Staff Update - 31 March 2020
In light of the current situation, I thought it would be helpful to update you on the work underway in recent weeks to support our prospective students being co-ordinated through the Covid-19 Student Recruitment Group.
Our Admissions Team continues to receive and process applications across all levels of study for September 2020 and beyond. Despite the global pandemic, we continue to see increases in application numbers of around 40% on last year’s figures, and our Enquiries Team responds to over 1,000 enquiries every week. When these students will be able to join us on campus in Aberdeen remains uncertain.
As you will be aware, the UK and Scottish Governments announced the cancellation of school exams this summer. However, we are advised that candidates will be awarded a grade for each subject. UCAS has also extended deadlines to provide offer holders with an extra two weeks to respond to offers for September 2020. We understand the impact of these changes and the concern that they cause to our applicants.
Further afield, there are restrictions on travel in countries all around the world. As a result, many international students are facing delays in applications for visas. There are also challenges around English language testing and the cancellation of exams at schools and universities.
We remain aware of changing situation and the need to provide our prospective students with flexible options. This includes increasing the number of PGT programmes with January starts and making use of online options.
Recognising the challenge that many applicants will have in meeting English language requirements due to the closure of International English Language Testing System centres in many countries, we have reviewed the ten-week and five-week pre-sessional programme delivered by the Language Centre, and will now be delivering these online.
Events planned for the admissions and recruitment cycle for autumn 2020 and autumn 2021 have been cancelled. However, we have responded to this by holding more digital events. Building on the success of our recent Virtual Offer Holder day, we are engaging with prospective students online. We have expanded our one-to-one booking service for advice to prospective students, and we are extending our use of Unibuddy, a new peer-to-peer engagement tool.
We are also engaging with applicants through online recruitment fairs. Through these channels, we are able to assure our prospective students of our understanding of the difficult situation they are facing, and of our willingness to help them to realise their academic ambitions. The response to these measures has been extremely positive.
The Professional Services teams within External Relations and Marketing will be crucial to our continuing success as an institution, and I would like to express my personal thanks for their resilience in adjusting to new ways of working, as we all have, and for supporting our future student ambitions. I am also grateful to staff across the University for their efforts in working with us to promote our academic programmes and supporting our prospective students.
I will update you further as events develop and our recruitment activities progress.
Professor Alan Speight
Vice-Principal Student Recruitment