Giving away your competitive advantage | HE Research Snippet #40

HE Thinking | 13 Dec 2021


It would be marketing madness to squander a competitive advantage. Yet that’s what lots of HEIs do. Do you?

Love or hate them, league tables are an essential decision-making tool used by many applicants when choosing their universities. But some high league-table universities fail to capitalize on their esteemed position in the tables. 

league table chart 2

How do we know that? Because our research shows us that a disproportionate number of undergraduates at certain universities, consistently fail to appreciate their own institution’s league-table success. New students attending the famous or elite institutions like Oxford and Cambridge do generally know that their universities are high performers in the league tables. So far, so uncontroversial. But, as we move down the league tables (keeping in the top 50), there are quite a few anomalies: surprise results which look like outliers, either because the new starting cohort of undergraduates thinks their university does well when, in reality, it performs poorly (labelled ‘punching above weight’ in the chart). Or more concerningly, institutions where their real league table success is not recognized or realized by the new students at that university (labelled ‘punching below weight’ in the chart above).

So, why would a university hide its light under a bushel in this way? The answer to that is simple. It wouldn’t! These universities either don’t realise or struggle to identify what is causing the problem of their underappreciation.

YouthSight provides the perfect tools for universities to identify whether they are punching above or below their weight… and if so, why.

Our Undergraduate Success tracking product is part of our HE Success Suite. A subscription allows you to analyse the results from over 140,000 interviews with new starters since 2006/07. The dashboard offers 15 years of trended data, and tools to be able to easily deep-dive into sub-group analysis. Undergraduate Success examines 46 different decision-making factors and provides 40 different variables to 'filter' or 'compare'. And the verbatim module allows users to drill down into the open responses of nearly 600,000 comments. If you want to find out if you’re punching above your weight, below your weight or simply how you can improve, get in touch now and book a demonstration of Undergraduate Success.

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Book a demo today. We offer instant and remote set up, so you can dive straight into the data and learn what drives conversion at your institution. 

Undergraduate Success Demo

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The chart is based on the percentage of respondents who strongly agree with the statement Thinking back to when you were choosing universities, do you agree or disagree that your university: Had a good reputation as a university, overall. These results are indexed and ranked on the Y axis. The X axis indexes and ranks the top 50 universities in the Complete University Guide for 2021. However, please note, a small number of institutions have been removed in order to disguise our data. All YouthSight data can be accessed in full via a subscription to YouthSight’s Undergraduate Success study, part of our HE Success Suite of products. 

HE Success Suite

Undergraduate Success is one of four tracking products from our HE Success Suite. Each product is tailor-made for the HE sector and is designed to empower universities to achieve their attraction and conversion goals. The products deliver unrivalled market competitor knowledge and years of back-data that solves challenges around the entire recruitment cycle. 

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See more of the data by booking a demo.

Explore the HE Success Suite


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