The Royal Agricultural College (RAC) has scooped gold at the 2008 Heist awards, the ‘Oscars’ of higher education marketing. The results were announced at a prestigious award ceremony at Madam Tussauds hosted by GMTV presenter, Fiona Phillips.

The College won the coveted national award for its stylish undergraduate prospectus, of which tens of thousands of copies have been distributed to prospective students, both across the UK and internationally.

RAC Principal, Professor Chris Gaskell praised the work of those involved: “It is a superb achievement and reflects tremendously on the work the RAC Marketing Department, whilst raising the profile of the College across higher education.”

The Heist Awards programme celebrates excellence in education marketing and is held in high esteem across the sector. A panel of expert judges deemed the RAC as having the best higher education prospectus in the country, including those of much larger universities, who provided stiff competition. The RAC Marketing team attended the awards with the Principal, Professor Chris Gaskell, the Vice-Principal, Professor Paul Davies, along with the design agency, Thomas and Cosh and print house, Belmont Press.

Heist reported: "Always the most popular Award with entrants, the judges spent a great deal of time considering the shortlist and the significant majority placed the Royal Agricultural College at the top of their pile. The publication is well targeted for its market and is written in a refreshing manner that speaks directly to the reader. Good use of strong black and white photography adds atmosphere to the prospectus and this is supported by good imagery throughout and a clean and clear presentation of college information."

The RAC has recently redesigned its promotional literature, including the award-winning prospectus. This has played a significant part in attracting prospective students to Open Days in the last 12 months, with increases of over 100% compared to the previous year and interest in the College showing no sign of slowing.

It seems that once students have experienced a day at the RAC they are keen to sign up to study at the historic establishment; applications to the College are up by 24% according to recent UCAS data. This is even more impressive when set against a backdrop of decreasing numbers of applications from prospective students throughout the sector, with an average decrease in applications of -7% nationally.

RAC Head of Marketing and Development, Jo Carpenter, commented: “The Marketing Department are absolutely thrilled to receive national recognition for our recruitment efforts, which is a result of the hard work of all members of our small team, who strive to recruit students in an increasingly competitive market.”