Recruiting students: don’t talk at them, engage with them

The government wants to increase HE participation by disadvantaged students – a new report finds reaching regional, rural and remote school students is harder than recruiters might think

Mollie Dollinger (Deakin U) and colleagues set out issues and propose answers in a research report for the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education.*

There’s a bunch of information on the how and why of talking to RRR students – and some surprising findings on what they don’t get to hear, including;

“ the value of higher education could be better communicated, including links to specific jobs, jobs of the future, lifetime earnings, as well as notions of civic development and ‘education for education’s sake’. Participants also stressed that the delivery of information could also be improved. One principal noted, ‘I haven’t ever seen a university website that is user-friendly’ ”


“a lack of information or exposure for students on what university was like, clarity on how students could apply and enrol, and what courses were available, as well as how these courses linked to potential RRR jobs.”

the takeout: “if the university sector truly wants to see an increase in RRR student participation, we must stop assuming what stakeholders need or want and instead modify the system, from early-stage outreach programmes to on-campus student support initiatives, to foster an authentic partnership between students, staff and stakeholders.”

* Mollie Dollinger, (Deakin U) and Andrew Harvey, (Griffith U), Ryan Naylor, (Uni Sydney), Marian Mahat (Uni Melbourne), Belinda D’Angelo (La Trobe U), A student-centred approach: understanding higher education pathways through co-design, HERE


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