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UQ International Student Enrolment Adviser Spotlight
At UniQuest, we believe that great international student recruitment journeys are driven by great personal interactions. Especially in today’s tumultuous climate, it’s critical that prospective international students receive personal support and encouragement as they navigate the hurdles of studying in another country.
For this reason, we invest in attracting the right specialists to join our team as UniQuest Student Enrolment Advisers. Our Student Enrolment Advisers communicate with students from enquiry through to enrolment on behalf of our university partners. It’s a huge responsibility to ensure every student has an excellent recruitment experience and feels valued, so we make sure we’re getting just the right people for the job. UQ Student Enrolment Advisers are talented in their own unique ways, but they all have a passion for helping students and exceptional student service skills in common.
To demonstrate how our Student Enrolment Advisers support prospective students – and our university partners – day-to-day, I’ve sat down with Dominic Wylor-Owen to get his perspective on the role.
Meet Dominic – A UniQuest Student Enrolment Adviser
Dominic has been a UQ Student Enrolment Adviser since January 2018 with a focus in international student engagement. Below is an interview shedding some light on life as a UQ Student Enrolment Adviser.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your role? I love having the opportunity to communicate with people from all over the world. You learn more about how their cultures and current affairs can influence their ambitions.
Also, the office has a great culture that creates an energised and friendly atmosphere. Many of the Enrolment Advisers have been recruited following university graduation – a number of us are actually recent graduates of the partner universities we’re representing. With happy memories of university life fresh in our minds, and daily conversations with people we know are about to have one of the best experiences of their lives, we sustain a passion for the role which translates into exceptional service to students.
Q: What experience/skills have you brought to the role?
I spent 4 years at University learning Mandarin, which included a year abroad in China. I found that this life experience has been equally, if not more, useful than my language skills when assisting students. I’ve already been through life as an international student and I can utilise these experiences to better understand and even anticipate their concerns.
Q: How do you prepare for each conversation with a student?
It’s important to figure out how far along in the application process they are as this will often dictate the subjects they’re focusing on right now. For example, is it achieving grades, booking accommodation or acquiring a visa?
Q: Do you find that students ask different questions or share different feedback when you speak with them on the phone rather than on online channels like email or live chat?
Actually yes. On the phone students tend to lean more towards the social aspects of University life; they’ll ask questions on how many other international students might attend their course, or what sports clubs are on campus. The feedback can also vary too. We can get a much more real sense of the student’s feelings towards their future degree – you can really pick up if they’re feeling anxious or excited as the conversation goes on.
On email or live chat, on the other hand, students are generally looking for a quick answer to a specific question such as “what are the entry requirements?”.
Q: Have you noticed any changes in student behaviour since you first started in the role?
Of course, the most common topic right now is Brexit! Not just from EU students either, many international students express concern on how Brexit can impact their chances to get a visa. Many are under the impression it may become harder to acquire a visa after Brexit.
Q: How do the conversations you have vary by country or study level?
There are some different trends in the types of questions I hear from students depending on the country they are from. For example, at the moment, when I speak to students from China, I hear a lot of demand for 2+2 programmes. Whereas, when I speak to prospective students from India, I’ve been hearing a lot of concern around their ability to get a visa.
In terms of study level, I will often find that Undergraduates are searching for the full “University package” where they can experience all that the UK has to offer. They’re interested in having an interesting social life while gaining a degree that will set them up for a successful career. Postgraduates usually have a “been there, done that” attitude when it comes to the social activities at University. They’re focused on a degree which can offer specialist skills and accredited qualifications, allowing them to really stand out in job interviews.
Q: What sort of student data trends do you keep an eye on?
As an Enrolment Adviser, we’re making direct contact with the students so we’re primarily assessing the kind of queries we may receive at any one time and investigating what may trigger these questions. A simple example would be knowing that China’s GaoKao results are released at the end of June, so we can expect to receive undergraduate offer holder queries from Chinese students after this time.
Q: What are some recommendations you make to your university partner based on the data you’re collecting and the qualitative feedback you hear from students?
I’m constantly tracking insights from students in the UQ platform because the more data we have, the more accurate our knowledge of the student journey becomes. I’m then able to identify where and when students may be lacking particular information, which we can then share back to the University so that they can publish it for all their students.
Q: How did you become (and how do you stay) expert on the university you’re representing to make sure you’re delivering excellent support to students?
I study all of the information on my university partner’s courses, deadlines, student resources etc., but beyond just memorising information, it’s also important to maintain a good rapport with our partner. I’m in active contact with our university partner and also visit the campus to stay informed of all they have to offer.
Q: How did you learn your university partner’s culture/brand voice to ensure you’re authentically representing their brand in the best way possible in your conversations with students?
I’ve studied the language my university partner uses on their website and on their social media accounts (Facebook and Instagram) to get a feel for their style of communication. Having very open lines of communication with my university partner also supports the work I do to strike the right tone in conversations with students. And, spending time with them on campus has been key in absorbing their culture.
Q: When you mentor new team members, what are the key best practices that you teach?
Going to university can be a daunting process for many new students, this is even more intense when studying abroad, so being as friendly as possible is very important. I tell new team members to make students feel like they have a friend on the inside who is willing to assist them and guide them all the way from submitting an application through to registration. I know this level of care always receives great responses from our students.
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If you’d like to hear more about how UQ Student Enrolment Advisers support students on behalf of our university partners, please feel free to contact us.
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