I became a student ambassador shortly after joining university (my claim to fame was that my first time visiting the library was when I was giving a tour of it). I worked in the ambassador team on everything from open days to call campaigns right up until my graduation in 2018.
From my experience, ambassadors don’t ask for much from their supervisors. I wanted someone who knew my strengths, was around to help, and recognised good work. When I had all three was when I enjoyed the job most. One of the benefits of being a Unibuddy ambassador was that these wishes were much easier for supervisors to fulfil.
Ambassadors are a prospect’s best indication of what a university is really like — and they’re vital for student recruitment. A university can display its top scores in student satisfaction surveys all it wants, but that data is meaningless unless prospects see that the students are positive, happy and engaging. It’s essential to create the best possible working culture for your student staff — they’re the face of the campus, so it needs to be a smiling one!
1. Know their strengths
Every student is different, so it makes sense that every ambassador is different. Being a student ambassador is great fun when you are sharing your own experiences with like-minded prospective students. It’s incredibly daunting, and often ineffective, when a maths student has to show around a group of social care prospects. Knowing your ambassadors’ strengths goes beyond subject, though. Some ambassadors are great at mingling, but don’t enjoy the restraints of a structured tour. Some are better with younger visitors, others are better with older visitors. Knowing what your ambassadors are good at — and what they enjoy — makes the job more enjoyable and gives visitors a better experience.
Ambassadors love Unibuddy because personalised profiles allow prospects to select the most relevant ambassador for their enquiry.
2. Be around to help
Ambassadors don’t know everything, and when you are working with hundreds of visitors there are bound to be challenges. Ambassadors want a clear point of contact to speak to or refer to. This is essential for the visitor experience: if an ambassador doesn’t know the answer to a question, they need a point of contact to pass the enquiry on to, otherwise there is the risk of an ‘I don’t know’ response or worse, a made-up answer. It’s also important to have a point of contact from a morale standpoint. If an ambassador has had a particularly difficult or draining experience, it’s so important to be able to reflect on the experience with someone: what went well, how they handled it, and sometimes just a chance to vent.
Ambassadors love Unibuddy because digital messaging means more time to consider and seek support around challenging enquiries. They can contact their university supervisor or someone from Unibuddy for help at any time.
3. Recognise (and reward!) good work
The job of an ambassador is tremendously rewarding. Nothing is better than seeing a nervous, uncertain prospect leave as a confident and reassured future student. But good work is often unsupervised: out on a tour or in a private conversation. So when an ambassador gives an amazing answer to a difficult question, a university supervisor will often have no way of knowing. Sharing visitor feedback with ambassadors is a great way to show that you recognise their good work.
Ambassadors love Unibuddy because the university supervisor can monitor all conversations, and immediately identify and reward great work.
Having been a student ambassador, I can attest to how far these small changes go in creating a rewarding and enjoyable working environment. Ambassadors apply for the job and show up every day because they love their university, and want to help future students. They have the passion, and if you create the right culture they will thrive — and it’ll work wonders for the visitor experience.
Unibuddy helps students thrive through sharing their experiences, effortless technology and the smart application of data.
Together, the platform and student ambassadors provide an outlet for an institution’s authentic voice, a deeper insight into the market’s motivations and foster a sense of belonging — even before applying.
Unibuddy is working with 100 institutions across the world, optimising conversion throughout the student application cycle, from lead generation through to enrolment, with some impressive results. But don’t just take our word for it. Have a look atwww.unibuddy.com and find out what some of our partners say.
About the author
Michael Mander, Customer Success Executive
During his time studying linguistics at Lancaster University, Michael worked as a Student Ambassador Leader — including being both an administrator and ambassador on Unibuddy. He’s now come full circle and joined Unibuddy in 2019 as Customer Success Executive, onboarding and supporting our partners every step of the way.
Michael is currently studying for a journalism and communications diploma and loves travelling to new places — especially when there’s a theme park involved.