Blog 🍎 School 3rd March 2022

Could Data be the Key to Boosting University Acceptance Rates at Your School?

Profile image of James Leach
James Leach

James is senior content marketing manager at BridgeU. He writes and directs content for BridgeU's university partners and our community of international schools

Whether the word data makes you baulk or buzz, there’s no doubt it’s the cornerstone of a truly powerful guidance programme – and a foolproof route to boosting university acceptance rates at your school.

By collecting key information throughout your students’ university application journeys, and learning to recognise telling patterns, you’ll be able to:

  • Tailor your programme according to students’ needs
  • Set meaningful and realistic goals with students
  • Keep students on track to meet these goals
  • Predict and prevent problems

Of course, you probably already have a lot on your plate. That’s why we’re here to make data analysis easy and efficient. And one of the best tools at your disposal is the free BridgeU platform, which gathers all of the key metrics we’re going to talk about, and displays them as handy visualisations which illustrate trends at a glance.

Read on to find out all the ways that proper data analysis can contribute to your mission of boosting university acceptance rates at your school!

A tailor-made programme is key to boosting university acceptance rates

The power of personalisation is hard to overstate. And in an arena as individual and life-shaping as university guidance, it’s essential.

Different cohorts are applying in different contexts – as became starkly apparent following the outbreak of COVID-19. There also tends to be variety in the subjects, destinations and careers that dominate students’ goals.

That’s why it’s so important to have a firm understanding of these goals.

And BridgeU makes it really easy. When students create their accounts, they are taken through a series of quick and simple multiple-choice questions which address just these topics. The information is collected, analysed and presented for you without you having to do a thing!

You’ll be able to find it all whenever you need as easy-to-read charts in your own BridgeU Dashboard.

That way, you can create a programme that caters to the areas students are really interested in. You’ll dive deep into application procedures and materials relevant to their chosen subjects and destinations, rather than providing more generalised, superficial guidance.

“It’s thanks to BridgeU that we can provide the quality of provision we do. BridgeU is collating all this data for us that allows us to tailor our provision to our students.” 

Simon Finnigan: British International School, Ho Chi Minh City

You’ll also be able to plan according to the application timeline of their favoured destinations, so that you’re delivering the right information at the right time.

And all of that translates to far stronger applications created well ahead of the relevant deadlines, a surefire way of boosting university acceptance rates!

Relevant events can make university acceptance rates soar

As well as mapping out a longterm programme that matches students’ interests, with the right data you can fill that programme with lots of relevant events.

Things like university visits to your school, institutions’ open days and wider educational showcases are all critical to your students’ decision-making. They’re also invaluable sources of application information.

But for these events to be as powerful as possible, they need to cater to your students’ goals and interests, as well as where they are on the application journey.

Armed with data on students’ ambitions and progress, you can make every minute of every presentation useful.

Like many BridgeU counsellors (including Simon Finnigan, whose case study you can read here!), you can speak with visiting university reps ahead of time and ask them to focus on the areas that are most relevant to your students.

Events for every stage of the application process

Each event’s theme could be determined by the point most students are at in their journeys.

For example, if many of them are drafting application essays, that’s a topic where admissions reps could offer incredible insight.

Or if they’re still comparing universities, having different courses laid out – and the chance to ask questions of people who really live, work, or study there – sheds light on their potential futures.

Subject-themed events

Alternatively, you could give reps more academic themes. Are lots of students interested in social sciences? You can arrange for different universities to talk about how they’re taught at their respective institutions. Or maybe you have a careers fair which shows students the pathways that different subjects can lead to…

Ultimately, by making sure the entire event is as relevant as possible to your students you’ll keep them engaged and give them the information they need to craft brilliant applications – key contributors to boosting university acceptance rates.

Data can help you set realistic admissions goals with students

If your school’s university admission rates aren’t quite where you’d like them to be, it could be because your students aren’t actually applying to the courses they’re best matched with.

But with the right data, you can ensure students are confident in their choices, and applying to a range of programmes, including safety options in case they don’t quite meet the requirements for their dream school.

So what do you need to know to achieve this? Firstly, you’ll need to have a good overview of the universities your students are interested in, by viewing your school’s Analytics in your BridgeU Dashboard.

Next, you’ll want to find those universities’ admissions trends.

Oversight of admissions trends at universities

Within the ‘Universities’ tab of your BridgeU Dashboard, you can see at a glance how past students’ interactions with a particular institution have turned out.

In one handy table, we show you the number of:

  • Shortlists
  • Applications
  • Offers received
  • Applications rejected
  • Students who ultimately enrolled at the university
bridgeu university data for boosting university acceptance rates

You can also compare different cohorts to spot trends over time or according to any other cohort-to-cohort criteria.

Scattergrams of past students’ outcomes

Of course, it’s not as simple as just looking at past admissions figures. It’s important that you and your students understand the factors that affect those past outcomes.

That’s why the ‘Universities’ tab also gives you scattergrams that demonstrate how previous students fared in their applications to different universities, breaking down outcomes according to key factors like:

  • SAT scores
  • Weighted GPA
  • 4.0 GPA
  • Predicted IB scores
  • Deadline applied to
bridgeu Universities scattergram show how data helps in boosting university acceptance rates

That way, you’ll be able to not only advise students on their chances of acceptance, but also suggest steps to boost those chances.

Benchmarking student results

Another decisive criterion in students’ chances of success is how their predicted grades measure up to past year groups, as well as to the wider international school community.

That way, they know whether they’re on the right track, set to exceed expectations, or might want to pull their socks up before final assessments. It could be the encouragement they need to work that extra bit harder and ultimately boost their university acceptance rates!

Again, BridgeU makes sure you have all of this data at your fingertips.

Simply head to your ‘Insights’ tab to see how your students are measuring up in areas like:

  • The percentage of students receiving an offer
  • The number of applications students are sending
  • How many students are receiving offers from QS Top 50 institutions

With this information, you can ensure that students send applications to the universities that best fit their overall profiles.

Personalised recommendations are essential for boosting university acceptance rates

We return once again to the incomparable importance of personalisation. Because as helpful as data and statistics are, it’s important that each student can apply that information to their own profiles.

Of course, expecting students to do this at all – let alone with objectivity – might seem like a stretch. So why not give them a platform that does it for them?

BridgeU’s intelligent data-driven matching tools take all of the information from each student’s profile to give them a tailor-made selection of universities, handily divided up into three categories reflecting their chances of acceptance: Reach, Match and Safety.

That way, students can ensure they’re applying to a healthy mixture of the three, helping to increase their overall chances of acceptance, and the likelihood that they’ll get onto their ideal programme!

“Students really liked seeing their matches. It was an important reality check seeing universities in the reach column, but then it was nice to see it instantly made them make more realistic choices without me having to crush their dreams!” 

Ana Flores: Uruguayan American School

Track and maintain student progress if you want to boost university acceptance rates

Whether they’re researching different subjects, investigating student life across the world, or putting together documents for their applications, it’s important that students know the key milestones and deadlines they’re working towards – and that they’re hitting them.

But keeping track of every student can be difficult. That’s why having one platform where you can set, review and feedback on tasks – as well as see how many are outstanding – is so impactful.

For each student, you can see how many universities they’ve shortlisted, how many applications they’ve sent, and any tasks they’ve yet to complete.

You can filter by students that are behind schedule, and also see any who haven’t yet:

  • Registered on BridgeU
  • Entered their subject or country preferences
  • Added any universities to their shortlist

That way, you can take any necessary steps to get them back on track, including messaging students or groups of students from within the platform or using your own preferred email service.

You’ll make sure students are doing exactly what they need to do, when they need to do it, to prepare strong applications well ahead of deadlines.

That gives you and your colleagues plenty of time to review application essays and submit references and recommendations. All of which will do wonders for boosting university acceptance rates at your school!

Harness the power of data to boost university acceptance rates

So there are some of our favourite ways that data helps in boosting university application rates at schools like yours!

With key metrics on student interests and outcomes, you’ll deliver a tailor-made programme including the most relevant and up-to-date resources and events.

You’ll make sure students have individualised recommendations based on their likelihood of acceptance onto the programmes that best fit their needs and goals, and you’ll keep every student on track to submitting stand-out applications ahead of their relevant deadlines.

All of that, entirely free!

So what are you waiting for? Get set up with your free BridgeU account today and you’ll be boosting university acceptance rates before you know it.

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