A Student Ambassador shares her favourite ‘prospective student’ questions

George ParkerBy George Parker, a Student Ambassador and third-year student studying French and Modern History

I might be slightly biased, but I think St Andrews is pretty great. It’s such a unique place –  which is difficult to express in a prospectus, but talking to a current student can really bring the university to life. I became an ambassador because I want applicants to understand what an amazing place it is and the wonderful student experience that they would have. Everybody sees us on those occasional Wednesdays throughout the year, emblazoned in our red gowns and shepherding large groups around town, inevitably blocking everybody’s way as we stop to point out the Union and the library. But what is being an ambassador really all about? It’s about being helpful and enthusiastic, and suffering a great deal of nostalgia for the beginning of our first year.

‘So what do students do around here for fun?’

The main concern of prospective students is not the quality of teaching, the career prospects or library facilities; the most common question that I get asked whilst working as a student ambassador is how we students entertain ourselves in this tiny grey town, barren of nightclubs, shopping centres and multi-screen cinemas. Two years of experience as a student ambassador means I have now perfected a speech to give in response to this query, detailing the vast range of societies and activities, and the wide variety of events that are organised. Hopefully I manage to convince them; it’s really important as an ambassador to put across the most positive image of the university that you can. Of course, the prospective students are generally too timid to ask many questions, even though they’re probably bursting with numerous queries and endless fears.

‘So what do students REALLY do around here for fun?’

Parents, on the other hand, are true quizmasters. I enjoy chatting to the parents and guardians, and I think it definitely helps put their minds at rest to hear a current student share their positive experiences of the university. At the end of the day, they just want to imagine that their children will be happy here at St Andrews.  For parents, accommodation is a top concern, as is the availability of part-time jobs, and how easy it is to make friends. Sensible questions indeed. Although I do sometimes wish that we were given the chance to impart the essential student knowledge, such as the fancy-dress that will be needed for Fresher’s Week, and where to find the best coffee in St Andrews.

There’s a question which nobody ever asks outright, but everybody should: will I enjoy my time at St Andrews? And I would be able to promise them with the utmost confidence that they will. Of course, in the midst of essay deadlines, or at the back of the queue in the library café, life here might not seem so idyllic. Yet overall I believe that future students will have a fantastic experience.

Being an ambassador is definitely a rewarding job, to imagine that you are responsible for shaping a person’s perception of the university. Whether we are welcoming prospective students at College Hall, or taking them on tour around the town and attempting to describe the surreal-yet-incredible experience of the May Dip, ambassadors are representing the university: a huge and highly enjoyable responsibility!

We know that parents often have as many questions as their students.  One resource available to parents is the Family Programme,  which enables families to be part of the St Andrews community, keeps them up to date with developments at the University and provides ways in which they can contribute to and share in its achievements.  By registering for the Family Programme, which is free of charge, parents automatically receive:

  • Membership to the St Andrews online alumni community and a range of benefits and services;
  • University newsletters
  • Access to our online Love from Home service which we run in cooperation with Fisher & Donaldson, our local baker and confectioner, to allow you to send your loved ones treats during term time.

Learn more or register for the Family Programme at our website.

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2 thoughts on “A Student Ambassador shares her favourite ‘prospective student’ questions

  1. One of the best things about life in St Andrews is the lack of entertainment. Although that sounds weird, the lack of nightclubs, big cinemas and stuff leads to ending up in random parties, long philosophical discussions on hall landings, walking along the West Sands at daft hours of the morning while singing your head off, and other unpredictable, irreplaceable experiences that you wouldn’t have otherwise.

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