Unibuddy to bring US College Decision Day online
Global startup Unibuddy is set to support over 80 universities in the US prepare for the incoming Spring college admissions season amidst an unprecedented and uncertain landscape.
Specialising in a peer-to-peer chat platform, Unibuddy is working with admissions offices at nationally-ranked public, private and regional universities as well as community colleges to allow university administrators to host virtual open-day events and group chats with prospective students who would have gone on annual campus visits and tours under normal circumstances.
Unibuddy’s seamless platform is simple enough that it can be embedded into a university’s main page or be used as a mobile app that allows student-to-student chats, student-to-staff chats, live online events and other ways for prospective students to gain a deeper and well-rounded insight to the potential student lifestyle and the environment without even stepping foot on campus.
According to Unibuddy CEO Diego Fanara in an interview with U2B, this platform is highly relevant today as an alternative to traditional ways of getting information about universities which was through physical visits to the campus or attending student fairs. Moreover, the only way universities had a way of marketing their campus and courses was through brochures and pamphlets.
An online platform allows students to connect directly with the university without being limited by physical barriers of being unable to travel to the campuses.
“It’s a platform that was created to help students make the right choice, whether it be transitioning from high school or undergraduate to postgraduate…We’re providing them with the possibility to connect with peers, current students that have been there done that. They are exactly at the place where they want to be,” said Fanara.
“And this could be current students, we added as well now (the option to chat with) admission officers to share experiential and personal information to prospective students. This is (done via) one to one chat or group chats.”
A levelled playing field
With its chat-based platform launched in 2017, since its inception, Unibuddy has helped partner universities across the UK and the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) boost its enrollment rate by connecting more than 150,000 prospective students with these universities.
For instance, St John’s University saw 28 percent of Unibuddy users committed to attending the university after they were able to speak directly to students currently enrolled at the university, compared to the 16 percent institutional average for prospective students.
Part of this gradual success could be attributed to the startup’s main principle of ensuring universities are able to promote their campus culture, courses and environment on an equal playing field to each prospective student, no matter where they’re located.
“We as Unibuddy really wanted to push for a shared human experience available online which will remove all of the barriers to information…wherever you’re coming from, you can get the same information, because you’ve got access to current students and staff from the same single button that every other student has access to,” added Fanara.
The platform allows prospective students to make meaningful connections with university students already enrolled in their targeted universities, a truly unique experience amidst other platforms that only unlock content and peer to peer connections after a student has been accepted to a university.
Digitising College Admissions
Faced with campus closures and the possibility of many traditional operations switching over to becoming fully digital, universities need a simple and seamless way to ensure the college admissions season goes on smoothly with minimal disruptions.
With that in mind, Unibuddy has expanded its previously student-centric peer to peer platform to also encompass university and college admissions staff and faculty.
“Anyone can be a peer. That’s the idea. We started with current students, and on the platform, we only had current student profiles. Now we have admissions officers and academics who can create a profile so that they could be a meaningful peer for the students to help them make better decisions,” said Fanara.
This way, Unibuddy can easily support universities that are faced with sudden open day cancellations, by providing an event platform which allows prospective students to sign on and chat directly with students, admissions staff and faculty members who will be ready to provide first-hand information and advice via a simple chat system.
Only requiring a single line of code to embed the chat platform onto a partner university’s website, this simplistic design ensures universities will have no problem with adapting to the platform.
Besides that, the lightweight platform is easily accessible with even the most minimal internet connectivity. This truly breaks barriers and allows students from around the world to be able to engage with any member of the university to know more about the admissions process and to make better decisions.
Above it all, startups such as Unibuddy are there to support universities approach digitisation across their various operations.
The company intends to continue expanding its reach to as many universities across the world and to support them during these challenging times where the only option is to rely on digital mediums to replace traditional ones.
Unibuddy is currently partnered with more than 250 higher education institutions across 28 countries.
The startup is prepared to extend its support to universities and colleges in the US to prepare for the National College Decision Day that is set to take place on 1 May.