Nowadays, the higher education (HE) market is very competitive, as there are many universities worldwide which offer the same programmes and courses. Therefore, it is vital for institutions to concentrate on their offers and think about how to deliver an engaging and memorable student experience.
Students are at the heart of the university offer; therefore, HE institutions need to deliver services which satisfy or even exceed the learners’ needs.
To achieve the highest level of student satisfaction, universities should outline different goals and key performance indicators focusing on the whole student experience.
So, how can universities deliver unique experiences?
Firstly, institutions should aim to prepare every learner for their life beyond study, and create a lasting positive relationship with them. There are many universities nowadays which are investing in creating links with employers to facilitate student job prospects after their graduation, as well as their research for an internship-vacancy. This trend is justified by the fact that learners select universities based on the graduate employability rate and, due to the increase in tuition fees, they are looking for better value for money and return on investment.
Secondly, due to technological development and growth of online courses, universities should focus on providing an excellent experience for both learners who are studying on campus, as well as those who are attending online lectures.
Thirdly, as stated by the University Strategic Plan of the University of Edinburgh, institutions should create a sense of community for students and alumni, as well as investing in personalised learning. This type of learning consists of offering a programme-focused approach, as well as providing learners with different extra curricula activities which meet their needs and desires.
In addition, investing in IT is considered a way to enhance the whole student experience. Indeed, by adopting new technologies such as VLE or RLMS, students and university staff will benefit from open communication and access to different types of resources.
Finally, universities’ student-accommodation has a vital role in delivering an enhanced student experience. Indeed, according to research, learners who are living on-campus or in university student accommodation, usually perform better in their studies as they feel like at home. Therefore, it is vital that institutions invest in offering a high level of quality accommodation.
In conclusion, there are various factors which influence the whole university student experience. Not only do universities have to invest in IT and offer students personalised learning, but they should create a sense of community among students. This can be helped by investing in student accommodation which makes them feel comfortable. In this competitive market, it is fundamental that institutions focus on every single factor which gives students a memorable university experience.