In an era of slick advertising and glossy materials, Lancaster University sought to bridge the ‘authenticity’ gap and provide students with real opportunities that would allow them to envisage themselves studying there. They wanted a solution that would let prospects ask the questions they would not see answered in the prospectus or on the website.
Recognising the importance of institutional buy-in for a new and untested initiative, Josh Dean, Student Recruitment Development Manager carefully co-ordinated the implementation of Unibuddy, including:
- Promotion of Unibuddy on the homepage to maximise engagement from the start.
- Starting small, with the central ambassador team.
- Gaining the support of senior management, with the COO championing Unibuddy.
- Establishing internal best practice and user forums to exploit Unibuddy’s full potential.
The co-ordination paid off, with immediate student uptake of the platform. Meanwhile the technology’s ease of use and instantaneous nature have unlocked enthusiasm from ambassadors and staff.
Staff across the institution quickly saw that the ratio of value to effort was more than favourable – and so are putting more of their ambassadors on the platform.
As of January 2019 more than 1,800 students have used Unibuddy, sending and receiving in excess of 10,000 messages.
As Josh Dean, Student Recruitment Development Manager, said:
‘I think it really opens up access to get information about how it is to live and study for all students, when this can be daunting with the huge amount of info out there. I love the variety of conversations and how genuine they are, particularly when you see a prospect move through the cycle from being a tentative applicant to an excited offer holder.’