“Best fit” is a term often tossed around these days in relation to student recruitment. It is a worthy aspiration, but what does it really mean and how can you achieve it?
For a choice to be best fit certain things need to be in place.
1. Students need self-awareness to understand their options and the goal
To select their best fit institution, students must have an understanding of their strengths, over and above their predicted or real exam results, and consider future career aspirations. In an ideal world, it would be these variables that would influence if a school leaver progresses into work, a vocation training programme, or higher education, and not their socio-economic status, where they live, or the Ofsted score of their school.
To achieve this aspiration students need support within schools to talk to a professional about careers and the pathways that can get them there. Without these opportunities, how can a student make an informed choice about institutions that would be a good fit for them?
2. Best fit is a two-way street
Just as a student needs self-awareness, so too an institution needs to understand its identity which influences what sort of students they are looking to recruit.
‘What students’ has traditionally come down to tariff points, but best fit goes beyond tariff. Will a student add value to the institution’s civic agenda? Will a student be engaged with the breadth of opportunities available at an institution?
How well does your institution understand what best fit looks like over and above tariff? How does this look when broken down by the diverse range of students who engage with an institution – international, disabled, widening access, mature, postgraduate, and more?
3. Successful outcomes for all
It’s not a good fit if a student accumulates debt they have no hope of paying off, if they leave without an improvement in prospects, if they fail to secure a job in a related field, if they drop out because the course content doesn’t challenge or is too challenging.
These scenarios are equally bad for an institution whose reputation is tied to the success of students in their care and in the workplace after graduation. How much do you know about the students who are successful at your institution, and do you feed that insight back into matching with best fit students in the admissions process?
How Hobsons supports institutions to focus on ‘best fit’ students
Careers advice and guidance in schools
We are helping students understand themselves and their post-secondary school options with our university and career readiness tool, Naviance by Hobsons, used by guidance counselors and students in more than 12,000 schools worldwide. Hobsons supports those students to create a plan to achieve their goals.
Approximately 40 percent of high schools in the U.S. use Naviance To date a handful of schools in the UK use Naviance, and we are looking to grow over the coming years as part of our commitment to support students with good decision-making.
ActiveMatch – Connecting best fit students to the best fit institution
Did you know that your institution has a profile on Naviance? It does in ActiveMatch, an expansion of Naviance available to higher education institutions. Approximately eight million students are using Naviance to explore progression options. Speak to us today to make sure it represents your institution accurately and in the best possible light.
In addition to an institution profile, ActiveMatch is an opportunity for an institution to proactively communicate with students who, based on various data points, appear to be best fit. A student then decides to connect with your institution, in doing so inviting you to engage directly with them.
ActiveMatch is now successfully connecting UK institutions with best fit U.S. students and is expanding to provide the opportunity to connect with other international students in schools around the world.
Supporting student success
Today, we work with UK institutions to focus on student success with Starfish by Hobsons, which enables institutions to take that crucial step in understanding what makes a best fit student.
Using Starfish, an institution can break data silos and focus on the student more efficiently. An institution comes to understand what it is that makes a student successful and ensures students have access to the support they need – academic and pastoral.
Higher education recruitment can only be genuinely described as ‘best fit’ when students are well-informed to make decisions about their post-secondary education and institutions are aware of how successful and accessible they are to students.
To learn more how Hobsons about how we can help you develop that focus, talk to us.