14 August 2020

Generating leads and quelling unique fears at Otis College of Art and Design

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(Photo credit: Fawad Assadullah/Otis College of Art and Design. All Rights Reserved)

Courtney Richter, Interim Director of Admissions

The challenge

When Otis College of Art and Design began using Unibuddy in summer 2020, they were hoping to recruit more students by reaching them in a time without travel.

Their primary goal was to connect with these prospective students early on in their decision-making journey.

There was a lot of new technology surfacing with a high learning curve, and accessibility was key for them in searching for their solution. They wanted to ensure that resources were available to students at all times.

The solution

They used to get requests from prospective students who wanted to speak to current students, so Unibuddy fulfilled a need that they had even before the pandemic.

Otis included both Unibuddy Chat and the traffic drivers on their website. They’ve also found that using Zoom in tandem with the Chat platform is an easy way to prompt students to continue the conversations they’re having at virtual events.

Courtney Richter, Interim Director of Admissions reported that they have every major the school offers represented amongst their 12 student ambassadors, which makes it easy for each prospective student to strike up a valuable conversation.

“It’s so informal. It’s very different from them talking to someone in the admissions office. So it just gives them a more comfortable way to connect,” she said.

The results

“We were really thinking about Unibuddy for international students, bridging that gap,” said Richter, but they ended up utilizing the platform for domestic recruitment as well.

“The breakdown between the two matches our enrollment pretty closely. So it’s cool to see that there was just as much of a need for it with our domestic prospective students.”

Richter also noted that Otis has received a lot of first-source leads from Unibuddy because chatting with a student gets them interested in connecting with the school.

“We rely on it so much now that it’s hard to imagine that we didn’t have it before. It’s helped us understand the importance of putting our students front and center,” she said, “It’s so seamless now and the conversations are happening all year long as opposed to just on Accepted Students Day or at other events.”

Their prospective students feel like they’re getting very unfiltered, honest responses from current students. This is essential at an art school for which many prospective students have a unique set of concerns regarding their aptitude.

“A lot of students have that fear of ‘Is my work going to be good enough?’ They often ask our students to see some of their work. It makes Otis feel less intimidating when they’re actually connecting with a real student who got in and is here doing the work and doing well.”


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