Working with ambassadors

6 of the best digital ambassador programs from around the world

Around the world, top universities and higher education institutes are using digital ambassador programs to supercharge their student recruitment. But no two programs are the same: some focus on encouraging international students and others are all about increasing accessibility.

We hunted down the very best programs from around the world and spoke to the brains behind them so you can learn what makes a gold standard team of digital ambassadors tick.

1) Keble College, University of Oxford: Mission First 

For a prestigious institution like an Oxbridge college, application numbers aren’t the issue – making their student body more diverse and inclusive is. So Dr Foteini Dimirouli, Keeble College’s Outreach Fellow, set out a clear plan for their digital ambassador program.

 ‘We had a very specific mission’ she says, ‘to widen student participation. More specifically, we wanted to attract students from areas with low progression to higher education and to improve diversity in higher education.’

Only by setting out your mission like Dr Dimirouli – concise and crystal clear – can you measure your success and tweak the program in the future. No wonder Keeble have had the most applications from state school students in the last three years for a college of its size.

Download our ultimate guide to student ambassador programs

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2) University of Adelaide: Connections are Crucial 

The mission at Adelaide was all about recruiting international students. To do that, they needed to connect prospective students with the right ambassadors – an important step for any program. They shared two cracking answers.

First, they emailed offer holders with a personalized link to the ambassador who best matched their country and course. 12,000 messages later, the very first year, their program turned 66% of offers into acceptances

Then, they doubled down with a social media style base for all their ambassadors, with profiles, for would-be students to connect with. It looks pretty slick.


3) Manchester Metropolitan University: Less is more

Now you have a team, it’s time to prepare them for engaging with prospective students. For Thamasha, Head of Customer Success at The Ambassador Platform, this is an early chance to get buy-in, as well as cover essential safeguarding guidelines:

‘Take the time to introduce the program: what are you excited about? Give them some positive affirmation about why this particular group of students was selected. You can give them a positive reputation to live up to.’

With the right training, your program should ‘run itself’ with as little as five minutes of work each week reviewing interactions. At Manchester Metropolitan University, Ellis Platt supports his ambassadors with ‘an open group chat’ and student-led ‘catch-ups’ alone.

4) Royal College of Art: Great Expectations

The RCA is the world’s single most influential school of art and design. Its students are busy. Yours probably are too. But instead of lowering their objectives, they doubled down on a clear mission.

In the job description for digital ambassador at RCA, you’ll find explicit weekly and monthly goals for engaging with prospective students and creating content about university life.

Just being transparent and precise with expectations helps busy students balance their commitments before they even apply to the role. At RCA, they get applications from organized and enthusiastic students, who know exactly what they’re getting into.

Download our ultimate guide to student ambassador programs

TAP_Whitepaper_The ultimate guide to Student Ambassador programs in 2021-22_Front-Cover-min


5) University of Sunderland: Eyes on the Prize

With the help of Digital Content Manager, Jen Ray, Sunderland is reaching more and more prospective students in new ways – including social media platforms like Tiktok.

For Jen, it’s all about incentivization and she told us her secret recipe for turning keen beans into ambassadors is: ‘making it a collaborative experience, paying them and enhancing their digital skills.


6) University of Auckland, New Zealand: Going Cashless

Not every university will pay it’s digital ambassadors for their time. In fact, only about half do. Some can’t afford to and for others, it isn’t a priority. 

What we learned from the University of Auckland is how you can incentivize your team without flashing the cash. The secret? Understanding why your students came to university in the first place.

Nowadays students expect to leave with a degree and buckets of transferrable skills. So, at Auckland they promised ambassadors half a day shadowing the university’s professional marketing department. 

A great reason for students to apply. Real-world experience for their CVs – priceless.

Watch our webinar for more detail on how

to set up a Digital Ambassador Program

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