2nd March 2016, 8:42am
Friends for Life: web campaign connects future uni mates
Friends for Life Would-be uni mates are forging firm friendships months before they enrol thanks to a campaign helping prospective students create networks of like-minded friends applying to the same university.

Using a specially-created web app linked to social media sites Facebook and Twitter, the University of Lincoln’s Friends for Life campaign connects students applying for undergraduate courses to their peers by matching special interests across topics such as music, sport, film, or university clubs and societies.

Once registered, Friends for Life members receive targeted e-newsletters steering them to closed Facebook groups and other social media activities tailored to the subjects they are interested in.

The aim of the scheme is to support new students with the transition to university life – particularly those making their first move away from home and established friendship groups at school or college.

By joining a community of fellow students online during the application process, those go on to who enrol at Lincoln in September can focus on exploring university life and learning on their course with a ready-made group of friends.

This year almost a third of prospective students applying to join the University of Lincoln in  September 2016 have already registered with Friends for Life. Of those, 66 per cent selected music as an area of interest with many actively discussing favourite songs and helping to create playlists.

Among academic subjects, Law applicants have been among the most active with more than 10,000 messages in Facebook group chats already. Meanwhile, 32 per cent of Psychology applicants have registered as Harry Potter fans, and 61 per cent of Animal Behaviour and Welfare applicants have declared dogs among their favourite animals.

Elly Sample, Director of Communications, Development and Marketing at the University of Lincoln, said: “Leaving home for the first time and taking on the challenge of a new degree course can be hugely exciting, but we understand that for some, it can also be mixed with feelings of apprehension or uncertainty.

“Through our research, we know that one concern many university applicants have is that they might struggle to build new groups of friends once they move away to university. We have a strong community atmosphere here at Lincoln, so our Friends for Life campaign was developed to help applicants who will soon become part of our academic family to begin building new friendships as soon as they’ve made the choice to study here.

“We are delighted with how many applicants have already signed up to Friends for Life, and we are hearing great stories emerge about groups connecting over shared interests – whether it’s a genre of music or a discussion about A-Level exams.”

Nineteen-year-old Remy Wallace, from Leicester, registered with Friends for Life when it was launched in January 2015, and connected to friends on the BA (Hons) Drama course ahead of starting in September last year. He said: “It made me feel more comfortable knowing there were many people with similar interests to myself and it made me feel like making friends would be easy, and it was.

“They say the friends you make at university are the friends you keep for life. I'm starting to believe that to be true.”

Applicants can sign up to the Friends for Life scheme at: www.lincoln.ac.uk/friends/
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