What attracts undergraduates to postgraduate study?

Posted: 20 Jul 2018 - 13:55
UCAS Media postgraduate
Heart vs head - Never has there been a truer phrase than when it comes to defining the key drivers behind a student’s decision to move onto postgraduate study.

Balancing the need to move current undergraduate students onto postgraduate study, while also recruiting new, quality applicants from other unis, means your marketing is critical to success. Build them around the pain points which influence a student’s decision-making process and you’ll deliver more informed campaigns, with better ROI. 

Our research, with postgraduate students, is centred around these motivating factors.

A heartfelt response

Passion for a subject comes up top with students when deciding to study for postgrad. 92% of respondents told us their ‘love’ of the subject was an important factor in choosing their course, compared with 13% who focused on career prospects, 58% who chose industry connections, and 40% who chose work placements.  

When it came to actually driving applications, the personal touch is important, with advice and encouragement of tutors being the most effective trigger.

Retention vs recruitment

While there was an almost equal split of those who decided to change university vs those who decided to stay at their existing provider, the defining motivators were distinctly different. 

Still led by an emotive reaction, for the latter group, the most biggest factor was they felt ‘at home’ at their university, closely followed by reputation and reduced fees.

Compare this to those who decided to change university and the overriding pull was the course offered. More than 70% of students decided to make the switch based on the lack of suitable course at their current university, and only 7% changed because they were dissatisfied with where they studied for their undergraduate degree.

A clear opportunity 

Marketers looking to retain their undergraduates would be wise to focus on generating an emotional connection with their messaging and imagery, using their familiarity as decision drivers. But for those universities looking for external candidates, the calibre of their courses, and the experiential positives of postgraduate study, should be the key driver. 

We’re in the perfect position to support universities and colleges wanting to speak to, and support the verified student audience, with opportunities that will make their next step a confident one.

For more information on any aspect of our postgraduate research, or to find out how we can connect your organisation to this important audience with our postgraduate solution, please call 01242 544881, or email ucasmedia@ucas.ac.uk.

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