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Opinion piece: “University offers could be based on real exam results”

by Louise Rengozzi, Marketing Director

After a year of twists and turns in higher education, it looks like this will continue for a few years yet as the higher education fair admissions review takes place.

The latest insight issued by Universities UK that students may be offered places based upon their actual grades would be one of the most dramatic and important to higher education marketers.

Whilst there is still much discussion and review to take place, here’s our guide to how the post-qualification admissions (PQA) system could work, and what it means for your marketing plan.

How the post-qualification admissions system could work

Students would be issued university offers based on actual grades rather than predicted grades. This is likely to mean that the current January application and May offer timescales will be voided. Instead students receive offers in the summer as they receive their grades, with a much shorter offer  to enrolment process.

The Clearing and Adjustment period in particular would see dramatic changes. Students would be choosing their university based upon actual grades so all students would be making their final choice when traditionally Clearing would take place.

The PQA should mean more transparency and fairness in the application process, as students based upon their actual grades. However, it’s also likely to mean a faster turn-around for universities to offer places and less certainty on student numbers until later in the cycle.

What the post-qualification admissions system could mean for HE marketers

The PQA system is likely to make a huge difference to the plans of higher education marketers across the UK. Here’s just a few ways your marketing plans may change:

  • A new marketing calendar – the student cycle and dates associated to it will be changed dramatically
  • A smaller Clearing, or no Clearing at all – as grades will be built on actual results, Clearing is likely to be a much smaller piece of universities marketing budget
  • More need for brand building – with a shorter timespan for students to choose their university after getting a place, building a strong brand will be even more important
  • Student research becomes even more important – if the safety cushion of early offer holders is taken away, good student research and polling will be important for universities to understand their position in the market and plan accordingly

Whilst nothing is set in stone and the fair admissions review continues, Unicom will be with you every step of the way giving you practical advice and support on your marketing plans.

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