Image of students graduating

 by Jon Cheek
, posted On 8 Feb '17

What is the difference between "university recruitment" and "outreach"

You’ll often find the terms outreach or recruitment used with regard to the activities and events universities arrange for young people and school groups (such as those you will see on Always remember that outreach activity tends to focus on widening participation (WP) audiences and most commonly on pre-16 (including primary school) audiences.

Recruitment activity, as the term suggests, tends to be much more concerned with the direct recruitment of students to university courses, rather than raising aspirations towards Higher Education (HE) in general.

Recruitment activity is usually focused on work with post-16 audiences, although these audiences will include WP cohorts (and may therefore also be deemed to be outreach activity).

Recruitment activity might typically include open days, taster days, campus visits, UCAS fairs, HE and career conventions, seminars and presentations, subject lectures and progression agreements.

In reality, there’s often an overlap between outreach and recruitment activity offered by most universities, particularly for post-16 audiences. The vast majority of universities engaged in recruitment activity adhere to the Higher Education Liaison Officers Association (HELOA) Good Practice Guidelines, which outline a responsibility to provide high quality advice and guidance in the best interests of the student, rather than the HE institution.

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Editorial has been provided by over 35 colleagues at universities and higher education institutions throughout the UK. On topics covering how to support students with their university decisions, university events, widening participation & fair access, UCAS applications (including writing school references) and more. It also includes the key student finance facts from Martin Lewis.

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