Say Hello to Unibuddy
The University of Edinburgh recently launched Unibuddy, a platform to connect prospective students from around the world with undergraduate and postgraduate student ambassadors
Following a successful summer pilot, the University continued its phased rollout of the Unibuddy online messaging platform with next steps designed to grow adoption and reach. The tool provides prospective students with direct text access to current undergraduate and postgraduate student ambassadors at any time of day, from anywhere in the world.
Unibuddy is fundamentally about providing a sense of belonging to a prospective student - giving them access to someone who can tell them honestly and as a friend what the University is like.
The safeguarded, peer-to-peer engagement platform enables prospective students to find current student profiles aligned to their interests, hobbies, home country or subject of study and send direct messages. The tool meets the increasing demand for authentic student voices in recruitment as users can learn more about accommodation options, course experiences and life in Edinburgh directly from current students.
The student voice is playing an increasingly critical role in the decision-making process for our applicants and offer holders. The ability to hear experiences of current students, ask them questions, and identify with role models are all instrumental in helping to determine whether a programme or institution will be a good fit.
Users can communicate directly using a web browser or the Unibuddy mobile application. The platform is also integrated into the other digital recruitment spaces such as Virtual Visits. Unibuddy will continue its integration into the University digital infrastructure through working with Schools to include their own students on the platform and working with the Prospective Student Web Content Team to embed the Unibuddy platform across the University’s web estate.
We hope that Unibuddy will become a key part of prospective student’s engagement with the University as part of their decision and application journey.
Recognizing the limitations around physical visits to campus, the Unibuddy application is one of three new tools, along with the Virtual Visits and Large Events platform projects, designed to support and develop a digital ecosystem for student recruitment. The University’s Information Services Group (ISG) worked collaboratively with the Service Excellence Program (SEP) and Student Recruitment and Admissions (SRA) teams to launch the Virtual Visits and Unibuddy tools by the first Open Day.
“The combination of subject-matter expertise and technical knowledge wrapped in a structured governance framework ensured the [Unibuddy project] team stayed on track and delivered a high-quality end product,” said Alex. “This incremental delivery approach allowed us to seek feedback from stakeholders and implement a range of enhancements ahead of the full launch in September.”
“This summer [the Unibuddy effort] is the first time I have worked closely with Information Services Group on a project, it was great to have their project management and technical expertise. The speed of implementation was particularly quick for our pilot during Clearing, therefore essential to ensure we kept on task and if there were any challenges work out a solution fast together,” said Liz.
The three projects – Unibuddy, Virtual Visits and Large Events – seek to support SRA in delivering a range of recruitment activities from live and pre-recorded sessions to one-on-one conversations depending on the varied needs of Schools and Colleges and prospective students. SRA and ISG continue to work in partnership to develop high-quality, hybrid approaches to virtual student engagement.
“Unibuddy is just one part of a wider suite of student recruitment systems which have been delivered through collaboration between SRA and ISG. There are already synergies between these platforms – for example the integration of Unibuddy with the Virtual Visit,” said Alex. “Adoption of digital solutions is key to realising both short and long term aims of the institution, and there are opportunities to build an even more cohesive recruitment experience across the whole ecosystem of tools.”