My week - 23 September 2013 - Director of Marketing, Martin Holmes
Martin Holmes discusses the University's recruitment activity.
Our open day on 14 September was a great success. There is no doubt in my mind that the strengths of the University are demonstrated most effectively when prospective applicants get to experience something of our campus, our community and the excellence of the academic and co-curricular experience we offer. I am convinced that, as applicants are bombarded with more and more data regarding institutional performance and quality, the importance of human interaction and being able to experience at first hand something of the Leeds experience will be ever more important.
Whilst the final position in terms of undergraduate recruitment for 2013/14 entry will not be confirmed for a couple of months, it is really pleasing to see that we appear to have exceeded our recruitment plan with an improved intake quality. We certainly appear to have been much more effective in converting high quality applicants during the recruitment process. The process of managing confirmation and clearing also went smoothly. This year the numbers recruited through clearing were slightly up on last year, but the biggest difference was the increase in applicant quality.
One of the reasons that I think we have been successful this year is because we have kept the applicant at the centre of our thinking. We set out with a clear goal to prioritise intake quality over volume and challenged ourselves to improve our ability to convert the highest quality applicants into firm acceptances. In so doing we had to compete head-to-head with peer institutions that last year ranked ahead of us in national league tables.
At the heart of our strategy was the aim of helping applicants to make the very best decision possible for them - and to support them in this process. We can be confident that if an applicant has the opportunity to experience the combination of quality of academic experience, the depth of co-curricular opportunity, and the institutions warmth and vibrancy they will choose Leeds.
In addition to the actual recruitment process, significant work has been undertaken over the last few years to develop our overall offer to students. The Partnership with LUU, Leedsfor Life, the evolution of research-based learning and the Discovery Themes resulting from the Curriculum Enhancement Project are all major building blocks upon which we are able to demonstrate the distinctiveness and quality of the Leeds experience.
The 2014/15 recruitment cycleis already underway. Whilst we must stay focused on our recruitment activity, ultimately the strength and quality of the programmes we are developing will be the best way to ensure that demand from high quality applicants is sustained. We need to think about developing new programmes that are aligned to market needs, not necessarily existing academic structures.
The Universitys breadth is a key asset and one of its defining features. If we are to translate this into a competitive advantage we need to be able to ensure that our product offering is able to respond to changing market needs.
Finally, and most importantly, we should recognise and continue to build upon the fantastic cross-campus collaborative efforts of academic and service colleagues all working together to support our student recruitment activity.