UCAS is rolling out a new personalised feature through a renewed partnership with Unibuddy. It automatically connects prospective students with current students who are studying their desired course, at a university or college they are interested in or at their preferred location.
For international students, it will introduce them to students from their country of origin so they can explore what it is like to relocate from their home country to the UK.
Unibuddy surveys have revealed that 78% of prospective applicants want to be able to connect with university students when exploring their options while 65% apply to universities where they are able to chat with a student ambassador. This demonstrates how important peer-to-peer connections are in helping students to make informed decisions about where to study.
Prospective applicants can already search for ambassadors at university and college through their UCAS Hub account, with 92% of students say it is beneficial to speak to a current student during the search process. This new feature goes one step further by instantaneously matching potential and current students based on their profile and preferences when an account is opened.
Online peer-to-peer connections are especially beneficial to students unable to attend an open day – UCAS research found that this year, 39% of students cut down on the number of open days they attended due to the rising cost of living. This free tool offers a trusted, authentic resource for students discovering and deciding on their next steps.
Dave Penney, Director of Marketing at UCAS, said:
“UCAS is thrilled to continue our partnership with Unibuddy, delivering an exciting discovery product for all those exploring their next steps. The ability for prospective students to be automatically connected with current students just like them will allow them to hear first-hand about the excitement of uni life and what their course could entail, as well as learn about the clubs and societies on offer when they arrive.
“The improved peer-to-peer service will also be of huge benefit to universities and colleges, allowing them to engage directly with prospective applicants to make more informed choices. By giving universities and colleges a more personal, proactive route to communicate with future cohorts, we can facilitate that connection at the earliest touchpoint to support them throughout their journey into higher education.”
Diego Fanara, Unibuddy Chief Executive Officer, said:
"Unibuddy is excited to continue our partnership with UCAS to empower students to feel confident throughout their decision-making process. Uni-bound students are more overwhelmed than ever before by the choices in front of them. And our data show that today's generation demands nothing short of a personalised experience. We are able to meet these challenges head-on with the new service we are launching today.
“Prospective students will be matched and instantly connected with a current student who can share their lived experience. It's a better, faster and easier way to really unearth what sets an institution apart, and gives the guidance students need to propel forward in their journey. Best of all, our hundreds of institutional partners can engage with students early, understand what's top of mind, and tailor their outreach accordingly. It's a win-win."
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UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, is an independent charity, and the UK's shared admissions service for higher education.
Our services support young people making post-18 choices, as well as mature learners, by providing information, advice, and guidance to inspire and facilitate educational progression to university, college, or an apprenticeship.
We manage almost three million applications, from around 700,000 people each year, for full-time undergraduate courses at over 380 universities and colleges across the UK.
We also provide a wide range of research, consultancy and advisory services to schools, colleges, careers services, professional bodies, and employers, including apprenticeships. We’re a successful and fast-growing organisation, which helps hundreds of thousands of people every year.
We're committed to delivering a first-class service to all our customers — they're at the heart of everything we do.
Unibuddy is the leading student engagement platform for higher ed recruitment, admissions and enrollment teams.
Our suite of peer-to-peer products enables prospective students to easily connect with ambassadors, faculty, staff, and alumni to better inform their decision-making journey.
Currently, Unibuddy partners with 600+ institutions worldwide to boost enrollment, and has supported more than two million students in making crucial decisions about their future.
To learn more, visit www.unibuddy.com.