I will go deeper into getting your ambassadors chatting to future students – especially in these current times.

Getting started with student ambassadors

Making the most of your current students means getting them online. This can be done in a number of ways:

  • Organizing online open days with a video livestream and chat rooms
  • Organizing online visit days with separate breakout chat rooms for, for example, specific courses or topics such as “finding rooms”
  • Chat one-on-one on your website with a relevant student

To facilitate this conversation, Noscura has found the best tool to be Unibuddy. We are proud to have a strategic partnership with them. Using Unibuddy, you can:

  • Immediately give the prospective student the option to chat with one of your students on your website
  • The prospective student can search for a student who is relevant to him or her. Someone doing the same course, or from the same country. 
  • The prospective student selects a relevant student and initiates contact
  • The student receives (via a mobile app) a message that someone wants to chat and accepts
  • The student and the prospective start the conversation

The benefits for you as an institution are great:

  • Chatting is the normal way of communicating for the prospective student
  • After setting up, it’s easy to maintain and doesn’t require a lot of time to manage
  • Contact can be made 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • The students are honest and reliable

In summary

We’ve always been strong supporters of working with student ambassadors. They answer honestly, quickly and do not have a 9-5 mentality. We are also a fan of facilitating direct contact between the prospective student and a student in the most accessible way possible: a way that matches how they’re communicating in the real world: over the phone.

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