02 September 2019

Diversifying student intake at Homerton College, Cambridge University

With around 600 undergraduate students, Homerton College is one of Cambridge University’s largest colleges and, joining the university in 2010, one of its newest. 

The university’s commitment to a more diverse and inclusive intake, combined with the college’s innovative approach, made Homerton a perfect partner for Unibuddy. 

Fergus Powell was a student at Cambridge University and is now the Schools Liaison Officer at Homerton College. In this blog, he explains why the university chose Unibuddy:

We realised that in all of the events we run, one of the best parts is always the chance to meet a current student. The feedback always comes back strongly: prospective students really enjoy the chance to chat to our current students. They are the best ambassadors and the best advocates for both the college and the university. 

As soon as they meet a student, particularly one from a similar background as them, that really makes the message seem real

That’s great for those that can visit, or who we visit. But we know that not everyone can come and see us, so we wanted to see if there was a way that we could utilise our student ambassadors further and connect them with students who might not be able to visit for whatever reason. 

Unibuddy was the perfect way to do that. 

There are a lot of different sides to diversity. At Homerton College, we try to meet the university’s objectives and to exceed them. Most years, we welcome an above-average number of students from state schools- and that’s something we’re quite proud of. We work hard to be a place where students from all different backgrounds can be comfortable living and studying here. 

We work hard to be a place where students from all different backgrounds can be comfortable living and studying here. 

We want the best students from all over. The outreach work we do is about trying to spread that message.

Students are more likely to want to apply if they know that there will be other students from their background here. 

There are students from a wide range of backgrounds at Cambridge University, but because of historical reasons and messaging people can assume Cambrdige is a homogeneous place with not much diversity. There are things we can do to improve diversity further, but there are a lot of students with different backgrounds here that we should showcase, so students can see that there are other students like them. Unibuddy allows us to showcase that in a very obvious way.

As a northerner from a state school, personally I was apprehensive about starting at Cambridge. I did feel that I wasn’t as clued up on the process as other students might have been. I was worried even about very broad things, like whether there would be other students from the north! Something like Unibuddy definitely would have helped me allay those unfounded anxieties. 

So far, our prospective students are really engaging with the platform. They are asking multiple questions and having long chats. Our ambassadors have been fantastic at giving really detailed responses. 

Homerton College has deployed Unibuddy across its website, including: 

  • A Unibuddy Carousel on the homepage, showcasing ambassadors from up and down the country.
  • Unibuddy Popcards strategically placed around the website, with a strong call to action to “Chat to a student”. 
  • Promotion on its social platforms, with regular Tweets and Facebook posts. 
  • Promotion at all in-person events, such as school visits, so all prospective students have the opportunity to chat with a current student.

Check out the platform

 

 

Image courtesy Franman247 via Wikicommons

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