Keep alive pet student and claim free digs

May 6, 2005

You can feed them a balanced diet, get them to tidy up, maybe have a shower or even write an essay - anything, as long as you keep your virtual student alive.

Inspired by virtual pet games, a charity has devised an online game for secondary school pupils that challenges them to coax a virtual student through the highs and lows of campus life.

The game, Student Survivor , has been created by Uniaid, a charity that aims to help prepare pupils for university.

Pupils who can keep their student alive, solvent and up to date with their coursework for one week in the virtual world - one hour's worth of game play - have the chance to win a year's worth of free accommodation when they go to university.

Uniaid said it would pick six winners, who would each qualify for free accommodation from September 1 this year to June 30 next.

The computer program, which was developed by the marketing agency Kerb, is supported by HSBC Bank and Unite, the student accommodation provider.

Alistair Lomax, executive director of Uniaid, said surveys suggest nine out of ten students wish they had been better prepared for university. With Student Survivor , players can see how their virtual characters cope with the challenges of university life.

"There are many great sources of information for students out there, but we wanted to give them a virtual experience of university life," Mr Lomax said.

To play Student Survivor, log on to www.uniaid.org.uk

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