The Freshers’ Week App: How It Came To Be
With A-Level results out next week, students across the UK will be finding out they have a place at university and the countdown to Freshers’ Week begins. The focus will turn to this all-important week and expectations for those first days on campus will run high. Freshers’ Week has continued to evolve over time and is finding new life this year with universities now creating a dedicated Freshers’ Week app.
Where did Freshers’ Week come from?
Freshers’ week developed organically in the days before online class registration and with the arrival of the plate glass universities of the 1960s. At that time, a whole week was needed to complete the tedious tasks of standing in long lines to complete sign ups for classes. Existing students took notice of the abundance of downtime for their new classmates and began taking advantage of that time to schedule activities that would welcome and introduce them to campus life.
We’re now left with the Freshers’ Week of today – a streamlined, internet-enabled registration process and lots more time for orientations, meet and greets, club fairs and parties.
Where is Freshers’ Week today?
In many ways today, Freshers’ Week has become an elaborate rite of passage – even inspiring survival guides from the institutions that host them. But the buzz around Freshers’ Week isn’t exactly all that positive. In recent years schools such as Bristol University have even considered shortening Freshers’ Week in an attempt to curb its less-than-wholesome reputation.
The Freshers’ Week App
But is shortening, or even eliminating, Freshers’ Week the way to go? Universities today are finding new and innovative ways to take advantage of the period between students moving to campus and beginning lectures. With the normal assortment of official and unofficial social events certainly still intact, universities’ Freshers’ Weeks have become a structured affair, often necessitating intricate guides and websites to keep students connected to the event and its many facets.
Schools such as University of Edinburgh and University of Sussex have found a cutting-edge solution to their introductory weeks – a Freshers’ Week app. In fact, they’re finding mobile puts them in a unique position to connect directly with new students.
Jo Walters, Digital Engagement Manager, University of Sussex, who is responsible for bring the Freshers’ Week app to Sussex comments, “Digital is the key to increasing engagement between our students and the university and Guidebook will be integral in terms of achieving this strategic objective.”
A study conducted by University of Sussex even found that 95% of students have access to a mobile phone with internet access. “Guidebook is helping us to meet their expectations before they’ve even arrived.”
Benefits of the Freshers’ Week App
Katie Williams, Head of EDU at Guidebook EMEA, comments: “A Freshers’ Week app like Guidebook affords has the flexibility to be customised in line with each university’s strategic objectives and brand. With every Freshers’ Week being different, universities are able to select the features they want.”
Last minute changes
By being able to send information out in real-time through a Freshers’ Week app, universities have the ability to notify students of any last minute changes to events or venues and even new events that are added nearer to or during the week – all at the touch of a button. From changing the Freshers’ Week app’s content to sending a push notification, mobile puts the most up-to-date information right in students’ pockets.
Environmental consideration and sustainability are big factors for universities and using an app results in a significant reduction in the amount of paper being used. A Freshers’ Week app has the ability to greatly reduce, or even eliminate, printing of expensive campus guides, schedules and welcome packets.
Intelligent engagement with students, sponsors and advertisers
Freshers’ Week apps provide more agility when it comes to interacting with students, not just during the event but also in the run-up. Crucially, for universities they can also be used as a platform for local sponsors and advertisers to engage students with their local area. The app can ultimately be used as a tool to connect students with the community, all while providing the potential to pay for itself.
Freshers’ Week will continue to grow and change with new generations of students – and one thing this generation has proven is that they want a mobile experience. As universities respond with dedicated Freshers’ Week apps, students will continue to make their expectations known and keep their traditions in tact.
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