From Print to Pixel: What’s the Best University Prospectus?

Cover of a university digital prospectus showing navigation buttons and interactive elements

Getting to university is no small task, and access to comprehensive, reliable information is super important. Let’s look at how you can use the different types of university prospectus to find out what’s best as you do your research.

The changing form of the university prospectus

Among all the resources available to you, the university prospectus stands out as a pivotal guide, offering you a good look into the academic offerings, culture and opportunities of potential universities. University prospectuses are free and every university has one in some form or other.

Two students researching together pointing to a laptop and a book while talking

The debate between digital and physical prospectuses has become more relevant as technology evolves, with the best university digital prospectus now aiming to meet your needs in today’s digital age.

Understanding university prospectuses: what are they useful for?

A university prospectus is an invaluable resource when you’re thinking about what to study at university; you can use them to find insights into courses, facilities, campus life, admissions criteria and finances.

  • Course details: Comprehensive information on modules, assessment methods and academic expectations.
  • University facilities: Overviews of libraries, sports centres, student unions and other campus amenities.
  • Campus life: An inside look into clubs, societies, student support services and the overall community atmosphere.
  • Admissions criteria: Essential information on entry requirements, application deadlines and selection processes.
  • Financial information: Guidance on tuition fees, scholarships, financial aid and budgeting for your studies.

So, is the printed prospectus dead?

Not at all. Despite the convenience of digital formats, a printed prospectus still holds a special place for many students. According to a study highlighted by Hecom, 65% of students like you prefer printed materials for their reliability and ease of note-taking. So, it continues to play a crucial role in the decision-making process.

Close up of a pile of colourful open university prospectuses on a table

Is everyone going digital?

The move towards digital is pretty clear. UCAS is going digital to make the university application process better for you. Their UCAS digital strategy involves using technology and smart data to help you find the right university. With digital prospectuses, the idea is that you have all the online tools and info you need to make a smart choice for your future in higher education.

Young person in a library setting looking at a tablet with graphics of digital information around them

While you might still like the feel of the physical version, applications are online so that looks like where things are going.

What makes a good university digital prospectus?

As you’ll see there are lots of advantages to using digital prospectuses. To get an expert opinion how you might benefit from their added functionality, here’s Design Manager Mark Toynbee who recently used publishing platform Foleon to make the University of Brighton’s digital prospectus.

Profile image of Mark Toynbee a Design Manager

“You can navigate through the prospectus using interactive features and search functions, getting access to information anytime, anywhere, across multiple devices and platforms”

– Mark Toynbee, Design Manager

City view of university campus with new buildings with invite to click button to view digital prospectus
Take a look for yourself… ↑

5 reasons why you should download a university prospectus

Downloading a university prospectus is quick, easy and helpful in the application process. You’re probably spending way more time online than reading books, so it really makes sense.

The best university digital prospectus will get you:

  • Streamlined access to information: Quickly find what you’re looking for, anytime, anywhere
  • Personalised content: Get recommendations based on your interests and previous searches
  • Interactive and engaging features: Virtual tours and video testimonials bring the campus to life
  • Up-to-date information: Always have the latest course and admission updates at your fingertips
  • And be environmentally sustainable: Choosing digital means making a greener choice.

Streamlined access to information and bookmarking

Digital prospectuses are all about making your journey to university as smooth as possible. Picture this: with just a few clicks, you’ve got a world of information right at your fingertips – from university courses to what the campus life is really like, and it’s all accessible anytime, anywhere.

This convenience means you’re free to dive deep into your options, way beyond what a stack of physical brochures might offer. Plus, you can bookmark pages directly in your browser, making it super easy to come back to the stuff that catches your eye. And those handy integrated tools for note-taking? They’re a game-changer for keeping track of your thoughts and insights as you go.

Two students talking on a purple sofa in bright sunlight

Personalised content at your fingertips

Tapping into the magic of data, some digital prospectuses have this cool ability to get personal. Some can even use your interests, your past searches, and even your application history to serve up recommendations that are just for you.

Imagine you’re wanting to go to university as an undergraduate and you’re getting course suggestions and insights into university facilities that align perfectly with what you’re all about? This tailor-made approach is all about empowering you to make decisions that are not just good, but great for your future.

Interactive and engaging features

Digital prospectuses really bring the university experience to life in a way printed ones just can’t match. Picture embarking on virtual campus tours, diving into video testimonials from students who are already living the uni life, and navigating through interactive maps.

Signpost with signs pointing to Who, why, what, when and questions, in front of blue sky

These features pull you into an immersive experience, giving you a genuine taste of campus life and the vibrant community you’re considering becoming a part of. It’s like having a front-row seat to your future, enabling you to connect with the university on a whole new level.

Up-to-date and relevant information

The beauty of digital prospectuses lies in their ability to stay up-to-the-minute with the latest updates. Whether it’s new course offerings, changes in admission requirements, or the latest scholarship opportunities, everything is kept fresh.

When it comes to the myriad of things to consider when choosing a university, you need the best university prospectuses to base your decisions on. You’ll want the most current and relevant information out there. Simply hit refresh on your browser, and voila, you’re equipped with the latest insights to guide your university selection process

Environmental sustainability

Choosing a digital prospectus isn’t just about convenience; it’s a step towards a greener planet. By moving away from print, you’re helping to cut down on paper consumption and reduce the carbon footprint that comes from producing and distributing traditional brochures. This choice supports the wider goals of environmental sustainability, making a positive impact with every click.

Person using phone at their desk with green symbols above them of environmental elements such as windfarms and solar panels

Keep in mind, the latest digital tools are crafted with you at the heart of their design. They’re here to make your application journey as smooth and enriching as possible.

But this is just the start: Embracing a digital prospectus opens the door to a digital journey that not only guides you to the right university but does so in a way that’s kind to our world.

So, what’s the best prospectus: digital vs. physical?

It’s not really about one being the best or better than the other; it’s about which one suits your needs at different stages of your decision-making process. Both formats have their unique advantages and cater to different preferences. Here’s a simple comparison table.

FeatureDigital ProspectusPhysical Prospectus
AccessibilityInstant access, anywhereNeeds physical distribution
Up-to-Date InformationEasily updated with the latest detailsMay not reflect the most recent changes
InteractivityRich multimedia featuresStatic, but offers a tangible experience
Environmental ImpactMore sustainableHigher environmental footprint
TrustworthinessEvolving credibilityTraditionally seen as more authoritative
Student stood in front of river with bridge in background looking at an open prospectus

Conclusion: Choosing your prospectus

The journey to choosing the right university is a personal and complex decision and you’ll be looking at lots of information along the way.

Whether you lean towards the tangible feel of printed materials or the dynamic and up-to-date nature of the best university digital prospectuses, the key is to use these resources as a comprehensive guide to help visualize your future in higher education. And of course you don’t need to pick just one format – you can use both.

Explore, question and use the best prospectus you can find, digital or physical, as a tool to inform one of the most significant decisions of your academic career.

Good luck in your information seeking!

  • UCAS’s Digital Strategy 2020-25: You can explore the details of this strategy and its implications for your university application process on the official UCAS website. (
  • Hecom study on prospectus preferences: in 2022 Hecom brought together lots of useful information about prospectus preferences (