A shift in application trends, provides real opportunity for proactive universities and colleges

Posted: 13 Dec 2018 - 08:50
UCAS Media End of Cycle report
This year, over half a million people from across the UK and the rest of the world were accepted into higher education through UCAS.

We’ve all seen how the practice of offer-making has changed over the years, and UCAS has been at the heart of informing the sector on that trend. But the typical student has also changed – that insight is key to helping inform our clients’ strategies going forwards.


Demand for higher education is clearly still high – even with a decline in the number of 18 year olds in the UK – and academic attainment is still a major factor in whether a student is accepted. But what has started to change is the shift from those holding A levels or BTECs, to applicants with a combination of both, or other qualifications. This year, an additional 2.6% of students had qualifications outside the standard A level, SQA, or BTEC. 


In addition, the attainment level at which a student was accepted onto a university course declined – for example, applicants with A level points equivalent to DDD had an acceptance rate of over 80% for the first time in five years. 
That’s a real shift. For many universities for which that audience was their focus, competition has just become even tougher. 


At UCAS Media, we’ve seen how understanding the academic make-up of applicants, and that of the competition, can increase the chances of a successful recruitment campaign for our clients. Universities that have taken this fresh look have had their eyes opened to not only their current applicant make-up, but also where there are currently audiences who fit their requirements, but are not being reached. It’s their chance to think differently about their marketing and offer-making strategies, at a point when it can make a real impact.


Find out more about UCAS’ insight into the 2018 cycle in the End of Cycle Report.


Explore our consultancy service in more detail, or find out more about our marketing services.

Sander Kristel is executive director of UCAS Media.

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