Bedford College Group: Increasing Student Applications

“Continuous student feedback is vital to understand the application journey and experience first-hand. Without it, we couldn’t have improved the process to attract more students.” Bedford College Group.

The Bedford College Group is one of the country's largest and leading further education groups, having merged with Central Bedfordshire College. Offering various learning and courses to suit students of varying ages and backgrounds, the College won the title of FE College of the Year in the prestigious Times Educational Supplement (TES) Further Education awards.


Bedford College Group logo

Bedford College Group: Project Overview

UK Colleges rely on Government funding through grants for each qualifying student. To remain profitable, increasing enrolment and decreasing student dropouts is crucial.

The Group identified attracting students to open days, converting them to applicants, and retaining enrolled students as critical touchpoints for reviewing and improving the student experience and retention rates.

Partnering with Graham Hill of insight6 Bucks, Beds, and Oxon, The Bedford College Group conducted CX Reviews (mystery shopping) of its regular open days. It undertook customer journey mapping to assess the effectiveness of its application process.

Bedford College Group insight6 uses feedback to uplift student applications

Our Approach

insight6 researched the student journey of school leavers (16-18-year-olds) in selecting their future study route. Understanding the student application journey is essential to the success of an institution.

Then, we investigated touchpoints from online research to application and identified opportunities for engagement. We conducted CX Reviews (mystery shops) on open days to measure experience and conversion rates. We also recruited students to start the application process to review their journey from application to enrolment.

CX Solutions

The student journey map revealed 60 new opportunities to engage potential students. Focus groups assessed the changes to the application process, and we used our bespoke feedback tool to collect and analyse mystery shopping.

The research highlighted opportunities for improving communication to meet subjects' needs and varying experiences, resulting in training on response speed and tone of voice. insight6 also conducted a perception study by interviewing non-students in local towns to gain a holistic view of The Bedford College Group.

Bedford College Group insight6 CX Solutions


Project Outcomes

Based on the feedback and enhancements received, The Bedford College Group increased its Open Days to Applications conversion rate by 7% to 56%. In the competitive world of higher education, increasing student applications is essential to an institution's success. In 2022, The Bedford College Group received an extra 50 applications from Open Days, equating to an increase of £200,000 in income for the institution.


insight6's end-to-end customer experience (CX) solutions have earned us a reputation as the partner of choice for many forward-thinking higher education institutions. Our network of local specialists provides on-the-ground support. Don't let an inadequate application journey or unhappy students ruin your reputation or impact your success. Get in touch today to schedule a no-obligation chat with your local CX specialist or a free demo of our total feedback solution—instant insight.