In a recent blog, we talked about how – for universities – different courses require slightly different approaches to how they’re marketed. In that post, we looked specifically at creatively-centered courses like Music and Art; but what should universities think about when trying to inspire students to look at more technically-minded subjects such as Engineering or Computer Science?
For a technically minded student, one of the most exciting things about going to university is the opportunity to use a wide range of resources and cutting edge equipment. The below video for Birmingham City University’s Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment was a perfect way for us to exercise the classic film-making axiom of “show, don’t tell” when highlighting such tools.
The video features a number of energetic quick cuts that stylishly showcase all manner of kit – from audio mixers and VFX set-ups, to network servers and construction equipment. Pairing these visuals with futuristic music and the rhythmic sound effects of machinery helps to establish the university as a forward-thinking institution equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, without us ever having to say so directly.
This allows the overt messaging of the video to focus on the next important point…
The CEBE video from the previous point highlights the huge variety of professional avenues that students can go down after graduating from technical courses. As well as highlighting the abundance of options, honing in on specific routes that they can take can be an excellent way of helping prospective students to make a choice that’s right for them.
As well as alumni profile videos in which past students talk about their lives since graduating, one particularly good way of accomplishing this is to talk more in-depth about the industry placements that are often part of technical courses. Such opportunities can have a large impact on a university applicant’s final decision – particularly in the wake of the COVID pandemic, as research undertaken by Lancaster University found:
“Employability ranks highly in the decision-making criteria for all respondents. With the global pandemic increasing students’ concerns around their future careers and the stability of their chosen industry / sector, there is a need for reassurance and a hard evidence base to support applicant decision-making. Interestingly, the research indicates a greater focus on availability of work experience / study abroad opportunities and graduate employment prospects…”
Taking a closer look at work placements, as we do in the below video that we produced with BCU, allows applicants to see a student embarking on their first experience of applying technical skills in a professional context. The viewer is able to see how the university has equipped this student for the challenges they face.
Particularly when it comes to technically complex topics like engineering or computer programming, a more detailed look at how the course is structured can reassure students that they’ll be able to flourish and develop their skills.
It’s telling that the participants in the student experience videos that we’ve worked on with City, University of Londonall look to demystify the learning structure of their course. This can include what it’s like to transition from college to university; and how, as time goes on, they’re able to customise their module choices to reflect their interests and abilities.
As with creatively-based courses, promoting these more technical courses requires us to think about the concerns that a prospective student might have. Introducing students to the opportunities offered by these kinds of degrees is an excellent place to start. Then, reassuring applicants of the many ways in which the course can prepare them for those next steps is a perfect way of helping them to make the right decision for their future.