One of the most effective tools that Universities have to their advantage is the alumni that have already attended in the past. Alumni networks serve a major purpose to universities, not only as a source of income through donations but in the resources they can contribute to current and future students. Universities that utilize alumni networks can provide a service to their current and prospective students, invaluable to the university experience.
For future students, alumni can help provide information and answer questions about what students can expect from their campus experience. On-campus alumni can help create a robust support system for existing students and help set them up for their careers after graduation. Read on for the many ways that creating a robust alumni network can help further your university's student services, branding efforts, and overall campus community.
For Future Students
Alumni networks are perhaps the most powerful resource that colleges can use to help prospective students make decisions that will profoundly impact their future. Off-campus alumni can help provide more information about what students might expect in their campus experience at your school. Alumni can help answer questions about the curriculum, their studies, the faculty, the social experiences on and off-campus, and give general insight into how students can prepare to enter a new chapter of their lives.
Consider setting prospective students up with a member of your school's alumni network that can help answer any questions they have. Alumni can also provide you with powerful context into whether a student may be a good fit for a highly competitive program. You can set up interviews with prospective students, especially students that may live too far away from your school, to make several campus visits before applying, to help students find out if they would be a good fit for your school and vice versa.
Students can work with alumni to get a better sense of the community in your school that they couldn't get from speaking with a member of your faculty. Alumni can answer questions about the social scene in your school. If your school has Greek life, alumni can help answer questions that students might have about getting involved in that or give general advice about whether they would be a good fit.
Use alumni networks as an opportunity to connect future students to students that have already graduated but have similar interests. If a student is pursuing a specific program, try to match them with alumni that also went through that program. On a bigger note, notable alumni can help bring in new students to your school that are interested in following the same path, especially if the alumni are in a field that directly relates to their education.
For Current Students
Current students can get just as much out of alumni networks as prospective students. Alumni networks are a powerful networking tool that your university has at its advantage, especially in industries that may be harder to get into. If you have any notable alumni, find out if they would be interested in mentoring or networking with some of your current students. They may help more of your students get their foot in the door by answering questions and offering advice.
By linking your current student body to your alumni network, you're allowing current students to network with possible job prospects before they even finish their education. Many students can find jobs after graduation by networking with alumni at events, so utilizing this vital tool is a great way to assure that a new generation of graduates are given the opportunities they need to open doors to a fulfilling and successful career in their desired industry.
Alumni can also help current students navigate the social scene on campus. They're able to act as mentors for a social experience that can often feel overwhelming and foreign, especially for demographics like international students or first-generation college students. Having a mentor to lean on is essential, and the mentorship that alumni can bring can often ease the pressure on other school services like counselors and mental health experts.
For Master's Students
Alumni associations and networks are even more powerful for graduate students because they help students in master's programs network for their careers after school and create a solid and supportive network of working professionals within their field. Masters students are often more specialized or focused on a specific field, so creating an alumni network explicitly catered to your graduate programs can help those students network with niche industries while they're still studying, helping them get into their field after graduation.
Alumni networks create meaningful relationships with current and future students and should be looked at as a resource to enhance your student experience. But what alumni get out of it is equally satisfying, as they're helping new generations of students make their way in a world that is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate. Creating a robust and extensive alumni association will help your school expand its network and brand to new heights while helping your past, present, and future students feel more connected to one another both in school and in the real world.
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