Future student online experiences

Future student online experiences

Sharing the work of the Prospective Student Web Content Team

Uncovering problem students face when checking our entry requirements

Our research found clear entry requirements information is crucial to prospective students. But the way the University currently presents this information can be confusing and increases enquiries.

On Wednesday 10 March I presented the research we’ve done to learn about our undergraduate prospective students’ needs and experiences with entry requirements. We had nearly 90 colleagues book a place to join me on a Teams video call which is a fantastic level of interest in our work.

In this blog post I’ve pulled together the slides, recording of the event and a summary of what I said.

The aim of the research

We wanted to:

  • understand prospective students’ needs and experiences with entry requirements
  • gather insights that can identify the problems and needs to be addressed and help drive service improvements

We focused our attention on undergraduate experiences, because of the way the University processes admissions, and the volume of applications, meaning improvements here will bring the greatest impact.

What we did

We started with exploratory research to learn:

  • who our users are
  • the contexts they use our website in
  • what they need from it

We used a range of data sources and research activities to do this, including:

  • stakeholder mapping
  • enquiry analysis
  • Google Analytics
  • an audit of our website content
  • desk research
  • admissions data
  • interviews and workshops with stakeholders

What we found

After completing our activities to understand entry requirements, we learnt:

  • checking entry requirements is a top task for prospective students – it is one of the highest priorities when using our website
  • they need this information to gauge whether they should consider applying to study with us
  • but there are signs our current website information is not answering the queries they have about entry requirements for example,
    • entry requirements made up 41% of undergraduate enquiries we looked at over a 12-month period
    • during the busiest period of August to November the proportion increased to over 50%

Our analysis breaks down the top task of ‘Entry requirements’ into a several sub-areas:

  • the comprehensibility of entry requirement ranges and the ability of students to make optimal choices when submitting their undergraduate application to UCAS
  • the experience of students eligible for consideration through widening participation routes
  • the experience of students following ‘non-typical’ paths into higher education
  • the experience of students establishing the equivalency of their international qualifications
  • the comprehensibility of University English language requirements
    • including the experience of offer holders who narrowly miss their target grade and could be supported by the Centre for Open Learning

Presentation and slides

You can watch a recording of our research findings presentation. This expands on the key findings and our plans for future activity. The presentation is 35 minutes long. If you require a different format of this presentation, get in touch with me. I’ll also be happy to talk through the project and its findings.

Download the entry requirements presentation slides (University login needed)

How you can help

Feedback on our entry requirements research

We can only create services that solve problems for prospective students if we have a collective understanding of what the problems are.

If you’re involved in undergraduate student recruitment, and have watched the presentation please contribute feedback via our short survey.

Take our five minute survey for undergraduate student recruitment staff (University login needed)

If you have colleagues responsible for undergraduate student recruitment, please share and ask them to contribute too.

Recruiting student participants for research

We are also looking for prospective students and applicants to take part in our research activities.

We have created a form to allow them to register their interest. I would appreciate if you can share this with people that you are in contact with.

Research participation sign-up form

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