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The applicant experience encompasses all the opportunities or points of interaction between higher education (HE) and a potential student. Such experience affects whether or not an individual becomes a higher education student, and indeed whether or not an individual chooses to apply to HE in the first place. Managing these interactions requires integrated practice across the whole applicant experience, leading to a more predictable transition into HE. As a precursor to the student experience, a successful applicant experience will ultimately improve retention and overall student experience.
The SPA guide to the applicant experience incorporates all published information and additional resources from our two year research project into the applicant experience. The guide can be downloaded in full or you can pick individual elements to look at in more detail. HE providers are welcome to use these materials within their own strategic planning, admissions reviews and training.
The applicant experience is divided into four stages:
- Pre-application covers individual consideration of higher education study and all activities prior to any commitment to commence an application for the given admissions entry cycle.
- Application refers to all activities from the point a learner has committed to start an application for the given admissions entry cycle up to the point that application is considered by the institution(s) applied to.
- Post-application looks at all activities concerning a HE provider’s consideration of a submitted application, from the point of initial institutional assessment through to when the applicant has been confirmed or guaranteed a place.
- Transition examines all post-confirmation activities, from the point of confirmation of an applicant's place to the commencement of study and continuation through the student experience.
We are always interested in receiving feedback from HE providers who have used our resources. Should you have any queries or wish to discuss any aspect of this work please contact us.
To celebrate and enhance this on-going piece of work, we are compiling case studies, testimonials and examples from HE providers who have used the applicant experience to develop and improve policies, procedures and processes in and related to admissions.
We are keen to hear directly from admissions practitioners and anyone involved in any part of the applicant experience on the following areas:
- How has the applicant experience been used in your institution to improve admissions policies and procedures?
- Do you think that the applicant experience work has helped to improve retention and the overall student experience at your HE provider?
- Can you think of one example of good practice, either specific to one stage of the applicant experience or an overarching example, that you would like to share?
- Any other comments that you would like to make in support of the applicant experience.