Big upswing in application numbers

Tue, 03 Jan 2012 15:30:00 GMT

AT a period widely expected to provide the most testing environment for undergraduate recruitment in a generation, applications to study at the University of Huddersfield are showing a significant increase which bucks the national trend.

Among the many factors that explain the rise is that that Huddersfield was determined to levy what it terms a “fair fee” – and that it has harnessed the power of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube!

At this point in the 2012 recruitment cycle, Huddersfield has seen a rise of five per cent in applications compared to the same period last year.  By comparison, the sector as a whole is currently down by two per cent and a cluster of the University of Huddersfield’s closest competitors have seen applications slump by an average of 8.5%.

Peter Slee

But university bosses generally argue that the best comparison is not with 2011, when there was a massive bulge in applications from students who wanted to begin university before the controversial new system of fees and loans begins in late 2012.  They claim that 2010 was a more typical year – and here again the University of Huddersfield makes an impressive showing.

It is currently registering a huge increase of 26% compared with the same period two years ago.  The university sector as a whole and Huddersfield’s competitors are both showing rises of just four per cent.

Although it too soon to know for sure what final student numbers will be, Huddersfield is also very encouraged  by the fact that six per cent more applicants are holding the University as “conditional firm” than last year – and 24% more than two  years ago.

Welcoming evidence that Huddersfield is defying the expectations that all English universities would have a torrid time during the recruitment phase, its Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Slee, said that the success was down to teamwork by academic and support staff.

“We have a portfolio of programmes which meet the needs of students, employers and the economy.  We can demonstrate really strong credentials to students,” said Professor Slee.

“We are among the top 10 for teaching excellence in England, according to the ‘Sunday Times’.  We are in the top 10 among mainstream universities in England for student satisfaction, according to the National Student Survey, and among the top 10 in England for getting students into jobs.”

Also, big strides had been made in marketing, said Professor Slee.

“We have increased visits to schools and colleges by 20%.  Our prospectus has won national and international prizes.  We have revamped our website and we are one of the universities in the UK which is most advanced in its use of social media, such as Twitter.”

Meanwhile, major efforts had been made to speed up the processing of applications so that offers could be made more quickly than in the past.

“And of course, on top of all this we are levying a  fair fee of £7,950 which is lower than any other university in the top half of the ‘Times’ league table,” added  Professor  Slee.

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