Purpose – To raise awareness of Supporting Professionalism in Admissions Programme's (SPA's) development of the concept of the applicant experience strategy and the use of contextual data to support good practice in widening access and fair admissions.
Design/methodology/approach – SPA worked with Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), HEI groups and funding agencies through visits, discussions, desk-based research and literature reviews to develop an evidence base. Definitions and preliminary findings from SPA's review and analysis were released to HEIs in stages throughout 2009 and 2010 for the formative production of good practice.
Findings – The research and analysis of the information gained from the institutions and other stakeholders enabled SPA to develop the applicant experience strategy for the benefit of institutions and potential students and has enabled SPA to develop principles for the use of contextual data. This was shared with HEIs enabling them to develop and enhance what they do in these areas.
Originality/value – The applicant experience strategy is an original concept developed by SPA as there was no comprehensive research on this in the United Kingdom. It is the precursor to the student experience, which has had much more coverage. The use of contextual data while not new has been taken to a new level United Kingdom wide through the work of SPA. Both these areas of SPA's work support institutions working on widening access, admissions and transition into higher education to enhance professionalism and good practice and to aid retention.
Graham, J. and Shaffer, D. (2011), "Chapter 5 Working together on Widening Access, Admissions and Transition into Higher Education", Thomas, L. and Tight, M. (Ed.) Institutional Transformation to Engage a Diverse Student Body (International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, Vol. 6), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 155-168. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-3628(2011)0000006016
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