University applicants prioritise course content and University reputation
Potential students view course content, University reputation and the facilities available as the most important factors when choosing which universities to apply to, according to a survey by Lincoln University.
516 students were asked to select the three most important factors in their decision making process. 46% of the students questioned selected course content and structure, whilst 37% said overall University reputation, and 35% deemed facilities a key factor.
The survey’s results are favourable for Durham, which was recently named a ‘top three’ UK University by The Sunday Times. With the new Law School and library extension due to open in 2012, the University looks to be well placed to appeal to prospective students. Students seeking flexible course structures are equally well catered for by the Natural Sciences and Combined Honours degree programmes.
The infamous reputation of Durham’s nightlife appears unlikely to discourage applicants, as only 8% of the survey’s respondents said that nightlife was a key consideration. 10% of respondents cited finance as an important factor, whilst only 2% admitted that the attractiveness of other students would significantly influence their decision.
However, the survey also highlighted the importance of a University’s location to prospective students. 30% of respondents said that the location of a University was one of their top three priorities. Although the North East has the highest proportion of 16 year olds who achieve 5 A*-C grades at GCSE in state maintained schools, every other English region has a higher proportion of working age people with degree-level qualifications.
The University has historically failed to attract many local students: figures from SPA reveal that only 9.5% of Durham applicants in the 2009/10 admission cycle lived in the North East. However, this figure was 49.5% for applicants to the Primary Education degree at Queen’s Campus, and 22.2% for the Medicine Phase I course, which is also taught at Queen’s.
The University aims to increase the number of local students studying at Durham by expanding its Supported Progression scheme. The scheme gives local students academic support and the opportunity to complete an assessed Summer School project, which gains them up to 80 UCAS points towards Durham’s entry requirements.
Sixth formers who successfully complete the project receive a guaranteed offer for their chosen course at Durham and a £5,500 bursary for each year of their studies at Durham.