19 November 2020
What is a student ambassador?

More and more universities are utilizing their current students as their best advocates and ambassadors. But what is a student ambassador? And how can they help boost your enrollment?

When you’re booking a holiday, or deciding where to go out for dinner, we often go online and read reviews of people who have been there recently. 

And when your prospective students are deciding where to study, they want the exact same thing! They want to speak to students who are currently there, studying their degree and living the experience. 

That’s where student ambassadors come in. 

A student ambassador is your on-campus advocate, living the experience right now, who can share that with prospective students considering studying at your institution. 

So, what is a student ambassador?

A student ambassador is the voice and face of your institution, someone that prospective student enquirers can turn to for information about applying to your school: both the practical, and the experiential. 

They aren’t an enquiry hotline or a chatbot. They might not be able to tell you the visa requirements at the drop of a hat – but they can tell you what it’s like to be a South American student studying in New York, or where the best place to eat is near the dorm rooms. Or a top tip for getting free pizza during orientation. 

The key role of a student ambassador is to engage with enquirers, answer any questions they have around joining your institution and reassure and guide them in their journey.

They are, in essence, fostering a sense of belonging amongst prospective students, sometimes before they’ve even applied! 

What makes a good ambassador? 

There are plenty of qualities that you are used to looking for in your student ambassadors, but if you’re new to digital student ambassador programs you might be unsure of what to be looking for.

Digital ambassadors must be great communicators – but they also need to be digital natives. Being a great communicator online means writing in a clear and concise way, coming across as open and friendly and maybe even using emojis.

Digital student ambassadors tend to work more independently from other ambassador or student roles. Whether they are creating content, working on social media, or chatting on an online platform like Unibuddy – a lot of this is done in the student’s own time.

Does it work?

Student ambassadors are enormously influential in the student decision making process! Research by Unibuddy and Intead found that 57% of college applicants found the input of student ambassadors to be the most helpful part of the application and admissions process. 

At St. John’s University, over 100 students act as ambassadors, using the Unibuddy platform to connect with applicants and admitted students. 

Speaking to University Business,  Laura Fcasni, an admissions counselor at the university, said: “The last few weeks, students have been asking what online learning looks like for our ambassadors. That is something they anticipate they will experience in the fall.”And 28% of applicants that chat on Unibuddy go on to place a deposit – compared to the 16% institution average – showing the significant impact that those interactions have on student confidence.

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