Official Rep Accounts for Education Providers
Find out how to make the most of this tool to engage prospective students.
By connecting with students in our community, you can gain insight into what matters to applicants and how they are making decisions about where to study.
Your verified Rep account gives you a trusted presence on site in which to support students and build trust in your institution.
Tips to build rapport, speak authentically with students and ensure your posts resonate with our audience. You can also download our Best Practice Tips for ideas on how to effectively engage with students on site.
Your university forum
Each university has a dedicated forum. This is the best place to engage with potential applicants, applicants, and current students.
At the top of the forum, there are a set of “sticky” threads - these are discussions that are relevant to all users interested in your university and tend to have the most interactive discussions. We recommend your sticky threads include:
Official applicant thread for current year, FAQs, Ask a Current Student, Accommodation, Seasonal updates (for example, a Clearing specific thread or Open Day information. The post can be stuck/unstuck depending on the relevance for the time of year).
To make a thread sticky, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ideas for your three Official Rep accounts
As part of the University Partner Package (UPP), you can have up to three Official Rep accounts set up:
- Admissions or Marketing team - focusing on the University’s forum to ensure all questions are answered and that students have access to the advice and support they need.
- Student Ambassadors - Students can respond to questions and share their personal experiences. They offer prospective applicants an authentic, relatable perspective about what it's like applying to and attending your university.
- Specialist areas - such as accommodation, postgraduate or international study. This can depend on the expertise of the people managing the account.
Hints and tips
Creating a thread - click “start new discussion” at the top of the page. Include your university name in the title of each new thread so if it appears elsewhere on site e.g. the “latest discussions” box, students know what it relates to.
“Watch” your own forum - get a notification for any new posts easily accessed it from your homepage each time you log in. We recommend checking your forum once a day.
Monitor forum threads - reply to posts from users who are interested in your university.
Optimise for SEO - in your forum make sure you include the full name of your university or company and any common acronyms in the thread title. Vague titles like ‘2017 Applicants’ don’t perform well because Google doesn’t understand which higher education provider or company its for. Good examples include; ‘Sheffield Hallam university (SHU) applicant thread for 2022’ or ‘Loughborough University accommodation 2022: A Guide to What You Need to Know’
Build a positive brand association - every interaction will influence how members of our community feel and talk about your university. Be supportive, useful, genuine and consistent in the way you communicate.
Pay attention to what students are saying - common questions or concerns can provide valuable insights, helping you adjust your communications to connect with your audience.
Don't post if you don't know the answer and are unable to signpost someone who does
Ideas for content: Revision tips, Help with personal statement, Using UCAS, Ask Me Anything, postgraduate study, international study, societies, “live Q&A session,” mental health and/or wellness thread
Posting on the wider site
Aside from your own forum, there are general discussion boards across the site that are worth engaging with. Key forums to explore include:
University & University Courses
List of University forums
Applications, Clearing and UCAS - comparison threads often appear here
University Life - e.g., accommodation, study tips, freshers’ advice (good for Student Reps)
Financial Support - e.g. student finance, loans, grants and university bursaries.
International Qualifications and International Lounge - engage with international students.
Managing comparison threads
Often, students are looking for advice to help them decide between two or three different universities. It’s best to only get involved if the student has specifically mentioned your university.
Help students make a balanced decision based on their best interests:
- Find out what they want from their university experience (don't just pitch your university).
- Ask them to list their pros and cons as a way to help guide their thought process.
- Help them identify key factors they have not considered e.g the city itself, accommodation options, the modules in each course.
- Ask the student about their decision-making process e.g. have they gone to an open event? What would they like to know more about?
- Be supportive and pay attention to the individual's needs and circumstances.
What to avoid
- Giving information that is not accurate
- Advertising rather than helping (see example below)
- Posting for the sake of posting e.g. information that doesn't relate to a student question or need
- Linking off-site with no context e.g. YouTube video or links to your website with no context
- Copying and pasting the same response multiple times
- Ignoring or diminishing the struggles that students may be facing
Example of what not to do:
Student: “I am currently undecided between University X and University Y, please can someone advise?”
Rep: We may be a little biased, but we can’t deny that X is absolutely brilliant! We're currently number 1 in the League Table and have a 90% student satisfaction rating. I graduated from X a month ago having studied Mathematics for three years. There are so many fun events held here throughout the year, such as...
Engaging a postgraduate audience
Listen and empathise
Let them know they are understood and try to give them a sense of life as a postgraduate student (even better if you can use your own experience). Postgraduate concerns include: financial worries, making decisions about study, transitioning from undergraduate to postgraduate, and social life expectations.
Adapt for a more mature audience (in their twenties or older, not 17/18-year-olds)
You can still be conversational, but keep the emojis to a minimum and use slightly more mature language.
Prospective postgraduates often ask about subject-specific and specialist questions. Only respond to questions if you know the answer. Otherwise, signpost them to someone who can help or find out from someone who knows and get back to them.
Peak times for postgraduates
Applications are open all year round, so the journey from consideration to decision-making and applying can vary for each student. Our postgraduate forums see a spike in activity between January and April. March to April is the key consideration stage.