The Undergraduate Student Recruitment Marketing Team produces the hardcopy Undergraduate Prospectus annually with input from schools, departments and institutes across the University.
The process of rewriting, editing, updating, refreshing, proofing and printing the prospectus takes six months, from September until February.
As prospective undergraduate students and their parents and careers advisers start to research universities a year and a half before they start their course, we are always working one-and-a-half years ahead – so in February 2012, the 2013 prospectus was published for students starting university in September 2013.
Working with schools and University contacts
Throughout the year we collect feedback, ideas and comments on the prospectus. In September we review these and work out where we need to add pages, rewrite content and change page layouts.
We then put together a schedule for prospectus production which we send out to all contacts. There are usually three stages in the schedule involving schools and contacts.
The schedule takes us to January when we aim to sign off the prospectus for print. Printing usually takes three to four weeks, meaning the prospectus is published at the end of February so that it is available for the start of the higher education fairs in March.
Working with schools and University contacts
Every school, department and institute that is represented in the prospectus will have a dedicated person who is our contact throughout the production process. We will contact this person in September/October with the prospectus schedule and a copy of their section for amends and updates.
We will then contact them throughout the process to check any queries and for final approval of their section.
We ask that contacts check the prospectus very carefully and involve any relevant members of staff in the updates. Once the prospectus has gone to print, it cannot be changed until the following year.
Each year we work with an external design agency who make all the changes to the prospectus design, produce new photography, suggest and advise on design elements and set all the text.
The 2013 Undergraduate Prospectus includes:
- An image-led cover
- Imagery that shows ‘real’ students in situ on our campus – captioned to increase impact
- Joint fact files so students can easily compare entry requirements across courses
- Less text with more punchy copy and clear web links
- More information on English language requirements
- Video footage for each student profile, showing students talking about their experiences and working within their school environment – all videos are now live on our new video gallery pages – visit: www.nottingham.ac.uk/ugvideos
- QR (Quick Response) codes so the videos can be instantly accessed via smart phones
- A page highlighting Connect and ways to get in touch with Nottingham via our social media channels
Once we have approved all the artwork, including text and graphics, the designers send it to the printers who provide us with high-quality proofs. The printers' proofs allow us to check that colours are accurate and vibrant, images are high quality and page layouts are correct. After we have passed the proofs, the printing takes around three to four weeks. We usually print around 120,000 copies of the full prospectus and 15,000 copies of the Overview Prospectus, which is used for shipping overseas.
We work to a comprehensive schedule that covers everything from photoshoots to proofreading. Within that schedule, we build in stages where schools and departments will receive pages to check and return. Below is a typical example of this part of the schedule. The detailed schedule for the 2014 prospectus will be available from August this year.
Mid September – receive hardcopy prospectus pages.
Mid October – return pages to Marketing with any changes marked clearly. Any significant text amends should be attached on a Word document and emailed through to email@example.com. Please keep a copy of your own amends so you can check them against the next proof.
Mid November – receive revised proof.
Late November – return revised proof, with any further amends, to Marketing.
Mid December – receive final PDF, for information only, and approval form.
Early January – return approval form to Marketing.
All nominated contacts who are responsible for a section in the prospectus will be sent a similar schedule at the beginning of the process so they know when to expect proofs and when they will have to send them back.