Applicants make light use of web

April 6, 2001

University applicants make little use of online information, according to a survey released this week by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

Most applicants use traditional prospectuses to make their choices and use the telephone if they have any queries, the survey found.

About 1,300 people who applied for a place starting in autumn 2000 responded to the survey, which was designed to test customer satisfaction. It was unveiled at this week's meeting of university admissions officers in Southampton.

Tony Higgins, chief executive of Ucas, said: "We are delighted that the survey found that Ucas had improved its efficiency and customer service in many areas.

"But we also received some valid criticism and there is no room for complacency. For example, 81 per cent of those who responded would like our telephone helpline to operate after 6pm. We are now conducting a review of all our telephone services."

A printed prospectus was the most important influence on applicants, with 93 per cent consulting such a publication, the survey found. Some 74 per cent visited institutions and 58 per cent also looked at individual university or college websites.

Fewer than half of prospective students consulted the Ucas website before or after submitting their application forms.

Of the students who contacted Ucas to discuss their applications, 93 per cent used the telephone while 8 per cent sent an email and 2 per cent connected through the website.

Nevertheless, per cent of potential students would prefer to apply electronically. Last year, 12 per cent of students did so.

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