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Streamlining Student Recruitment Programme

Streamlined Student Recruitment and Admissions Programme

Transforming the applicant experience

Durham University recognises that its exceptionally high standards for student experience start with the pre-applicant and applicant experience. As online interactions have been transformed by mobile and other technologies, there are opportunities to keep pace with these changes to enhance the responsiveness, openess and quality of the University's applicant experience.

The Streamlined Student Recruitment and Admissions Programme is about delivering the changes needed to allow us to meet the expectations of all prospective students in the most efficient manner possible.

Undergraduate and postgraduate recruitment and selection: a changing landscape

The student recruitment and admissions landscape at UK universities is changing at an increasing pace. The past 10 years have seen significant shifts that have impacted admissions to both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, including changes to funding sources and arrangements, qualification reforms, visa and immigration rule changes, and extended periods of economic and political uncertainty. As a result, competition for students has increased and the needs and expectations of applicants and students have also changed. Whilst Durham University has continued to perform strongly during this period, we cannot be complacent.

There will inevitably be further developments and changes ahead, and Durham University needs to ensure that it is able to respond quickly and flexibly. To support the University in fulfilling its longer term academic and strategic ambitions by continuing to seek to recruit the most able and suitable candidates, we recognise that our recruitment and admissions processes and systems must deliver a positive, efficient and effective experience, from the very first point of contact.

Strategic Review of Admissions: where we are, where we want to be

In response to this rapidly changing recruitment environment and to ensure that Durham continues to deliver a service and experience that meets the needs of applicants and students, a Strategic Review of Admissions was completed in 2014. Following an assessment of the University’s current processes and practices, a series of recommendations were proposed and approved by Senate. These formed the foundation of the Streamlined Student Recruitment and Admissions Programme: an ambitious series of projects to transform the applicant experience, under the direction of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education.

The Streamlined Student Recruitment and Admissions Programme (SSRAP) will deliver an optimised recruitment and admissions system able to respond flexibly to change and enhance the quality of the experience, from first point of contact through to enrolment. To support this, it will deliver:

  • Improved coordination of recruitment and conversion activity, in turn improving the experience for enquirers and applicants;
  • An efficient, effective, targeted and tailored admissions process that draws on the relevant expertise and input of the right staff at the right stage of the process;
  • A single, consistent customer relationship management (CRM) system and an online customer portal to support the entire journey, enhancing the experience of enquirers, applicants and students through high quality, timely, useful and targeted communications.
  • A University-wide, joined up approach with consistent processes that deliver an improved experience for enquirers, applicants and University staff.
  • Improved visibility of student recruitment activity to allow the University to better evaluate, focus and plan more effective and engaging recruitment activities.

The Programme commenced in 2015, working with colleagues in Durham University Business School and the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office to review and improve recruitment and admissions processes for postgraduate taught programmes at the Business School. The first phase of the Programme delivered new core working processes supported by a new customer relationship management (CRM) system in April 2017.

Phase 2 of the Programme is due to commence later in 2017, with a focus on implementing new core working processes and enhanced IT tools that support undergraduate and taught postgraduate recruitment and admissions, and transform the future experience, from initial enquiry to enrolment.

Please visit this page for further updates on plans and timescales for Phase 2 of this exciting and ambitious programme of work.

Streamlined Student Recruitment and Admissions Programme Evolution

In mid-2017 the SSRAP transitioned as part of the Durham Operational Excellence Strategy into the Recruiting the Next Generation of Students (RNGS) Programme. RGNS is to deliver a high quality, cost-effective student recruitment and admissions function, focused on recruiting and converting an increasingly diverse body of high calibre students. For more information refer to the programme website (internal only).

Programme Manager: Mrs Janet Forster-Jones

Programme Support Officer: Mr Ryan Rowntree

You can contact them at


Durham University is delighted to be working in collaboration with two external partners with a wealth of expertise and experience in transforming the pre-applicant and applicant experience within higher education institutions.

PA Consulting

  • Leading the design of a new optimised process / operating model.
  • Business intelligence.
  • Training and supporting University staff.

Crimson Consultants

  • CRM development and implementation.
  • Data integration and migration.
  • Online customer portal design and integration.
  • CRM user and admin training.