The Something Big 2016 Sixth Form Prospectus review: Just what do parents and students want from a prospectus?

Published March 8, 2016

The annual challenge of producing the sixth form college prospectus is on – and already marketers are juggling a multitude of feedback from an array of stakeholders. Putting aside the views of academic staff and senior leadership for a moment, what do prospective parents and students actually want from a prospectus? We reviewed a range of local sixth form college prospectuses to find out.

From what size the prospectus should be to the best number of pages, and from layout to photographic styling, we wanted the lowdown so that can we help our clients create the best possible prospectus for their colleges and attract the right students.

Key insights from students included “the prospectus helps me get a feel for the college but for the course information I’d probably expect to find more on their website,” and “I really like that they’ve shared where the leavers have gone to!” Feedback like this helps marketers focus on the right level of information to put into their prospectuses.

At sixth form level, it’s not just students that have to be won over – it’s their parents as well. One parent commented: “The prospectus gives me a feel for how much the college invests in their students; if they try hard to get the right students then they are likely to look after them,” which says a lot about how much impact the prospectus needs to make.

It’s essential that you balance getting your student numbers where you want them to be with getting the right students who will be happy in your environment and choose the right courses. Unfortunately, a report published last year by the Local Governments Association shows that 178,000 16 – 18 year olds fail to complete their post 16 qualifications. Findings such as these show it’s essential not just to get students in the door but to nurture and keep them through to the end of their courses.

Your prospectus might only be one part of your overall marketing campaign, but it plays a huge role in setting student expectations and conveying your brand ethos, laying out extra curricular activities, and helping students with basics such as determining if their travel arrangements are going to be workable.

Read the full report to make sure your prospectus hits the right notes this year…

Or give us a shout if you would like us to help you review your prospectus before you get started: call us on 01483 746650 or email

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