Posted on 24 May '23

10 Key Takeaways from our Postgraduate Marketing Conference

On Tuesday, 16 May we hosted our spring Postgraduate Marketing Conference where we welcomed marketing and student recruitment professionals working in the higher education sector.

The day was filled with valuable insights, engaging content, and ample networking opportunities. Here are my key takeaways from the event.

#1 Alumni discounts are a big incentive for prospective UG students.

They are more likely to stay with their current institution if offered a discount (some do not even consider other universities for this reason!). 20% off can be a real draw for current undergraduates.

#2 When it comes to recruiting future postgraduates, timing is everything

Our student and staff panels revealed that their 2nd year of a Bachelors is the best time to start engaging with undergraduate students. 1st year students are just settling in, while 3rd years have too much on their plate!

#3 Prospective PGT students need to know what timetables look like

Will they be able to fit studying around a part-time job? How many days a week are they expected to be on campus? Knowing how much contact time they’ll have (and when) is crucial for their decision-making process.

#4 Communicate the career benefits available to students after postgraduate study

Knowing where their programme could lead is a key consideration for prospective postgraduates. Individual student stories can be a great way to communicate what’s possible.

#5 Universities are not communicating with their undergraduate students enough about postgraduate opportunities

Don’t waste time on printed materials – emails are much more welcome in their researching stage. Students are also moving away from paper prospectuses. The University of Nottingham is having real success with their micro prospectus, with many more universities adopting a digital-only approach.

#6 PGR students are less interested in attending an open day

Prospective PhD students reported that information at open days generally wasn’t specific enough (especially for niche subjects!). They are eager to jump straight to looking for a supervisor. This can be very difficult, so including an easy-to-navigate supervisor directory to your website would be greatly received.

#7 To succeed with social media, give your team of content creators free reign

Many universities are utilising student content creators. To get the most out of this strategy, give your team the creative freedom to try something different or jump on a new trend. Have fun – as it shows!

#8 You don’t need to feature on every social media platform

You’ll never appeal to everyone, so focus on the channels that work for you. Remember that in a vast social media ecosystem, the occasional negative comment is inevitable.

#9 International students don’t know enough about the Graduate Route

The Graduate Route is a post-study work visa that allows international students to stay in the UK for at least 2 years after their degree has been awarded – no strings attached! You don’t need a job offer to apply. A surprisingly large percentage of students aren’t aware of this opportunity, and it could be a big selling point for those planning a career in the UK.

#10 Arts University Bournemouth’s Vice-Chancellor might actually be Banksy

The evidence speaks for itself.

If you missed out on our spring Marketing Conference we will be back in London on September 14. We'll be releasing more details soon, so watch this space!

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