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Undergraduate Success 2018/19

Formerly Higher Expectations 

The ultimate insight tool uncovering the undergraduate 'path to purchase' for university insight and marketing teams

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 · Undergradate Success - part of the HE Success Suite · 
Imagine sitting down with everyone who applied to your university and debriefing 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.  


Over the past 13 years, we’ve spoken to over 140,000 brand new students and asked them why they made the choices they did. Undergraduate Success makes these answers available to you, providing the robust evidence you need to validate and shape your undergraduate recruitment strategy.

Our tracker provides a vast bank of competitor intelligence, extensive trend data and powerful verbatim analysis to capture the top of mind and tone of voice, and is an unrivalled benchmarking resource.

What you get with an Undergraduate Success subscription

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

Get a unique level of granularity with 13 years of trended data

Over 140,000 responses going back to 2006

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

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

Discover how you perform and learn from best in class performers

Check out benchmarking and apply best practice

Discover where you rank and view measures of difference between various factors through colour-coded tables. See how you compare against your competitors, mission groups and the sector as a whole. Understand how your performance has changed over the past 13 years – are you closing the gap with your competitors or are they sprinting ahead?

HESS UG decliners

Learn how and why you lose out to your competitors

Know the reasons behind the 'no's' with detailed decliners data

Undergraduate Success also reveals why applicants declined your offer of a place and ended up attending one of your key competitor universities. Question by question, we show how and where you're under-performing with which groups so you can focus your efforts where they're most likely to yield the highest return.

HESS UG filter

Drill down into the needs of your target and aspirational audiences

Filter and compare based on over 40 analysis variables

Filter the sample to view any sub-groups you need to understand then compare them to each other. Our analysis variables cover demographics, institutions, academics, attitudes, trends and even include a user segmentation.

verbatim HESS 3

Find out what applicants think, in their own words

Unearth insight in thousands of verbatim comments

Explore completely unprompted responses to key questions, covering both your own institution and the wider sector:

  • What are the key reasons why applicants do or 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 you


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 eight reports a year, focused on a topical challenge, an opportunity or threat in the HE space. Each report is exclusive to HE Success Suite subscribers and draws on the latest data from across our four trackers. 

Twice-yearly co-creation and insight events


Come along to our popular events where you can meet and work on ideas directly 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