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In 2020, 728,780 people applied through UCAS to study an undergraduate degree. But with so many thousands of courses on offer to students all over the country, it can be very difficult for them to know which university to choose in their UCAS applications.

In a recent survey, students were asked whether they could easily find the information they were looking for to inform their decision making. And a shocking 42% said that they couldn’t find the information they needed.

Providing students with the information they need to make a decision on which university to choose is vital. But what exactly is it that they’re looking for in their preferred place of study? We’ve compiled a list of the things that students tend to look for first…


The course

Unsurprisingly, the course itself is what ranks top for prospective students. Afterall, a degree is ultimately the end goal of attending university in the first place. The majority of students will have an idea of the subject they want to study before reaching the application stage, so they’ll be looking to find out things like how the course is taught (i.e. lectures, tutorials, practicals, independent study), how they’ll be assessed, how many topic areas are covered and what facilities are available.  


The university’s reputation

Reputation factors in significantly when it comes to choosing a university, and this is all about trust. If prospective students believe that many others rate the quality and standard of a university, it will carry a lot of weight. And this isn’t just about league tables - although they do hold some influence. Students will be on the hunt for case studies and testimonials where they can hear the real-life experiences of alumni first-hand.


Employment prospects

The prospect of getting a good job is a major driving factor in why so many people choose to go to university. Career prospects for each university course should be made very clear so that students know what they can expect. They’ll also be wanting to know what work experience opportunities are on offer, as well as the jobs and career paths previous alumni have pursued after graduating. It’s highly likely they’ll also be looking out for the graduate employment rates for your institution.


The location

Although it’s not usually the primary consideration, the university’s location will always carry some weight. Students will be looking to get a feel for what life offers in your neck of the woods, including things like local culture and the nightlife. They’ll also be looking for information around things like how accessible the campus is to local transport links, as well as the general cost of living in that area.


The facilities

Campus is a fairly central and ‘happening’ place for students, so they’ll want to know just what they can get out of it should they choose to attend your university. They’ll want to know things like whether they’ll have access to a gym, and if there is more than one library. Does your campus have many study facilities like labs and studios? And do you have on-campus bars, cafes and restaurants? This is the sort of information that needs to be made readily available to students during their selection process.


With so many prospective students not able to find the information they need to choose a university that’s the right fit for them, it’s crucial that you make sure that you’re providing students with everything they need to know about your university to help guide that decision process fairly. And don’t just leave it down to open days to do the work. Make the information relevant and easily accessible on your website all year round, providing immersive experiences like virtual 360 tours, online open days and a library of video content.

If you’re looking to elevate your university’s communications plan and would like support, get in touch with a member of our team today.

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