Our senior correspondent Andrew Weltch issues a warning about fake university websites.
At Weltch Media, we’re very familiar with university websites. Higher education is one of our specialist fields, and much of our writing is for clients’ sites.
Last year we worked with Swansea University to create the content for all its course pages and more – and our work helped it to win awards.
We’ve carried out similar large-scale projects for other universities in the past, and we’re now working again with our friends at EMPRA to start a similar project for another UK university.
Despite their obvious similarities – they all teach and do research and they want to recruit students – universities have their own distinct personalities.
Sometimes this is influenced by their location or their history, or perhaps by the subjects they specialise in for teaching or research.
One thing our higher education clients have always had in common, though, is that they exist. And that isn’t true of every university website.
Some ‘university’ websites aren’t what they seem – they’re just money-making scams to fool potential students. Thankfully, these are very rare in the UK, but recently (October 2019) a site for the so-called College of Suffolk appeared.
Using a photo of the (very real!) University of Suffolk, it claimed to offer degree courses in acting, musical theatre, dance and performance, for fees ranging from £3,500 to £8,900.
Aimed mainly at the overseas market, it quoted Suffolk’s connections with Ed Sheeran and Harry Potter, before being shut down by local trading standards officials.
So, if you’re student looking for a place to study – do check that the university is real, especially before you part with any money. And, if you’re a university, interested in engaging our services – we’re not going to help you if you don’t exist!