Brunel University London
Giving student’s a HeadStart
Prior to Fresher’s week, the university runs a week long induction event called HeadStart to help onboard students from “Widening Participation” backgrounds transition into higher education. This includes students from underrepresented groups such as students in care, those that have mobility issues and mature students, to name a few. Now in its 11th year, Charlotte Thackeray, HeadStart Officer, is responsible for the event and is part of the Academic Skills Team (ASK).
During the event, the ASK advisers run study skills sessions and students are grouped based on their college for a more personalised outlook on what lies in store for the rest of their academic year. The programme is externally funded; therefore, the team is challenged to constantly prove the effectiveness, impact and worth of the event. HeadStart is vital for making an excellent first impression of the university to the students and their parents. Charlotte comments “HeadStart is an externally funded scheme and looks to improve the retention of new first year and foundation students who are eligible to attend”.
ASK had previously used a free mobile event app. However, the app was more of a “nice-to-have” with no interactive elements and as a result, was not widely adopted. When the provider introduced a cost, Charlotte decided to find an app that provided the best value for money. Charlotte says, “I was looking for an app was easy to use and enabled multiple programmes for each of the university’s colleges. I was also hoping for interactive elements – something a bit extra”.
CrowdCompass by Cvent met Charlotte’s requirements and offered features beyond her expectations. “I could see Brunel using features like the beacons, in-app testing and surveys and the maps function was so much better than anything else we saw” Charlotte states. The number of features CrowdCompass offers meant the app had the scope to grow over the next two years and could adapt to changes in demand. Also, Charlotte noted, “The app was invite-only and the ability to put up privacy notices was impressive in helping us tackle GDPR and safety concerns”.