Peer-to-peer engagement platform Unibuddy is launching a new product aiming to help educators retain prospective students until enrolment.
Unibuddy Community is designed to offer prospective students an “official, safe space” to communicate with other students in their cohort, form friendships and “build affinity for colleges and universities” before they make their final study decisions.
The platform, hosted on a mobile app, is “continuing on the journey of peer-to-peer, but from a different angle”, Unibuddy co-founder and CEO Diego Fanara told The PIE.
“We started peer-to-peer by creating that bridge between prospective students and current students. Then we saw that, as students progressed closer to enrolment and they were [clear] on actually which institution and subject they wanted to join, the peer they needed was less the current students, it was the peer that was on the same journey as them,” he explained.
Along with allowing prospective students to connect with like-minded students ahead of enrolling, the “mutually beneficial solution” seeks to assist universities to create a community as early as possible post acceptance which will in turn help to retain students until enrolment.
Institutions have participated in a beta-run pilot over the last three to five months, which has seen them leverage the product to “create that sense of belonging”, and move them through the funnel to enrolment.
It’s seen good traction so far, Unibuddy noted, as it rolls the product out worldwide.
Indiana University Bloomington’s use of Unibuddy Community saw the 83-member strong “Future Hoosiers 2022 – India” community exchange hundreds of messages in the lead-up to arriving on campus.
“It helps recruitment, admissions, and marketing teams convert and retain students by making them feel at home before they even arrive on campus”
“Unibuddy responded to our request for a product that would allow us to unite all of our students through a new medium in a way that encourages a sense of belonging at the right moment in their journey,” IU director of International Partnerships Seth Walker said.
“Student-to-student connections have been a key part of our strategy since we adopted Unibuddy, and now we can put prospective students in conversation with each other to give them a unique and authentic kind of peer support.”
“We’ve created a mutually beneficial solution in Unibuddy Community,” Fanara added.
“The product helps students fulfil the basic psychological need for belonging through human connection. Simultaneously, it helps recruitment, admissions, and marketing teams convert and retain students by making them feel at home before they even arrive on campus.”