A FIRST-HAND STUDENT EXPERIENCE OF HIGHER EDUCATION MARKETING
Crunch talks a lot about student recruitment and the student candidate engine. Student recruitment teams across the UK run daily campaigns to drive traffic to school and college open days at conventions and online. Every university wants to attract students by focusing on the student experience and attract the best students to apply for courses within their university.
University Student Recruitment teams provide key information on courses, careers, funding, accommodation and general student life. These factors are fundamental to future students’ decision-making – and to their family and friends also.
Marketing Intelligence and the rise of the ‘Math Marketer’ has allowed universities to make effective use of research and opportunities to reach student recruitment objectives.
Ghenaa Ahmed has worked with Crunch for almost 3 years in-between studying Sociology at the University of Manchester. Ghenaa has first-hand experience of the student experience and the student recruitment-machine working, so we asked her to share her story.
In the game of Higher Education marketing, students need accurate and enticing information about the Universities’ educational quality in order to choose between courses. On the other side academics and university administrators need information to help monitor and improve their courses and programmes (Coates, 2006).
“As a recent sociology graduate from the University of Manchester, my experience of choosing and applying to universities was a common route that many of my peers took. UCAS was the main website through which most UK students currently completing their A-Levels would use to apply to 5 universities of their choice. Once the applications were approved and offers were sent out from the universities, students were then given the option to confirm a firm choice and an insurance choice.”
CHOOSING 5 OPTIONS FROM 100S OF UNIVERSITIES
“If I look back over my time whilst applying to University, there were several factors which affected my decision to choose the University of Manchester. Attending a Russell group University was highly advised by my college. That narrowed my choices down to 24 universities. From there I specified my course choice of studying sociology. This is where university rankings played a major role. University rankings are a competitive business and is also used as a crucial tool. The Guardian’s rankings help maintain and build an institution’s position and influence. Therefore, many universities strive on their rankings to entice students. It was clear that the university was proud of its achievement of being ranked 2nd in the country after Cambridge university for sociology. This was based on the rankings from The Guardian in 2015.”
STUDENT OPINIONS AND TRENDS
“As a prospective student when deciding my choice to confirm my attendance at the University of Manchester, I looked to current student opinions on websites such as the student room and the complete university guide. These student forums provided real and honest opinions of the student experience, university life, and alongside this, the university published their own ‘manchesterstudentblogs’ website.
One of the main attractions of Manchester was its location. As one of the top 3 largest and busiest cities in the UK, the university was in the centre close to all the essential stops for students. This further validated my decision to attend Manchester. Not only was the University highly established, but the city had a lot to offer as well.”
MARKETING FOCUSED ON ACCOMMODATION AND VISUALS
“The University offered a variety of different accommodation. Some were situated on campus and others were one bus ride away. Most of the accommodation had their own Facebook groups which made it easy for students to research which accommodation was best for them according to their preferences. This allowed me to make an informed decision. I chose to stay in Whitworth Park, which was a 5-minute walk to the University. Not only was the distance appealing but the accommodation offered a gym onsite, a launderette and a bar.”
Manchester University extensively advertised ‘We’re among the best universities in the world for the employability of our students – ranked 24th in the Times Higher Education Global University Employability Ranking’. they also advertised “94% of Manchester’s graduates go straight into employment of further study”. As a career-focused individual this played a significant role in determining my decision to attend Manchester.