External Relations

Undergraduate recruitment cycle

When planning recruitment activities it is essential to ensure that the stages of the 'student journey' are understood. By understanding the students' changing needs at each stage of the recruitment cycle, Marketing can plan and implement the most appropriate and effective form of promotional activity and conversion strategies to have the highest impact on prospective students, their parents and other key influencers including teachers and careers advisers.


Key stages

The key stages of the recruitment cycle can be defined as:

  1. Stimulating demand/generating enquiries
  2. Conversion from enquiry to application
  3. Conversion from application to firm acceptance
  4. Conversion from firm acceptance to registration


Calendar of activities

At undergraduate level, prospective students usually start seeking information about applying to university around 18 months before they will actually start university. 

The dates below provide a rough guide as to what happens each month and associated marketing activity (the marketing activities listed do not include those carried out by the International Office):


March – June

The UK higher education fairs start in early March, which is when students begin the process of researching courses and universities. Students request prospectuses, enquire about courses and view university websites.

Marketing activity:

  • The hardcopy prospectus is made available online and at undergraduate events
  • The online prospectus is updated and expected to start receiving significantly more hits during this period
  • Open day promotions start for the University’s June/July and September open days
  • School flyers, posters, brochures and exhibition stands are updated for the open days
  • Some schools opt to use UCAS pre-applicant data (PAD) to generate awareness about new courses and to invite students to the open days
  • Attend higher education fairs


June – September 

Students attend open days to help finalise their choices.

Marketing activity:

  • Support the open days (June and September)
  • Update the Parents' Guide for use at open days and online
  • Update the Applicants' Guide
  • Start work on the next prospectus for the next cycle


October – January 

Students narrow down their choices and fill in their UCAS form with their final five choices. They may attend campus tour days if they have missed open days and will start attending UCAS visit days.

Marketing activity:

  • Complete and send out the Applicants' Guide to all offer holders
  • Update fact sheets for use at UCAS visit days
  • Update school literature for UCAS visit days
  • Continue work on the hardcopy and online prospectus
  • Start work on Student news – the undergraduate conversion e-newsletter
  • Support schools with conversion materials, including schools newsletters


February – March

Students continue to attend UCAS visit days, await responses from universities and accept or reject offers. Once offers are accepted, they can start to apply for accommodation.  

Marketing activity:

  • Complete and send out Student news – conversion e-newsletters to offer holders
  • Some schools send out school-specific conversion newsletters
  • Update fact sheets for use at UCAS visit days
  • Prospectus for next cycle is finalised and printed


April – September

Students prepare for starting university; A level results and clearing takes place in August; students apply and secure accommodation. International students can apply up until June. Students start university and attend Freshers' Week in September.

Marketing activity:

  • Student Communications prepare a Welcome Guide

External Relations

University of Nottingham
C Floor, Pope Building (Rooms C2-C10)
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5151
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 6787
email: externalrelations@nottingham.ac.uk