Widening Participation and UK Student Recruitment

The UK Student Recruitment and Widening Participation Team plays an important role in helping the University meet its student recruitment, income generation and widening participation objectives. We work in the following areas:

The team spearheads the university’s UK student recruitment efforts, promoting our courses to tens of thousands of prospective students annually all over the country. In addition to leading on schools strategy, recruitment exhibitions and campus events to support UK and PGT student recruitment, we also hold virtual events and summer schools to help recruit students internationally.

Recruitment events

We deliver a number of events and opportunities both on and off campus to encourage prospective students to apply to the University of Exeter and accept their place with us.  Each of our events has been developed to cater for the particular needs of prospective students at each stage of their decision-making process.

> Undergraduate Open Days

We hold five pre-applicant Open Days across our Exeter and Penryn campuses during the year. Held in early summer and during the autumn, these provide great opportunities for prospective students to visit the University before they make an application. The events are organised by the team and involve all academic colleges, the Student Guild/FXU and a range of professional services. Attracting around 40,000 visitors annually, these events are the most significant influence on propensity to apply.

> Postgraduate Open Days

We usually hold three postgraduate open days each year – two at Streatham and one at Penryn – usually in October and March. The open days are open to current students hoping to progress into further study and also students taking their degree programmes from Universities across the UK. Students have the opportunity to find out more about their chosen course, meet with tutors and/or supervisors, and learn about the funding opportunities available. Organised jointly between the team, Marketing, Academic Colleges and the Doctoral College, they are attended by around 500 students annually.

> Offer Holder Visit Days

We hold a series of Offer Holder Visit Days at our Exeter and Cornwall Campuses between February and April each year. These events, which are attended by around 5,000 students (around 27% of offer holders) provide prospective students who have already been made an offer of a place the opportunity to find out more detail about their chosen programme before they make a final decision about accepting their offer. Each of these events can attract up to 1,800 visitors. Booking is essential and only offer-holders are invited to book a place. The online booking system opens in September/October in line with the first offers being sent out to applicants.

The Offer-Holder Visit Days are based within Academic Colleges, but are supported by a range of centrally organised activities. 

> Campus tours

Guided Campus Tours take place at Penryn, St Lukes and Streatham campuses throughout the year. These events provide prospective students who are not able to attend an Open Day the opportunity to see the campus and the facilities the University has to offer. The tours are led by current Student Ambassadors and can accommodate up to 18 visitors per tour. Booking is essential for all tours and can be made online.

Visitors who are unable to attend a Campus Tour can conduct a self-guided tour using a leaflet and/or audio podcasts which are available to download on our website.  Virtual tours are also available to view online.

> School visits on campus

We regular host school visits on campus and provide a range of activities including advice and guidance sessions, workshops and campus tours. We normally host these on Wednesdays during term time and give preference to schools who meet our widening participation or recruitment criteria.

> Recruitment events in schools  

The team meets thousands of prospective students each year at HE Fairs organised by schools and colleges. We also provide advice and guidance on the applications process and deliver presentations to school groups, assemblies and parents’ evenings.

> UCAS exhibitions

These are large exhibitions aimed at Year 12 students at which HE institutions from across the UK attend to talk with prospective students.  The UCAS conventions can attract up to 30,000 visitors. The Outreach team attend up to 35 events annually within England and Wales.

The UCAS conventions good practice guide aims to provide simple hints and tips for staff representing the University at UCAS conventions.  A staff briefing session is held annually for all those attending UCAS conventions. 

> Virtual Open Days

The team runs a series of virtual open days throughout the recruitment cycle for pre-applicants and offer-holders. The events provide opportunities to ask questions and find out more about what the university has to offer and are particularly useful for students who find it difficult to travel for geographical, financial or logistical reasons. The events are hosted on our virtual open day platform which is managed by the team and include subject-specific and international events.  

The team leads on building relationships with schools and colleges to support student recruitment and/or widening participation objectives and visits around 300 schools each year. 

Schools liaison

We visit schools all over the UK, seeing tens of thousands of pupils every year. The team delivers workshops, advice and guidance, WP and other activities. We also fund online resources and tools for pupils and organise annual HE Advisors conferences at Streatham and Penryn Campuses.

We take a strategic approach to working with schools based on a number of factors such as student profile and performance, location, and willingness to engage. Schools are able to book activities on site and on campus via our online booking system, and our schools database is available as a resource to help colleagues who wish to make contact with schools for engagement or research purposes.

Support for educators

We provide a variety of support for people working in schools. Around 100 teachers and advisers attend our HE Advisers’ Days at Exeter and Penryn. The events held in February provide general information, advice and guidance about the application process and more specifically what we look for from prospective students. In addition, there is a focus on relevant sector-wide issues such as mental health and student welfare. We also host the annual South West Academic Trust conference and are represented on the board. The team also works with the Graduate School of Education in providing training for University academic and professional services staff conducting outreach in schools.

Visit our Teachers pages

The team leads on the development, evaluation and monitoring of our institutional widening participation strategy and in addition has operational responsibility for improving access.

We believe in the principle that everyone with the potential to benefit from higher education should have equal opportunity to do so. Our goals are to widen participation in higher education; raise pupil attainment; and put students on a level playing field to ensure they enjoy the best possible outcomes at University and as graduates.

Widening participation governance and planning  

The team leads on the development, evaluation and monitoring of our institutional widening participation strategy which is contained in our Access and Participation Plan. Our institutional governance is as follows:

  • Social Mobility Group – chaired by DVC Education, this group brings senior academic, professional services and student representatives together to provide senior leadership across outreach, access, student success and progression.  Contact Nicola Sinclair.
  • Access and Participation Plan Management Group – chaired by Assistant Director Student Recruitment, Access and Admissions, this cross-University group is responsibility the implementation, management and monitoring of our strategic plan. Contact Nicola Sinclair.
  • College Groups – there is an annual planning process for discipline specific WP activities which is coordinated by College leads within the team and signed off through College Executive or Educational Strategy Groups. Contact Mel Ruddock.
  • SEAS WP Group – this group brings together colleagues in Student Experience and Academic Skills and shares information and best practice. Contact Dr Dawn Lees.

Evaluation and evidence-based decision making  

With a commitment of around £14m annually to widening participation it is important that our strategy is based on evidence and is properly evaluated to ensure we are making an impact and improving outcomes for students.

The team leads on the evaluation agenda and works with colleagues across the University to build a good evidence base for access, success and progression initiatives. We keep abreast of national research and best practice; analyse admissions, schools, UCAS and other data; and conduct and commission primary research to inform our strategy.

Many of our team are members of the Centre for Social Mobility which brings researchers and practitioners together to promote evidence-based practice, nurture new ideas and support a whole institution approach to social mobility. Contact Nicola Sinclair or Anna Mountford-Zimdars. 

WP schemes

The team has operational responsibility for access initiatives, many of which provide opportunities for discipline specific content to be included.  Should you wish to contribute to them or discuss opportunities to develop new activities within your College then please use the contact us section to identify your College lead who will be happy to help. 

University of Exeter Scholars

The Exeter Scholars programme offers opportunities for academically able young people from underrepresented backgrounds to find out more about university, develop a passion for a chosen subject, and gain first-hand experience of student life at the University of Exeter.

It is a free programme available to students from across the country delivered via five different pathways and with start points in Years 9, 10 and 12.  Around 900 students are on the programme at any one time.

Content is delivered through a mixture of face to face events including residential experiences, and online materials to prevent home location being a barrier to participation.  From Year 12 onwards completion of a subject activity strand of their choice makes up a significant part of the programme content. Programme benefits include :

  • An understanding of university life and an opportunity to hear directly from current university students about their experiences
  • First-hand experience of a leading university and advice from world-class academics who are passionate about the subjects they teach
  • An exciting insight into the type of research carried out by universities and the impact it can have on our everyday lives
  • The opportunity to explore a particular subject fully funded residential events and regular trips to one of our campuses
  • Development of experience and knowledge and transferrable skills
  • A contextual offer and access to a benefits packages including transition, financial, academic skills and employability support.

> School partnership programmes

We have extended our partnerships with schools expanding our Exeter Links scheme to 40 schools across the South West including those in low participation and coastal communities. Support for these schools includes workshops, advice and guidance and teacher CPD. We also work in partnership with schools with high proportions of disadvantaged or under-represented students in areas such as Birmingham and London.

> Next Steps South West

We are part of Next Steps South West (NSSW),  a consortium of 13 higher education institutions based in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. NSSW have developed a programme of activities for target schools and students to encourage progression into higher education, raise apsiration and academic attainment. These activities include Articulacy sessions, e-Mentoring, theatre productions and Careerpilot workshops. As an institution we help to support these core activities whilst also providing events and activities targeting schools and students within and around Exeter/Cornwall.

> Realising Opportunities

We are a member of Realising Opportunities, which is an innovative, national scheme which was set up and is managed by 14 of the country’s leading, research-intensive universities to promote fair access and social mobility of students from groups underrepresented in higher education. Students take part in a programme of activities to inform them about their future options and provide them with the skills they will need to succeed at university.

> Pathways to Law

Pathways to Law is an innovative and exciting programme, which provides fantastic opportunities for sixth form students who are interested in law. Run by the Sutton Trust and funded by the Legal Education Foundation, Pathways is offered at 12 UK universities, including the University of Exeter. The programme targets high-achieving students in state schools and colleges who will be the first generation in their family to attend university, and aims to raise their aspirations and provide them with the skills and confidence to pursue a successful legal career. Pathways to Law is delivered as a subject activity strand within the Exeter Scholars programme.

Support for students with complex needs

The team works with colleagues across the University to provide joined up support for students who may have to overcome complex challenges in order to progress and succeed within higher education. We organise an annual conference for mature students considering progressing into higher education. The event attracts around 70 students from across the South West and includes various workshops to prepare students for applying to university. We also provide familiarisation sessions on campus for care leavers and their social workers to support them through the application process. The team works closely with the Student Guild and others to support initiatives for student carers and students who have no family support.

Partnerships

The teams works with a number of partners to expand the reach and scope of our widening participation activity with disadvantaged and underrepresented pupils.

> IntoUniversity

IntoUniversity provides local learning centres where young people from Primary School age and above are inspired to achieve. We co-fund the Bristol South Centre and deliver a range of activities including workshops, mentoring and residentials.  At each local centre IntoUniversity offers an innovative programme that supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to attain either a university place or another chosen aspiration.

> Brilliant Club

The Brilliant Club is an award-winning charity that exists to increase the number of pupils from under-represented backgrounds progressing to highly-selective universities. They do this by mobilising the PhD community to share its academic expertise with state schools, particularly in hard to reach areas.

> Social Mobility Foundation

Each year we run an overnight visit in partnership with the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) at our Streatham Campus. The SMF is a charity which aims to improve social mobility of young people form low-income backgrounds.

> Advancing Access

Advancing Access is a collaboration of 24 leading universities, including the University of Exeter, providing free resources and online events for teachers and advisers on various topics to help them support their student’s progression to leading universities.

The team is responsible for managing the Exeter Student Ambassador Scheme which employs around 360 students each year.

Undergraduate, Postgraduate and International Student ambassadors are selected, trained and managed by the team and work on a wide range of events and activities throughout the year. They share their first-hand experiences of life as a University of Exeter student to a variety of different audiences, providing a positive, authentic and unscripted insight into the world of higher education.

The work student ambassadors undertake involves both promoting the University of Exeter as an institution to prospective students and visitors; and helping to widen participation in higher education more generally by providing information, advice and guidance to young people from a diverse range of backgrounds who are under-represented. Further information about the work available to student ambassadors can be found here.

The team organises and runs a number of residential programmes throughout the year providing life-changing experiences for students from Year 10 upwards, supporting both widening participation objectives and our internationalisation strategy.

> International summer school

We lead on organising and recruiting to the University’s undergraduate international summer school which attracts around 130 students from around the world. Running for six weeks throughout July and August, the school provides places for international partner institutions as well as international scholars who want to experience study at a UK institution. The school provides students with credit-bearing research-led modules in areas such as business, law, English, preventative medicine and international relations. A number of students on the programme have gone on to study doctoral programmes at Exeter.

> International pre-university schools

We have an expanding pre-university international programme for students aged between 15 and 17. Held over two weeks in August, the summer school provides an exciting academic and social programme with a focus on medicine and law. The majority of students who attend go on to apply for degree courses at the University the following year.

> Fulbright summer school

The University hosts the prestigious Fulbright UK Summer Institute with a month-long summer school during July and August. The students, who are all from the US, attend a variety of courses on campus and take part in an active social programme to explore the culture, heritage and history of the UK while experiencing higher education at a top university.

> Bespoke international summer schools

We run a number of bespoke events for specific disciplines or agencies, for example the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) whose students study in the UK each summer with the hope of progressing on to an undergraduate degree. 

> Widening participation residentials

Around 360 school pupils attend the campus each year as part of our widening participation programmes. We hold residentials for Year 10 and Year 12 pupils at both the Penryn and Streatham Campuses as part of the University of Exeter Scholars programme and also with partners such as Next Steps South West, IntoUniversity and the Social Mobility Foundation. The pupils stay in halls of residence and experience life at university including subject lessons and outside activities led by student ambassadors.

Support and guidance

The team provides event-specific briefings for staff and students involved with Open Days and Offer-Holder Visit Days. If you are a new member of staff and would like the opportunity to meet with someone from the Student Recruitment Office to discuss the events we offer, please contact the Outreach Manager.

We have produced good practice guides and templates for you to use at the Open Days and Offer-Holder Visit Days, however you may find this information useful for any other events you may hold.  We would encourage you to use the templates for all your student recruitment activity.

The Off campus events good practice guide aims to provide simple hints and tips for staff representing the University at school and college events.

We would ask all staff to inform the team if they have a request from a school for a vsit or information. We can the liaise directly with the school and ensure they receive the appropriate level of support. Contact us on x4043 or email visitus@exeter.ac.ukoutreach@exeter.ac.uk

Resources

>School search

Search our database to see what category or group a school belongs to here 

>Outreach newsletter

The Student Recruitment Office is responsible for effective communications with schools and colleges both locally and nationally. Targeted e-newsletters are sent on a regular basis providing key contacts with information and details of relevant engagement opportunities - read more

 >Sending an article for inclusion in newsletter

Use our form to send us copy for one of our newsletters here

 >Feedback forms

Please use this link to input evaluation data from incoming visits, outgoing visits, on campus subject days and teachers - here.

 Name

 Job role

Location

Phone 

 Email

 Streatham

 All general enquiries

Innovation Centre

4043

visitus@exeter.ac.uk

Nicola Sinclair

Head of Widening Participation and Student Recruitment

Innovation Centre

5245

n.m.sinclair@exeter.ac.uk

Karl Devincenzi

Outreach Manager

Innovation Centre

2027

k.devincenzi@exeter.ac.uk

Karen Corr

Outreach Manager 

Innovation Centre

2529

k.corr@exeter.ac.uk

Melissa Ruddock

Outreach Manager 

Innovation Centre

6181

m.s.ruddock@exeter.ac.uk

Sam Dyer

Monitoring and Assurance Manager

Innovation Centre

2495

S.L.Dyer@exeter.ac.uk

Amalia Gerolimatos

International Summer School Manager 

Innovation Centre

6906

A.E.Gerolimatos@exeter.ac.uk

Dr Kirsty Janes

Evaluation and data analyst

Innovation Centre

6158

K.Janes@exeter.ac.uk

Lucy Richards

Outreach Officer

Innovation Centre

4193

L.Richards3@exeter.ac.uk

Jonny Gurr

Outreach Officer

Innovation Centre

2527

j.gurr@exeter.ac.uk

Hayley Stentiford

Outreach Officer

Innovation Centre

2316

H.A.R.Stentiford@exeter.ac.uk

Natalie Bracher

Outreach Officer

Innovation Centre

2527

n.bracher@exeter.ac.uk

Melody Barnes

Outreach Officer

Innovation Centre

2528

m.barnes@exeter.ac.uk

Kathy Bishop

Exeter Student Ambassador Scheme Officer

Innovation Centre

2036

k.bishop@exeter.ac.uk

SRO College Leads

 

 

 

 

Dr Alice Mills

Outreach Officer - CEMPS

Innovation Centre

4478

A.Mills@exeter.ac.uk

Kate Blackmore

Outreach Officer – SSIS

Amory

5628

K.M.C.Blackmore@exeter.ac.uk

Dan North

WP and Student Recruitment Assistant - CLES

Hatherley

6638

D.S.North@exeter.ac.uk

Vicky Glazer

WP and Student Recruitment Assistant - CEMPS

Innovation Centre

 

V.A.Glazer@exeter.ac.uk

Hayley Kendall

WP and Student Recruitment Assistant -Business School

Hope Hall

5089

H.Kendall@exeter.ac.uk

Charlotte Robson

WP and Student Recruitment Assistant -Medical School

Innovation Centre

6215

C.Robson@exeter.ac.uk

Melissa Barrett

WP and Student Recruitment Assistant - SSIS

Amory

4769

m.barrett@exeter.ac.uk

Jennie Truman

WP and Student Recruitment Assistant - HUMS

Queens

2331

J.Truman@exeter.ac.uk

SRAs

 

 

 

 

Taylor Wearne

WP and Student Recruitment Assistant 

Innovation Centre

3773

t.wearne@exeter.ac.uk

Siobhan Harper

WP and Student Recruitment Assistant 

Innovation Centre

6637

S.C.Harper@exeter.ac.uk

James Albins

WP and Student Recruitment Assistant 

Innovation Centre

4098

j.albins@exeter.ac.uk

Nathan Gilpin 

WP and Student Recruitment Assistant 

Innovation Centre

2333

N.R.Gilpin@exeter.ac.uk

Deborah Langford

WP and Student Recruitment Administrator 

Innovation Centre

4043

d.langford@exeter.ac.uk

William Haggerty

Events Assistant

Innovation Centre

5909

W.Haggerty@exeter.ac.uk

Liam Looker

WP and Student Recruitment Administrator 

Innovation Centre

6962

L.Looker2@exeter.ac.uk

Rhianna Lewis

WP and Student Recruitment Administrator 

Innovation Centre

2528

R.Lewis2@exeter.ac.uk

Lisa Sutton

Graduate Ambassador

Innovation Centre

4192

Lisa.Sutton@exeter.ac.uk

Steph Harrison

Graduate Ambassador

Innovation Centre

4151

s.j.harrison@exeter.ac.uk

Penryn

 

 

 

 

Jo Thacker

Admissions & UK Student Recruitment Manager (Cornwall Campus)

Penryn

01326 371801

j.thacker@exeter.ac.uk

Richard Prest

Outreach Officer (Cornwall Campus)

Penryn

01326 371858

r.e.prest@exeter.ac.uk

Laura Drinkwater

Outreach Officer (Cornwall Campus)

Penryn

01326 371858

L.Drinkwater@exeter.ac.uk

Charlotte Bailey

Outreach Officer (Cornwall Campus)

Penryn

01326 371858

C.Bailey@exeter.ac.uk

Hannah Goodfellow

WP and Student Recruitment Assistant - HUMS/SSIS/Business School

Penryn

01326 371858

H.Goodfellow@exeter.ac.uk

Kristy Wallace

WP and Student Recruitment Assistant CEMPS

Penryn

01326 371858

k.wallace@exeter.ac.uk

Ellen Whitby

Student Engagement and Widening Participation Coordinator - Biosciences

Penryn

01326 371858

E.E.Whitby@exeter.ac.uk