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Open days more influential than results research reveals

Open days and academic results have the greatest influence over choice of college or university among 16-21 year old students, according to research from WPM, the payment expert for FE and HE institutions.

The results, which are based on responses from 3,278 students and parents, reveal 31 percent of respondents consider open days to be very influential when selecting a university of college. This is closely followed by an institution’s academic results, which are rated as very influential by 29 percent of students and parents. Other factors that impact decision making are student recommendations (ten percent), parental advice (eight percent) and the advice of friends (seven percent).

Holger Bollmann, Director of WPM, comments: “Many might think that academic results alone are the biggest factor in influencing a student’s choice of institution, but this is just part of the thought process – colleges and universities need to focus on the whole student experience during recruitment.”

FE and HE students and parents were also asked about their attitudes to payments at colleges and universities. Parents of students at both types of institution reported that a consistent payment experience is either very important or important (FE: 71 percent; HE: 72 percent). In the event of a poor payment experience, 26 percent of HE parents and 22 percent of FE parents state they would be much less likely to recommend that institution to family or friends. Likewise, 25 percent of FE students and 19 percent of HE students would also be far less likely to recommend an institution after a poor payment experience. 

Bollmann concludes: “Seemingly separate outreach methods like exhibitions, interactions with finance and administration, and the advice of careers advisors combine to have a big influence on students’ final decisions about where they study.”

WPM has 15 years’ experience delivering integrated payment platforms to HE and FE institutions. With its Payment Platform, all an institution’s incoming online and electronic payments can be directed through one integrated system.

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