The session aimed to explore how university representatives can meaningfully and productively engage high school counselors to form âwin-win partnershipsâ.
Joseph Marshall, Director of Higher Education at Alice Smith SchoolMalaysia explained that there had been a number of benefits after school boards went online due to the pandemic.
âOur experience of the lockdown period has been for the most part very positiveâ¦ We believe that overall our interactions with universities have improved for a number of reasons,â he said.
Marshall explained that before the pandemic, bringing university representatives to the scene required more manpower.
“We are getting academic content that we would not have had in the past”
âFrom our point of view as a school, [it] involved a lot of advice from many reps to help them produce the material that we wanted them to produce on site, often when they were traveling and had been to a lot of other different schools … who maybe had different requirements within the same trip, âhe explained.
Marshall said the online advice was much more flexible in terms of what was provided.
âThere’s been a lot more depth in what’s provided in terms of obviously now rather than just academic reps or a rep and an academic coming out, we now have access to different parts of the university.
âThings like scholarships, other areas of funding, careers and we’re getting academic content that we wouldn’t have had in the past. Academics who simply wouldn’t have been able to travel before, âhe added.
Ciara Newby, Acting Head of International Undergraduate Recruitment at the University of Bath in the UK, also highlighted the benefits of the internet from an academic perspective.
âI personally got to know some great academics at the University of Bath that I hadn’t even heard of before,â she said.
“Because they certainly wouldn’t have had time to take a two-week trip to Southeast Asia, but they can give up an hour, for a few mornings, to give something tailor-made to a school with which we work.
Newby also noted that going online provided more opportunities to work with students to increase their engagement.
âI love working with our current students. I know I’m not the only one with a team of student ambassadors that institutions have to contribute to events, which we obviously didn’t have when we were traveling too, âshe said.
However, while the way universities have had to change the way they work has had benefits, Newby said there are challenges as well.
âNeedless to say, there will always be an advantage in human and face-to-face contact, but it doesn’t happen the same way as before,â she said.
Felicja Syska, Vice President of Academic Engagement at Cialfo recognized the importance of human contact in school guidance.
“There is no doubt that technology will never replace the fact that we aspire to human connection.”
“We are all human and there is no doubt that technology and platforms will never replace the fact that we yearn for this human connection, and especially when working with students and counselors, families and university representatives, we aspire to that. she said.
however, Syska noted the benefits of the technology.
âAt Cialfo, we were already moving in this direction last year, even before the lockdowns and the consequences of the pandemic.
âThis was one of the reasons why we had already instilled in our platform the opportunity for virtual visits to colleges, recognizing that our mission was really to make education accessible across the world,â he said. she adds.