A date with your destiny – the pivotal role of a prospectusAmanda McDonald
Having worked in the education sector for fifteen years, we, at Yes Agency, have delivered many prospectuses for our clients.
The prospectus is arguably the most pivotal of all university or college communications. It conveys a clear statement of intent, embodies the ethos of the institution and strives to inspire and engage potential applicants.
So, what role does the prospectus play in the recruitment process?
At Yes Agency, we see a great prospectus as the all-important first date. It’s the opportunity to see whether you and your university are going to hit it off, and will, in many cases, initiate a relationship that will last a lifetime.
The first step is an information gathering process. The applicant views the potential suitors’ websites and assimilates the top-line information (the equivalent of a Tinder swipe). The winners are those institutions that trigger a small connection and make them worthy of a place on the long-list.
The applicant then whittles down the list to focus on a potential educational home and reviews its suitability for further investigation. This means delving a little deeper and starting a tentative relationship with the university.
All relationships start by establishing common ground. It’s a big decision to potentially up sticks and move to a new city, so a great prospectus should cogently convey the city’s attributes. As this is a fledgling relationship, it’s about presenting an informed and attractive view of the culture, the music scene, the arts backdrop and the people. It’s about igniting a spark and connecting at an emotional level. It’s also about making the University’s achievements relevant to the prospective student. For example, ‘we have ten Nobel Prize winners’ could be transformed into: ‘we have ten Nobel Prize winners, who will help create in-roads for new students in their specialist fields’.
The next stage is about assessing the chemistry between the applicant and the university. Can the prospective student see themselves at the university? Are they swayed by the insight and empathy in the prospectus? Does the university engage with their heart and their mind? Can they see their future with the university at its heart?
Once the prospectus has created a positive connection, it’s then about building the relationship, and good relationships take time to grow. Make sure the prospectus provides a clear student journey from start to finish, giving the reader confidence to arrange to visit the university. Open days and interviews are crucial in developing a mutual understanding and investment in the relationship between the two parties. Ongoing communication is also key to keep the spark alive.
In all, the prospectus plays a central part in presenting the university in its best light, and kick-starts the relationship between the university and the potential applicant. It is the gateway to the creation of a lasting bond, but that bond needs to be constantly nurtured through traditional and social marketing methods.
If you would like to discuss the ideas outlined above or would like more detail on how we can support your student recruitment campaign, please get in touch at email@example.com