Actions to help your university stand out in a crowd

With competition for students fiercer than ever in the higher education sector, Ayten Ordu outlines some of the ways universities can achieve higher visibility

Ayten Ordu's avatar
17 Apr 2023
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University stand out in a crowd

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It would not be unrealistic to refer to Cyprus as a “university island”, as there are many universities in a small geographical area. Therefore, in such a competitive space, it is important to stand out and appeal to new students who are considering moving on to higher education. In this resource, in light of my observations and experiences working in a university in which student enrolment is increasing every year, we will explore how institutions can achieve higher visibility and attract more attention.

Social media

Social media is a powerful tool for promoting your university. If used properly, it can be a fantastic way of attracting new students and ensuring your institution is the “chosen one”. Utilising text, audio and visual effects that focus on the student experience to appeal directly to a range of potential new students can really help institutions stand out from the crowd. Useful ideas here include interviews with current students that are broadcast live on social media platforms run by the institution and/or short video clips demonstrating various aspects of students’ lives on campus. Photographs of teaching and learning facilities and the campus, all with appealing captioning, can be used to further promote the university on social media.

School visits

Another strategy is visiting high schools within the region. Meeting with prospective students face to face can have a very positive effect and leave a lasting impression. During these visits, providing an overview as well as basic information about the institution is crucial. As is allowing students the opportunity to ask questions about the institution and the area they wish to study.

As a lecturer in the law department, one of the questions I often come across during such visits is: “Why should I study law?” I respond using different examples to explain how law affects every aspect of our lives, from a simple supermarket shopping trip in which we enter into a contract, to being involved in an accident or having micro or macro disputes with neighbours or between countries. Law governs what we can and cannot do, it aims to settle disputes, to punish and to govern, I explain. I then flip the question somewhat, and ask the students: “Wouldn’t you want to play a role in this system by studying law at one of the most prestigious institutions on the island?” Such encounters always yield positive results.

Open days

In addition to school visits, organising regular open days on campus is always beneficial, since the activities visitors engage in during these events allow potential students to have a more hands-on experience. By visiting the campus and talking to fellow students and faculty members, they can get a much better feel of what it means to be a university student. A tour of the campus facilities, including the library, study areas and locations where students socialise and eat, can have a powerful effect and leave a good impression.

Clubs and societies

The availability and variety of clubs and societies can help a university stand out from others. Stories on the events, tours and competitions organised by student clubs published online and through local media can really help promote an institution and increase its visibility.


Besides academic discipline-oriented sessions, organising free public conferences and inviting renowned speakers from across the world on special days such as Universal Children’s Day, Human Rights Day and more can also help to promote your institution. These can also be broadcast live on the university’s webpage and social media accounts. The accessibility of such conferences will have a positive impact and help to ensure that your institution stands out. Such events will not only impress potential students but also allow the institution to disseminate its vision to a wide audience.

Cinema days and social events

Hosting cinema days and other social events can really help encourage students to talk positively to their friends and family members about campus life. Word-of-mouth recommendations are one of the best ways of making your institution distinct from the others. Rather than the university advertising itself, word of mouth and other indirect promotion mean students, their families and the public share their good impressions and experiences of the institution, which can be invaluable in terms of putting the university one step ahead.

Ayten Ordu is a lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Near East University, North Cyprus. Her research focuses on various aspects of civil law.

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