Smartening your approach to outreach and student recruitment

With over 66 million students visiting our sites each year, the Hotcourses Group is the global leader in helping students find the right course and institution for them. We have the biggest and busiest student-facing websites in the world, including The Complete University Guide (CUG), WhatUni and Hotcourses Abroad. Most people in the higher education sector will know Hotcourses Group works with institutions to support their digital marketing and recruitment solutions, but given the vast real-time data we are sitting on we’ve now made this available to institutions through our new Insights division.

In partnership with our sector advisory group, which HELOA is represented on, we launched Insights to help inform institutions’ strategic planning and outreach. Our insights tool provides access to a unique data source (a larger sample than UCAS) which is real-time and is searchable by key indicators such as. subject, location, socio-economic background, competitor institution. We now have over 50 university partners signed up to use the insights service and we thought it would be useful to share some of the trends;

Widening Participation teams
An important consideration for institutions is to understand how to access and understand the research trends of students from different backgrounds. We can see from our data that students from Polar quintile 4-5 continue to research earlier, and you can also see from the graph below that there is difference in interest between Russell group vs Million Plus by quintile with a heavier concentration in quintiles 4-5 amongst Million Plus institutions.

By being able to drill into prospective students by WP quintiles and year of entry cohorts, institutions are able to effectively track the impact of their outreach programs and identify which students are researching and engaging with them the most.

Web teams
We can also see how prospective students are using different devices over time in order to research courses and institutions. Comparing searches undertaken in June 2016 with those in June 2017, we can see a notable shift to mobile as the medium with which students are undertaking their research. For a number of universities this has been important intelligence to prioritise their mobile development given the increasing importance it is playing in prospective student research.

 

International
With everything going on in global politics (Brexit, Trump, current fluctuations and so much more) we know that universities are keen to gain an early insight into the trends in international student research.
The most notable shift has been the upward interest in Canada across most markets. The increase and changes in Canada has been particularly sensational, where comparing 2015/16 to 2016/17, Canada has increased from the 6th most searched for destination in India to the 2nd most searched for. The UK continues to lose market share from India, which has been a feature since 2012 and the loss of the Post Study Work visa and in 2016/17 is now the 4th most searched for destination amongst Indian students.

The tool has the ability to drill in not only by country, but also within regions and cities to compare demand across and within countries. Interestingly for India, whilst the UK is dropping slightly at a national level, there are a number of regions and cities where the UK is performing well.

We are always very happy to hear from you if you would like to find out more about our tools and consultancy. If you interested in Insights data tool contact insights@hotcoursesgroup.com, for our CUG ranking consultancy with Bernard Kingston (b.kingston@thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk) or student opinion consultancy with Aaron Porter (aaron.porter@hotcoursesgroup.com)

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