Posted on 11 Apr '23

5 Alternatives to the Traditional University Prospectus

The paper prospectus has been a long-standing pillar of student recruitment, both for undergraduates and postgraduates. These glossy (or matte, foiled, embossed…) catalogues providing students with a comprehensive overview of their study options have so far stood the test of time – but is change on the horizon?

You don’t have to look far to find the drawbacks of the paper prospectus, from the obvious environmental impact to the fact that one tiny printing error can lay waste to an otherwise perfect batch.

The University of Gloucestershire was one of the first institutions to commit to a full digitisation of their prospectuses back in 2020. In the year that followed, they reported a 317% increase in demand for prospectuses – clear evidence that the move can have a positive impact on your recruitment goals as well as your carbon footprint!

As more UK universities develop digital alternatives to the paper prospectus, we’ve taken a look at five stand-out examples.

#1 The world’s first micro-prospectus from the University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham’s micro-prospectus is a tiny product with a huge impact. These pocket-sized pamphlets can be clipped to your bag or slipped into your wallet, and include a QR code that students can scan to find out about courses, student life and more.

By scaling down their prospectus, the University of Nottingham has saved more than 72 tonnes of paper, 18,000kg of CO2 and 52,000 litres of water!

We’ll be hosting the University of Nottingham to chat more about their micro-prospectus initiative at our Marketing Conference this May – and you can secure your place now.

#2 Personalised prospectuses from the University of Stirling

A paper prospectus may be comprehensive, but the chances are that only a handful of pages in these chunky volumes will be relevant to any one student. That’s why many universities are starting to take a personalised approach.

We loved the University of Stirling’s easy-to-create tailored prospectus. Students fill in a simple form indicating their subjects of interest, and whether they’d like additional information about areas such as international applications and accommodation. They will then receive a link to download their automatically generated prospectus.

#3 Instagram prospectus from Arts University Bournemouth

Arts University Bournemouth are well-known for their well-executed social media campaigns, and their innovative Instagram prospectus is no exception. Students can explore their options through a series of colourful infographics, which cover everything from applications to accommodation.

#4… and from Plymouth Marjon University

Since AUB pioneered the Instagram prospectus, other UK universities have followed suite. Plymouth Marjon University has created an impressively comprehensive overview of everything from their undergraduate and postgraduate programmes to their accommodation and sports facilities, entirely on Instagram. The page also covers personal statement and interview tips, a campus diagram, funding information and more!

Plymouth Marjon’s Instagram prospectus is a testament to the amount of information that can be condensed into this innovative format. Is a 100+ page paper prospectus every really a necessity?

#5 Student-penned prospectuses from the University of Oxford

Many institutions are collaborating with students to produce ‘alternative prospectuses’ that give unique insights into life at university. These cover areas that may be overlooked by a traditional prospectus, from sporting events and local eateries to budgeting tips.

The alternative prospectus is particularly popular at the University of Oxford, with many colleges including Hertford College and St Peter’s College releasing one. Though they are becoming more common, student-penned versions tend to have a strong undergraduate focus, leaving prospectuses authored by current postgraduates a largely untapped resource. This is despite the fact that first-hand student experiences are just as valuable for postgraduate recruitment!

FindAUniversity take pride in being experts in postgraduate education. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter for regular insight, comment and case studies.

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