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University selection: Rational and emotional aspects of the decisionmaking process
University selection is complex, and for undergraduate students, they possess no prior lived experience to provide the foundation for their decision making. It would be easy to assume, therefore, that a rational and systematic decision-making process takes place. Yet despite repeated attempts by the UK Government to provide various factual and comparable UK university performance metrics, the usage of comparable data remains low. Students are influenced by where they feel they will fit in, where they will be safe and supported and for the overall student experience they perceive to be on offer. In the international domain, decision-making models and market research demonstrate both factual and emotional factors involved in overseas university selection. The emotional aspect of the decision, coupled with an overwhelming choice, necessitate universities to have a strong brand. The paper provides a case study of how these concepts were addressed at Leeds Beckett University, a modern university in England with over 25,000 students. At Leeds Beckett, implementing a personalisation marketing strategy has grown student engagement and enrolments, and led to a major turnaround in international student recruitment.
The full article is available to institutions that have subscribed to the journal.
Charlotte Renwick MCIM, MBA is Associate Director (Student Marketing and UK Recruitment) at Leeds Beckett University. Charlotte has worked in communications and marketing for over 20 years, spending the first eight years working in marketing agencies handling clients such as the BBC, NHS trusts and FMCG brands. In 2009 she joined the University of Bradford to lead communications, alumni and development, before becoming Head of Marketing and Communications. Charlotte joined Leeds Beckett in 2014 where she leads digital experience and engagement, UK and global student marketing, market research, UK student recruitment and access and widening participation. Over the last seven years the team have won 18 awards, including a coveted Times Higher THELMA award for developing the UK’s first offer-making chatbot. Charlotte graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA (Hons) Public Relations in 2002 and in 2020 completed her MBA at Leeds Beckett.