A TECHNOLOGY platform being used by some of the world’s leading universities is being rolled out as a front line tool in the fight to maintain control of admissions amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Access Platform (TAP) provides a virtual environment in which prospective university students can interact with ambassadors who are already studying courses at a given university.
It has proven to be particularly successful for universities which have high overseas student intakes - and in recent weeks has become an invaluable tool as Covid 19 has gripped the world.
TAP Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Nik Higgins, is currently in Australia where the platform has quickly established itself as the market leader.
The London-based firm offers its service to international students at some of the country’s most prestigious and oldest universities including the University of Adelaide, RMIT University, University of Canberra, and the University of Newcastle.
He said: “TAP helps to facilitate valuable connections between students and university ambassadors from around the world, providing them with information and advice they want on a platform they can use intuitively, and from anywhere in the world.”
“What we have seen in the last few weeks is a significant increase in the number of interactions on the platform, as students take full advantage of its capabilities amid the Coronavirus outbreak.
“As much as Covid 19 is causing billions of people to retreat, self isolate or be instructed to isolate, TAP continues to allow anybody with access to the platform to continue the conversation with their chosen university and its ambassadors.
In addition to its rapid expansion in Australia, TAP is also used at a number of colleges at the University of Oxford, at the University of Cambridge's Judge Business School and number of further Russell Group universities in the UK.
According to research conducted by the pioneering digital platform, partner universities using the system have seen a dramatic increase in the number of international students accepting offers of study after engaging with a student ambassador online.
Nick Golding is TAP’s Director of Strategic Development and is in active conversation with a number of universities about the prospect of them adopting The Access Platform’s technology as they battle to mitigate the effects of Covid 19.
He said: “Universities and colleges around the world are understandably anxious about the fallout from Coronavirus.
“With campuses, states and countries in lockdown, and restrictions on both inbound and outbound travel, traditional modes of student engagement and recruitment, whether overseas or domestically, are being severely disrupted; and that could have a big impact on admissions this autumn.
“The situation calls for a remote recruitment strategy. Not only does The Access Platform provide the keystone for such a strategy, but we’re here for our partners and very keen to support them through this crisis to minimise its impact.
“We’re helping them to maintain awareness and engagements with prospects and offer-holders, to reassure future students about their plans, and we are creating dedicated Coronavirus pages on their websites with suitably trained staff and Student Ambassadors.”
Data from the Australian Government’s education department found Universities across the country rely heavily on international students, with Chinese pupils making up the largest portion.
In 2019 more than 261,000 Chinese nationals enrolled in educational institutions in the country.
RMIT University’s assistant director of global sales and conversion Mark Scherian praised the tech platform in a video on TAP’s website.
“Peer-to-peer engagement is something we really value here at RMIT,” he said. “It’s a big life decision for a lot of our prospective students to study here.
“TAP really gives us an opportunity to showcase these students, what country they’re from, what their interests are and what they’re studying. Prospective students have the opportunity to speak to other students and get that real-life experience.”
The Access Platform can be set-up in less than 24 hours and offers friendly and easy-to-use tools.
“TAP helps to facilitate connections that are valuable and need to happen anyway,” said Nik.
“It’s about connecting people that need to talk, no hocus pocus, and everyone wins. There’s a need for it, especially now.
“There’s nothing complicated about the tech, it’s a platform to help broaden students connections.”