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Undergraduate Success

Formerly Higher Expectations 

Boost undergraduate attraction and conversion

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 · Undergradate Success - part of the HE Success Suite · 
Undergraduate Success is the definitive market research study on how undergraduates choose their universities. Based on over 140,000 interviews with new starters since 2006, Undergraduate Success provides a unique level of granularity, revealing importance and performance trends for your university (and every UK university) - individually and collectively at multiple levels.


What you get

Imagine sitting down with everyone who applied to your university and interviewing them on the whole application process - and then doing the same with everyone who applied to any university in the UK.

Undergraduate Success does just that, providing the robust evidence you need to validate and shape your undergraduate recruitment strategy. This tracking product provides unrivalled competitor intelligence, exclusive trend data and powerful verbatim analysis.

In total:

  • 140,000+ interviews since inception - all available
  • 12,000 interviews collected annually
  • Tracking student decision-making since 2006 
  • 46 decision-making factors examined
  • 40 different variables to 'filter' or 'compare' 
  • 10 topic areas examined
  • 4 open questions for detailed verbatim analysis


Subscribers receive one year of unlimited access to Undergraduate Success and membership of our HE Insight Club. As with all our HE Success Suite trackers, we host all quantitative and qualitative data in fully-interrogable dashboards, with charts available to export and share at the click of a button.

HESS trends(1)

Unique granularity

Benchmark your performance against your peers and competitors

Full institution-level benchmarking available including measures of statistical significance and powerful filtering.

Explore hundreds of thousands of responses from new first-year undergraduates, providing you with the large sample size through which explore a range of groups or subgroups of prospective students, such as:

  • Your university's students v. competitor universities
  • Traditional v. aspirational audiences
  • Acceptors v. decliners
  • Target WP audience
  • Regional variations
HESS UG welcome(1)

Focus your marketing strategy on what really drives choice

Explore ten core topic areas

In a free market, understanding choice is the key to a successful marketing strategy. At the core of Undergraduate Success sit ten importance factors which have been identified as key choice drivers:

  • Reputation
  • Future employability
  • Recommendations
  • Location
  • Dealings with you
  • Campus facilities
  • Costs
  • Course
  • Social life
  • Open days
HESS benchmark(1)

Unique trend data

View your university's raking against competitors, mission groups and across the wider sector

Discover where you rank and learn how your performance has changed over time. Gain 13 years of trended data and access an unparalleled sample size.

HESS UG decliners(1)

Learn how and why you lost out to your competitors

Know the reasons behind the 'nos' 

Although Undergraduate Success is not a decliners study (it’s more of a competitors study), it includes detailed decliner trend data that will give you the reasons why you were not selected. Learn why applicants declined your offer and discover where you’re underperforming, and with which applicants. Focus your efforts on areas of highest return.

HESS UG filter(1)

Drill down into the needs of your target and aspirational audiences

Filter and compare based on over 40 analysis variables

Filter the sample to suit your objectives, with subgroups and analysis variables that cover:

  • Demographic
  • Institutional
  • Academic
  • Attitudinal
  • Trends
  • User segmentation.


verbatim HESS 1)

Discover the emotional drivers

What motivates applicants - in their own words

Unearth thousands of verbatim comments and explore unprompted responses about your institution and the wider sector.

  • What are the key reasons why applicants do
  • What are the key reasons why applicants don't convert?
  • What would they recommend?
  • What wouldn't they recommend?


About our HE Insight Club

All subscribers to our HE Success Suite trackers automatically become part of the HE Insight Club, 
offering workshops, insight reports and events. 

An annual workshop tailored to your unique challenges


Galvanise your team and embed key insight into your university. Our senior researchers will apply their specialist HE knowledge to address your challenges and help you realise your ambitions.

Expert trend and insight reports


Keep up to date with regular reports throughout the year, focused on topical challenges, opportunities or threats in the HE space. Each report is exclusive to HE Success Suite subscribers and draws on the latest data from across our four tracking products. 

Regular 'meet your consumer' workshops


At our events you can meet and work on ideas with your target student audience. You'll also get a chance to hear the latest insights from our experienced HE researchers and network with your peers.

Want to see how it all works?

Book a free demo