Come take a look at how the results day traditions have been formed, changed and highlighted throughout history. We look at how Universities are also modifying their approach to recruitment so that they are tailored to suit the techno-babies who have never lived without the internet. Finally we offer tips on how your institution can follow suit from the case study of the University of Oxford’s social media strategy.
With every passing year more and more importance is being paid to the UK results day phenomenon. From being a totally un-special day where you received your results through the post, to the now media-frenzy that is inundated with jumping shots of teens with results and front page headlines about the change in national average for A-levels, things have changed vastly.
New traditions in the making
As it is noted in the BBC article nuancing the changes to the results day traditions, technological advancements really have transformed the way we experience results day, be it for GCSE, A-levels or for University results. From the Universities’ perspective, one has to plan out their social media marketing strategy to not only appeal to the parents of these ‘screenagers’, but also appeal to the prospective applicants themselves so that they attract the best and brightest to their universities.
It is a dog eat dog world out there
Universities do not simply rely on their ‘track records’ such as the Times Higher Education rankings, or their results-day and NUS rankings, but they have to have a twitter, Facebook and Instagram account for communicating with their target audience, and really step their game up.
See University of Oxford, for instance (of which I talk about here, as an alumna). They not only have the reputation of being the oldest English-Speaking University in the world, but they also have active social media activities and staff. Using #resultsday hastag, Oxford joined in on the celebrations by highlighting those who met their conditional offers during this year’s results day. They also opened a linking ‘feel good blog’ with #GoingToOxford. All these show active effort to reach out to their future candidates, despite their applications having increased by 46% in the last ten years (Oxford received 17,000 applications last year for 3,200 undergraduate places on offer). Although ultimately, with over 1.5 million students doing their first undergraduate degree at their Universities across the country, this is just a drop in the ocean.
How can you make your uni stand out?
What can you, the University’s staff representative, do in order to stand above these competing Universities to attract your ideal candidate? We have excellent examples from the Oxbridge universities, about whom I have talked about above. Social Media not only plays an important role in the screenage demographic, but conscientious parents are also tuned in to see who outcompetes the other, and ultimately where would be the best for their child.
If you don’t do it, somebody else will
As you would have heard countless times, at the beginning people will always be cautious about treading into the largely unknown world of social media and sharing platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Snapchat (among countless others). However, the space soon gets taken up as the voice for (or against) your organization. Going with the Oxford theme, if you search for oxford university on Youtube, the first result is the University of Oxford’s official account. However, the second hit is from xoxolashlady about her experience at the University. What does your university (or school) search bring up? Do you want xoxolashlady being the (un)official voice about your institution?
Package your goods well and showcase it upon demand
One other thing you can do is to package your prospectus (aka ‘the bait’) in a way that is accessible for A-level students. It is impossible (not to mention not cost ineffective) to find all the top A-level students and send them copies of your prospectus. Instead, what you can do is to have OFEC’s MyOwnProspectus™ feature on your website, so that even a casually interested student who might or might not be looking for a ‘safe choice’ uni can instantly see a tailored version of the University’s prospectus online, without having to ‘sign up’ to receive a hard copy via mail ten days after ordering, by which point they would have chosen all their unis and submitted their UCAS form as well.
Gone are the days of good old paperback prospectuses being dropped through letterbox two weeks after various open days. For a screenager, a university that doesn’t speak their language, using their medium (ie social media, e-chat, skype etc) and upon their demand is not the right fit for them. While you may think that that is not who they want anyway- can you honestly say that you can afford to turn your potential ideal candidate?
call us to find out what OFEC does in the education field on 01865 556070