Just as it was for institutions the world over, the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 was a game-changer for student recruitment teams.
As borders closed, the University of Sydney (USYD) faced arguably its toughest recruitment challenge ever, and turned to The Ambassador Platform for help.
50,877 messages from prospective students in 118 countries in just 15 months
Following the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, the compulsory transition to online applied not just to classrooms but also to all recruitment and outreach activities. The University of Sydney’s Sydney Future Students team was quick to introduce TAP and has been able to widen the scope and reach of its recruitment activities to students from all around the world at various stages of their application journey - even when the world was locked down.
Since the country had completely closed its borders, Australian universities were facing a strenuous challenge to recruit and engage with international students. Without international travel, students and parents were unable to fly over to visit the campus or even join domestic recruitment and outreach events that would traditionally host representatives from universities.
'We started exploring TAP in 2019 as part of our Southeast Asia strategy and as we moved to operationalise our plan the global pandemic hit – having a peer-to-peer platform allowed us to expand our personal approach with prospective students even though borders were closed.
The team at Sydney Future Students is delighted with the positive feedback we have had from prospective students and from our virtual student peers (VSPs) about the TAP platform and the process of enabling prospective students to speak with our current students. Our VSPs are super engaged and love creating content and helping prospective students to navigate their way through their decision-making.
TAP has been an asset to our team, helped us achieve goals within our strategy and enabled us to be in front of our prospects at times that suit them and to answer the questions they want to ask.'
The University of Sydney
Sydney's Digital Ambassadors
Over the past year, USYD onboarded over 50 student ambassadors and 7 staff who were able to help more than 2020 prospects who had come through their website. The platform enabled prospective students to connect with a variety of current students and staff seamlessly through their mobile devices or computers.
USYD’s student ambassadors were selected from over 30 different nationalities and from all study levels – bachelors, masters and even PhDs. This enabled USYD to cater to a wide range of prospective students and personalise their encounters depending on which degree or study level they were applying for.
A lot of conversations were held in the prospects’ mother tongue, which encouraged and enabled international students to actively submit enquiries about USYD. This not only added a personal touch to every engagement but also allowed students to ask questions and even build relationships with soon-to-be-peers; a feat that was unattainable in traditional events with strict schedules, long lines and short time slots for every encounter.
User-generated contet created by USYD Student Ambassadors
During the first 15 months of using TAP, USYD received 50,877 messages from prospective students in 118 countries. This included countries and regions USYD had previously been unable to visit, and students from specific backgrounds to whom they were formerly unable to reach out.
In addition, the content feature has been exceptionally useful in sharing what life at Sydney is to prospective international students who are unable to come and witness the campus and experience student life in person.
USYD’s student ambassadors have generated more than 2,894 content which includes not only introductory videos of themselves (mostly in multiple languages) but also photos of their student life, campus, favourite spots and the city in general.
The Ambassador Platform has enabled students from various stages of their application journey, ethnicities and countries to engage with both current students and staff to gain an authentic insight into what studying at the University of Sydney entailed, especially in the absence of physical events and activities.