• University Applicant Study: NEMCON.

      Hanson, Jill; University of Derby (University of Derby, 2017-10-01)
      The interest of the North East Midlands Collaborative Outreach Network (NEMCON) was to conduct a longitudinal study focusing on the applicant journey from year 12 to enrolment in HE. To do so would enable NEMCON partners to offer new and fresh insight into such themes as: the advice and guidance provided by schools and colleges prior to application; the effectiveness of communications with prospective students before and following offers; the appropriateness of activities and events aimed to inform prospective students of choices and options – in other words, it would aim to find out how young people choose to study where they study. The objectives of the longitudinal study were to gain a better understanding of: • The awareness of the options available to them post 18 and the importance of each • The factors which underpin decisions to attend HE or not • When decision making begins • The relative importance of key advisors; families, friends, schools/teachers, career practitioners • The relative importance of messages they pay attention to and the order in which they are consulted • The effect of institutional branding and reputation on applicant behaviour • How offers are converted into acceptances A longitudinal quantitative design with year 13 students was employed and found that students most often were applying to attend university. Primarily this was because they felt it would help them get a better job and because they were interested in the particular course they were applying for. University open days, websites and prospectuses were the most favoured sources of information although information seeking typically began with UCAS then faculty level information from different institutes. University reputation was important when deciding where to study but the students sampled had applied to both pre and post 1992 universities rather than Russell group or Oxbridge. Small sample sizes prevented the drawing of conclusions about differences in gender, ethnicity and SES. Future research might consider the implications of unconditional offers on decision making and future university attainment.