The impact of peer-to-peer at UC Riverside

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“We saw the results of peer-to-peer connections very quickly. Especially in this time and age, it makes sense to have students connect with other students. We wanted to try out peer to peer, and obviously, Unibuddy was the one that stood out.”

The challenge

UC Riverside wasn’t seeing the results they wanted from other platforms that they were using.

Now, as it becomes more important to enroll applicants, they’ve sought a peer-to-peer solution.

When they first started, the focus was on yield. Mandy Loh, Assistant Director of International and Out-of-State Recruitment, said: “We wanted to get admitted students to come to the university,” UC Riverside found that a significant proportion of their users went on to enroll in 2019. Unibuddy has also helped them to reach more international students and connect them with the campus, staff and students.

Mandy explained:

“Yesterday, we had someone from Guatemala who connected with one of our ambassadors from there. There’s nothing else that would allow us to reach that diverse group of students that easily.”

In the early days of COVID-19, there were already grave predictions in terms of the pandemic’s impact on recruitment efforts, and UC Riverside felt the magnitude of these concerns.

As Events and Communications Manager, Christine Jo explained:

“With all this uncertainty, we’re relying a lot on virtual platforms. That’s why we’ve been trying to heavily utilize Unibuddy. The platform is letting us keep in touch with our students, share what we’re doing, and give them reassurance.”

One feature that has been particularly useful is a new one for ambassadors—Saved Answers.

The new tool allows ambassadors to save answers they are commonly using and quickly access them.

For example, an answer to a question about visa requirements or Open Houses.

Helping ambassadors formulate those responses to tough questions and making sure they have them on hand has been essential for UC Riverside.

The solution

Unibuddy was deployed through the institution’s own website using the Unibuddy platform, with 80 highly motivated current students, from 35 different countries, happy to talk in a relatable way to prospective students wanting to follow the same journey they themselves took.

The results

Increased Engagement – 6,835 messages between 350 new prospects in just two months.

Increased understanding of our applicants – the themes from the conversations are extracted using powerful machine learning, enabling the school to develop better, more relevant communications.

Improved conversion – 47% of new prospects went on to apply after using Unibuddy

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