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Building friendships and communities before starting university – the critical role of digital connectivity

An LJMU applicant starting university in September '21 using the CampusConnect app to connect with other applicants.

A new mobile app, LJMU CampusConnect, is providing all undergraduate offer-holders with the opportunity to get to know other applicants on their course of study as well as meet students that will be living in their chosen accommodation. From subject group chats to finding out more about student funding, and tips about life on campus, student societies and just general “Say Hello” groups, CampusConnect is enabling applicants to already feel part of the LJMU community. With a team of student ambassadors on hand to share experiences and answer questions, it is the ideal way to find out first-hand what it is like to study at LJMU and to live in the city of Liverpool.

“The transition to university is both an exciting and anxious time for any undergraduate student,” said Carolyn Williams, Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions at LJMU. “This past year has brought challenges that no one could have foreseen. Applicants would normally have had the chance to meet tutors, current students and other applicants at on-campus open days and subject events as well as view our accommodation and tour the city. Unfortunately, this just hasn’t been possible this year and it is therefore especially important that we have provided a different way to experience LJMU. And, what better way than through the lens of the student community.” On the success of CampusConnect she added, “Already we can see that friendships are being formed and from the many questions in the chat rooms there is a real buzz of excitement about starting university.”

Emily, a student ambassador at LJMU, is also loving her new role supporting students through the subject group chats “I remember how scary it was deciding where to study for my degree, and the lead up to university was terrifying,” she said. “Sometimes all you need is a quick chat with a current student to help shape your decisions. I really wish I’d had something like this when I was going through the process, to help me meet people and to find out more about the university. Being able to reassure applicants about their concerns and putting them at ease has been extremely rewarding.”

Dan Hinkley, co-founder of CampusConnect said, “Ongoing restrictions have forced universities worldwide to change their event plans. It’s important to create a sense of community and belonging; critical factors in ensuring a smooth and positive student transition through the application and admissions process.”

CampusConnect for domestic undergraduate applicants went live on 11 February. Over 1,750 applicants have so far downloaded the app and over 40,000 public and direct messages have been exchanged between applicants and student ambassadors. This level of engagement, at such an early stage of the year, demonstrates the critical role that digital connectivity plays in supporting transition to higher education.

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