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This week we are thinking about the admissions process. For most FE colleges you’ll be at the end of last year’s admissions process right now and awaiting enrolment of new students. But of course the process will start all over again in September – a reliable annual occurrence you can set your watch by, like Easter eggs arriving on the shelves in January and Christmas decorations spoiling shops in October.

So then, what’s PR got to do with it? If you’re thinking of admissions as a simple process including advertising an open day, collecting applications, shifting paperwork, interviewing and offering places, then we’re not all singing from the same hymn sheet. We need to rewind back about a hundred paces and start at the very beginning.

How do you get students to apply, why should they apply and why should they choose your sixth-form or college over and above all the others out there?

What are you doing to actively attract prospective students, how do they know about and become familiar with your institution, what views will they form of it and why – do you even know what prospective students think of your college?

Sorry to bombard you with all these questions but put simply if you can’t answer these questions, then neither can prospective students and parents. It’s here that PR can help…

An active, regular and thought-out PR campaign spread across the year will pay dividends when it comes to the crucial time of admissions. By this we don’t mean overt advertising of your services and specialisms. We mean letting the community know about your sixth-form or college, what you’ve been doing, your recent achievements, student success stories and case studies, interesting snippets of news.

What you’re doing is building a picture of your college, demonstrating your brand and ethos, setting yourself apart from others.

The best way to demonstrate this is with a case study – and if you head over to our case studies page and choose PR for FE Colleges and Sixth-Forms you’ll see the example of Woodhouse Sixth-form College in London and a 12 month PR campaign that led to their biggest admissions process ever, with over 5,000 students applying for just 700 places.