In March 2013, we held a free focus group event attended by HE representatives from the University of Exeter, SOAS, and UEA; streaming the event live to university representatives across the UK. We spoke to eight Year 13 students with predicted grades ranging from BBB/ABC to AAB, exploring their decision making around UCAS applications and their views on the role of employability in HE courses.
The focus group found students often undertook very little in-depth research during the application process and instead based their decisions on non-rational information. However, Open Days played a key role in application choices, as well as peer recommendation and the overall reputation of the institution. There was a strong demand for degree courses to have ‘industry links’ and students expressed a desire to have support from a university careers service, particularly with regards to making contact with future employers. Although the employability services were highly valued by students, only those applying for the more vocational degrees had factored in such issues during their application process.
Please find a summary of the research by following the below link.