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What students really want to hear from their university

With much of More Fire PR’s work taking place within the higher education sector, we thought we’d share the most important things students need to hear from their university [as detailed by out sterling Nottingham Trent University Intern – Dominic Preece].

Tuition fees and competition for spaces on degree courses are now higher than ever, which means all universities are having to put extra work into enticing prospective students to choose their institution.

Now more than ever, students are viewed as consumers, with universities having to ‘sell’ degree packages. A big part of this is demonstrating to students (and their parents, who more often than not have to provide financial support) that they are getting value for money.

So, putting marketing hype and sometimes dubious league tables aside, what do students REALLY want to hear from their university? Here are More Fire PR’s top four reasons a student should care

1. Educational value – how much will I learn?

The main reason someone goes to University is to learn and broaden their knowledge in a subject area. Students need to know that their money is going to get them the education they’ve been promised and are paying for. Is a degree going to be appropriately in-depth and applicable to the workplace? Are academic staff established experts in their fields, with the knowledge and ability to deliver high quality education, advice and access to their contacts.

2. Employment prospects – will there be a job after the degree?

Getting a good job post-degree is one of the biggest reasons that many go to university. Students need to know if the university has good links with industry, if there are options to undertake work placements, and if there is support in finding employment. A key factor in this area are graduate employment statistics - what percentage of a university’s students go on to GRADUATE-LEVEL employment after completing their studies?

3. Facilities – are they first-class?

Another key selling point are the facilities available to students. From classrooms and lecture theatres, through to sports facilities, libraries and accommodation, students are looking for an impressive and modernised campus – after all, this is where they’ll be spending most of their time. If any specialist educational facilities are important to their studies, such as laboratories or IT suites, are these available too?

4. Extra-curricular – what’s on offer away from the lecture theatre?

Students don’t just go to university for the education and job prospects, they also go to move away from home and have a good time! Extra-curricular activities have huge pulling power for prospective students. What does the university have available in terms of a Students’ Union or sports? Also, what does the local area have on offer? Is the city, town or county genuinely famed for its shops, eating out, nightlife, transport links and historic sights, or is it so much ‘prospectus puffery?’ After all, most students will be moving away from home to live in a new place for the first time, they want to know what to expect.

Follow More Fire PR Intern Dominic Preece on Twitter at @Dom_Preece