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How to make the most out of UCAS Extra


How your institution can secure students' extra university choice this March

March offers an extra marketing opportunity for your university recruitment team.

Not just a second chance for prospective students, UCAS Extra is an opportunity for universities to raise student awareness, get them interested and signed up to the courses you have on offer. Marking the transition to the final phases of the year’s recruitment campaign, a successful UCAS Extra period will set you well on the way to reaching your student recruitment targets.

Here are's top tips to ensure success from your UCAS Extra marketing:


Spread the word

First and foremost, you need to make students aware of the courses that still have spaces on.

For new courses, students that made their choices early on in the process may not have even been aware of your programme when they applied. As such, your prime target for the UCAS Extra period should be careers advisors. As one of the key influencers for potential students, you need to ensure that their information is up to date and including your course.


Show your best side

For universities lower down in the league table, you will often be competing with similar universities for the same pool of students. In order to secure that vital extra choice from students, you will need to ensure that you are effectively conveying your Unique Selling Point (USP). Whether you can offer students the greatest price competitiveness, the most attractive location or the strongest industry links, make sure that prospects know exactly what makes your university stand out.


Send the right message

It is equally important that you have an appreciation for the differing status of students. The UCAS Extra experience of a student “trading up” to a better university will be wildly different to that of a student going into the process without any offers – and you need to accommodate both groups. In this period your focus should remain on the common thread between them – the fact they are still looking.

An email campaign is the perfect tool to target a wide pool of relevant students and establish a direct relationship with potential prospects. Placing all of your available courses in one place will help streamline the process for the prospective student and open up a communication channel for your admissions team to guide them through the process.


Focus on the wider picture

Importantly, UCAS Extra should not be viewed in isolation, and universities should look to tie their approach to the period in with their wider education marketing strategy.

The success of the UCAS Extra period is not defined by the number of students you have signed up to your courses. With only one extra choice available, there are a number of students that will consider your university, but ultimately apply to another institution. That’s not to say that this amounts to a wasted effort. The awareness generated and the relationships established during this period provide the perfect preparation for a successful clearing process.