Students searching for information at Memorial University of Newfoundland now have a new interactive tool literally at their fingertips.
Munlive is a free instant chat service that allows new and prospective students to connect with a Memorial representative live on the Internet.
The application is similar to other web-based instant messaging programs which allow users to chat immediately with others.
The application was officially launched this fall and is a collaborative project between Memorial’s Academic Advising Centre, the Office of Student Recruitment and the School of Graduate Studies.
Memorial representatives are available online to speak with undergraduate students Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and then again from 2-4 p.m.
Meanwhile, students interested in graduate studies can connect with a representative from the university from 8:30-10:30 a.m., Monday to Friday.
“The purpose of munlive is to provide a service which will answer general academic and admissions questions instantaneously,” said Jennifer Abbott, co-ordinator of the Establishing Student Relationships Project with the Academic Advising Centre. “This service will answer questions that traditionally have been e-mailed to a variety of units at Memorial but will now provide an immediate response from one unit.”
Students – whether they are still in high school or at the undergraduate or graduate levels – can take advantage of the new service to find out more information about items ranging from program requirements, course selection, the registration process, admission deadlines and application processes.
No personal information or cases will be discussed online.
The new application was launched to reach prospective students, using communication tools they use on a daily basis.
“It is all about getting the information to them as quickly as possible,” said Shona Perry-Maidment, acting director of the Office of Student Recruitment. “Once they have the information they need, the better – and quicker – they can make their decision. Recruitment is about relationship building whether it is seeing the students, and their parents and teachers for example in person, or speaking with them virtually.”
Memorial is one of only a handful of other Canadian universities utilizing the chat service in its recruitment efforts, added Ms. Perry-Maidment.
“We have done some research into the use of such systems in Canada and there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of recruitment offices availing of such live chat systems,” she noted. “The competition to get students is increasing and universities are doing a lot of new and exciting things to tap into this key market.”
Since launching munlive, Memorial’s School of Graduate Studies has been able to connect with dozens of international students around the world.
The chat service allows the students to instantly learn more about particular programs and areas of study without having to pick up the telephone, send an e-mail or mail a letter.
“We know that the trend among progressive graduate schools is to open up lines of communication with prospective students, and make it convenient for them to access information about their programs,” said Andrew Kim, graduate enrolment manager with the school. “Instant messaging is a fairly pervasive form of communication today among our prospects, so it makes sense for us to embrace it.”
Mr. Kim said munlive was a “natural addition,” to the services the school already offers.
“We have seen a great deal of instant messaging inquiries from international prospects,” he added. “There are no long distance charges and they receive answers in real time. Ultimately, we want them to be able to make an informed decision to apply to one of our graduate programs.”