How and why you should update your peer mentoring system.

How and why you should update your peer mentoring system.

Record numbers of young people are choosing a Higher Education pathway. How do you help them get the most out of their University experience?

In August 2018, a record 27.9% of England’s 18 year population were accepted onto a University course through UCAS, with money wisely invested in innovative recruitment technologies like UniBuddy or Proodle (but to name a few), and even more spent on the old-fashioned-but-still-effective UCAS fairs at schools and colleges. The drive in recruitment has meant higher education isn’t the exclusive experience it once was. But how do we see this through?

As an industry, the numbers show we’re doing a brilliant job of encouraging young people to get a top education. But how do we ensure this growth is sustainable? How do you ensure that, once they arrive, students will continue to be accepted, supported and encouraged, long after the application process is over? You help them help themselves.

Here’s how:

Student retention

With the technological push in student recruitment, it’s easy for student retention to take a backseat. But it makes sense to invest in both.

What good is attracting students, if the reality of University life makes them want to leave? When the minimum cost of a first year drop out is £18,500 (two years lost student fees), can you really afford not to do everything you can to make them want to stay?

Universities already spend millions on welfare, but it’s time for an update. Lets face facts, young people (actually, all people) do the majority of their day to day tasks on their smart phone. But peer mentoring is done by email introductions or face to face drop-in sessions. At Tyfy, we want to help you retain your students by connecting to them in a way they understand. We match students based on course and module, providing an online peer mentoring platform that helps them settle in to University. This point of contact also allows us to funnel students back in to student services. This makes the work Universities already do more effective.

How and why you should update your peer mentoring system.

Engagement

62% of students indicate that having a peer mentor encouraged them to study more. 70% said having a peer mentor made them more confident in their own ability to do well. At Tyfy, we make the process of peer mentoring as easy as possible. An older student doesn’t have time for an awkward meeting with a first year. A younger student doesn’t feel confident enough to go and ask for help from a third year. But they both have the time for a quick conversation via their smart phones.

Students are more engaged with their course, because they can access quick and easy academic support from someone who has studied the same modules as them. Put yourself in the shoes of an 18 year old who is staring down the barrel of their first ever piece of coursework. Do you; a) want to email that random mentor your personal tutor gave you a few months ago when you started? Or b) go on a website and get matched with someone who can help, in an environment where all questions are welcome?

It’s B, isn’t it? That’s because the social awkwardness is gone. It’s like how asking for your crush’s number is the most terrifying prospect in the world, but messaging them after matching on Tinder, isn’t.

It’s a jovial example, but the point is: this is how people interact nowadays, whether you like it or not. Update your services to connect students in ways they understand.

Satisfaction

The transition from Sixth form or college to University is a challenging one – so how can we make it easier? 89% of students found peer mentoring helpful in their transition to University, and at Tyfy we use this to provide students with an online community that helps them settle in. This pressure is worse for students who already feel like they don’t fit in: WP students, lgbt+ students, international students.

Moreover, student mental health is more prevalent an issue than ever, and its vital that Universities are doing their utmost to support the satisfaction and well-being of their students. At Tyfy, not only do we help ease the academic pressure commonly associated with many anxiety disorders; we offer mental health advice through our blog, a community to discuss shared issues and redirection to existing University schemes that are in place to help with mental health issues.

How and why you should update your peer mentoring system.

Graduate Employment

Another common source of anxiety amongst students is fear of the ever-increasingly competitive graduate employment market. 93 percent of employers said that soft skills (social skills) are either an “essential” or “very important” factor in hiring decisions – but how do graduates prove this? Writing ‘excellent leadership skills and a good communicator’ on your CV is no longer enough. At Tyfy, our system allows students to build up a catalogue of reviews that prove this. Peer mentoring offers the chance to demonstrate academic aptitude, communication and leadership. In short, we give students empirical proof to back up their CV with skills that employers look for.

A connected campus is a happy campus – and one every student deserves to feel a part of

More students than ever are trusting the Higher Education system with three or more years of their lives (and phenomenal amounts of debt, too). It’s vital that we prove to them we’ll make it worth wile.

To find out more about how Tyfy could benefit your students, please get in touch at james@tyfy.co or have a look at our business enquiries page. Alternatively, you can read more about how we’re upgrading peer mentoring below:


How and why you should update your peer mentoring system.

Emily Goodwin

Marketing Co-ordinator for Tyfy.co Emily manages all marketing activities for Tyfy. As well as her own Mental Health Monday column, Em also carries out Marketing, Research and Development for the Company.