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Harnessing your best advocates in a critical time for global HE

Universities across Australia and New Zealand, facing unprecedented recruitment challenges, are taking on digital, peer-driven solutions to support their future students.

For every student, the ability to connect with a peer who shares characteristics can be hugely powerful. Photo: Unsplash

"Universities should evaluate how they are offering powerful connections to their prospective students"

Peer recruitment sees universities harness their best advocates – their current students and staff – to promote the university in an authentic, trustworthy way. With over 300 university partners, Unibuddy is a world leader in peer recruitment technology.

“Peer interactions have never been more important than they are today”

Recently, the company hosted a summit dedicated to sharing best practice and new ideas for digital peer solutions that will shape the future of student recruitment across Australia and New Zealand.

During the summit, Alexandra Cook, Student Engagement coordinator from the University of New England, shared her top tips for setting up an effective student ambassadors scheme. The University of New England launched Unibuddy in 2018.

In that time, they have set up a UNE-buddy scheme of current students who are on-hand to share their experiences and advice with prospective students.

Trish Rechichi, director Future Students at the University of Western Australia, shared her top tips for tailoring messages to domestic and international student audiences.

As the global Higher Education sector faces unprecedented new challenges around international student recruitment, having the right message has never been more important. And recognising the very different challenges and concerns that domestic students might face compared to international students is essential.

But for every student, the ability to connect with a peer who shares characteristics can be hugely powerful.

China is a key territory for the ANZ region, and Sinorbis, a digital marketing platform supporting companies entering the Chinese market, shared their insights into the market.

We heard about the importance of a digital content strategy that is tailored to Chinese students, as well as strategies for boosting brand awareness in the country. And throughout the summit, we were reminded of the importance of using the right tools to speak to prospective students.

The summit was hosted on Unibuddy’s own virtual events software, Unibuddy Live, which has been used by universities around the world to host virtual Open Days and visit days.

The solution is purpose-built for higher education and lets universities put their student ambassadors and staff at centre stage with events that feature video-streaming and live chat functionality.

Research has shown that peer-to-peer interactions influence the majority of students when deciding where to apply to study.

In a study conducted by Unibuddy and Intead, 57% of students said they were influenced by the conversations – compared to 47% citing friends and family as the most influential reference.

What was clear from the summit is that those peer interactions have never been more important than they are today, as students face difficult and unique challenges.

Universities should evaluate how they are offering those powerful connections to their prospective students, and digital solutions – such as Unibuddy – that are available to facilitate this.

To learn more about the Unibuddy platform, or to get access to the summit resources, get in touch with us!

Sophie Henderson is a University Partnerships Manager at Unibuddy. Having worked across a variety of industries including Healthcare, Finance and Tech, Sophie joined the growing Unibuddy team to be a part of their mission to use shared human experience to give students more confidence and clarity when making one of life’s biggest decisions.

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