Are You Engaging with Pre-App Students Early Enough?

Although there is the dooming deadline date in January for university applications, the many steps students go through before applying will get them researching far before then.

With the choice of courses, the selection of universities and the overwhelming process of comprehending all the financial information – it is unsurprising students begin thinking about university and their pathway options earlier than expected.

We found that engaging potential future students can begin as early as year 10: Our recent survey revealed the majority of students began receiving advice and guidance about university in year 12 (47%), 17% in year 11 and 12% in year 10.


Although 67% of these students agreed the year their school introduced university engagement was early enough for them, it’s vital to avoid letting that remaining 33% fall through the cracks.

This group of potential future students crave engagement from universities early-on and will most likely begin researching their pathway options ahead of everyone else. This is a great opportunity for you to establish your brand, create an early relationship and lay the foundations for better connections in the future.

So, ensure your pre-app content plan goes beyond Year 12’s. Adjusting the complexity of your language, creating useful resources for beginners and getting involved in trips to schools or events for school students is an effective place to start building your brand in those all-important early years.

Check out UniTasterDays, a website which promotes your events, workshops and open days to teachers and career advisors looking to connect their students to universities early on.


Our survey revealed pre-app students want to hear more about student life and finance, yet these topics can be easily overlooked at this stage of their journey. We’re sharing a few tips to get potential future applicants engaged and wanting more.


With travel costs, course books, rent and tuition fees, it is unsurprising students worry about money when considering their pathway options.

The lack of clarity about student finance has made young people uneasy about their future financial stability. In our recent survey, we found 60% of respondents strongly disagreed and disagreed universities helped them feel more confident they could afford university life and balance their finances. Additionally, when we asked what information students wanted at school, a number of respondents identified student finance, commenting:

“How to manage finances at university”

“Balancing finances – it’s normally spoken about once you’ve applied and gone to see the universities, but I think it should start earlier”

“More detail on finances, I didn’t know we were charged interest on our loans”

“Graduate prospects and reality of finance on loans less than max with no top up from parents”

Use this knowledge gap as an opportunity to provide useful content that will put their mind at ease. Your help could have a huge impact on their next steps deciding whether university is the right option for them whilst building an emotive connection with students early-on.

Education on your bursaries and scholarships are also a great way of reassuring students about areas financial support. By advertising your bursaries and scholarships, this will provide students with a boost in confidence about their future financial situation and might even inspire students to aim for better results.


Rather than spamming your audience with marketing emails, you should promote your story and share insights which showcase; why you are different from your competitors and what kind of lifestyle your university promises. The more students that can picture life at your university, the more connected your audience will feel with your brand.

We looked into different ways brands can authentically resonate with young people. Check out how to tell your story without pushing your product: what it takes to make your brand resonate with young people.


We found 90% of respondents wanted more subject specific information at school, so they can tailor their A-level choices to the degree they’re interested in. These students have identified their passion points and are planning ahead. So, share useful course information, subject requirements and support with pathway planning.

Connect with a young person’s emotions and aspirations and share ways in which universities have helped others achieve their dream career. Go beyond graduate employment and paint the picture of what life after university promises.

Want to find out more ways to increase your open day attendance and engage students in years 12 and 13? Download our pre-app marketing tool kit.