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The student journey – What students want

We spoke to two of the youngest members of the Education Cubed team – Joshua Roughton and Caroline Canty – to discover some crucial insights about the student journey. Being recent graduates, they know a thing or two when it comes to deciding on a university. Undergraduates think long and hard about entering higher education, particularly as they now have to consider mounting student debt and future job prospects in a competitive jobs market.

So how do they make their final decision? We asked Joshua and Caroline what influenced them to choose a certain university, if social media played a part and how universities can appeal to potential students just like them. Read on to find out more.

Whether they are aware of it or not, all students go on a journey before deciding on a university course. Consciously or unconsciously, they are part of a large demographic of school leavers who will navigate the decision-making process in a very similar way to them.

It is vital that universities maximise valuable information, insights and knowledge of the student journey in order to predict what students want and attract people to study at their institution. They need to ensure that they are reaching the right people in the right space with the right content. If they can tap into the many resources at their fingertips, marketing and admissions teams will be able to map out the journey and predict what potential students want, when they want it and what will catch their eye when it comes to publicising their institution.

What factors do students consider when choosing a university?

  • University rankings
  • Course details:
    Placements
    Ranking
    Length
  • Location of the university
  • Student life:
    Funding opportunities
    Nightlife/culture
  • Entry requirements
  • Future employment prospects
  • Student services
  • Living costs

Who affects their decision?

  • Parents & family
  • Teachers & school influencers
  • Advertising
  • Open days
  • Peers

How can universities appeal to potential students?

  • Social media:
    Talking about student life just as much as the academic side of university
  • Events:
    Think outside the box e.g. Reading Festival is a good place to mobilise potential undergraduates
  • Incentives
  • Make your brand stand out from the crowd. Have a clear identity as a university; don’t try to appeal to everyone
  • Know your target audience
  • Research – invest in valuable insights and research
  • Know who you are and what type of students you want

How digital plays a part?

  • Have a voice amongst the crowded marketplace using innovative, creative social media
  • Be present in the space where students spend most of their time – that’s the easiest place to reach them
  • Think about PPC and programmatic advertising to get yourself seen
  • Use social media insights to gain valuable data and metrics

What social media platforms do students use?

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat
  • Whatsapp
  • Instagram
  • Youtube
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