17 february 2011

Oxford admissions teams win innovation awards

University

Univ College's 2010 Alternative Prospectus
University college won an award for its Alternative Prospectus, which accompanies the college's official prospectus.

Oxford has been recognised for leading its peers in developing ways to reach out and inform prospective applicants.

Oxford University’s Undergraduate Admissions team, along with University College, Oxford, won two out of three awards for innovation and best practice at the recent Higher Education Liaison Officers’ Association (HELOA) National Conference. The University’s admissions team won an award for its series of self-guided audio tours, and University College was recognised for its Alternative Prospectus.

The self-guided audio tours are a series of podcasts that prospective applicants can download and listen to on their own portable audio players. Each tour covers a different subject theme and set of landmarks and is narrated by an admissions staff member and recent Oxford graduate, allowing those who use them to wander Oxford guided by the voice of a recent student providing useful information.

Paul Teulon, Head of Student Recruitment in Oxford’s Undergraduate Admissions Office, said: ‘We really want students from every background, and want to make sure that potential applicants have all the information they need to make an informed decision about applying. We put a huge amount of time and energy into outreach projects such as this, and are really pleased to be recognised for our efforts to engage with applicants and attract the very brightest minds to Oxford.’

Oxford’s Undergraduate Admissions self-guided audio tours are designed to provide prospective applicants with information about Oxford from a student perspective and guidance on how to apply for an undergraduate degree course. The six themed tours are designed to aid students and families visiting Oxford outside of the University Open Days, when guided tours throughout the day are unavailable. 

We really want students from every background, and want to make sure that potential applicants have all the information they need to make an informed decision about applying.

Paul Teulon, Head of Student Recruitment

The tours are divided up into separate routes, each of which is designed to cover a different subject area, a selection of undergraduate colleges and departments, and other University locations, such as the Bodleian Library. All of the stops on the tours have been recorded as separate audio tracks by staff members who are recent graduates of Oxford.

Julia Richardson of Oxford’s Student Recruitment Team, who designed the tours, said: 'It's not always easy to know which parts of the city of Oxford make up the University and its departments and colleges. The Audio Admissions Tours helps students navigate their way around the University whilst providing them with useful information and advice about the admissions process.'

University College was recognised for its Alternative Prospectus, a publication which accompanies the college’s official prospectus and gives an inside track thanks to contributions from current students and other members of college. The award recognised the project for using the college community, its newspaper-style design, and online format with links to social media pages.

Anne-Marie Canning, Access and Schools Liaison Officer at University College, said: ‘Our Alternative Prospectus is written and produced by current students, and is a great way to start finding out about their experiences of living and working in the college. This year the students have produced a unique newspaper format with imaginative features such as tutor interviews, jargon-busting crosswords and a pullout Oxford map full of their recommendations for exploring the city.’

The Higher Education Liaison Officers’ Association (HELOA) is the professional association of staff in higher education who work in the field of education liaison and provide guidance and information to prospective higher education students, their families and advisers.