The perception of Clearing has changed: students no longer view the system as an afterthought to university entry, rather a platform to access better opportunities. Students are actively applying through Clearing and earlier in the year than ever before. We conducted a flash survey, asking over 200 students about their thoughts, feelings and behaviours towards Clearing in 2020/21. Let’s take a look at what they had to say. 

Pre-Clearing planning is starting early.

While the largest percentage of students said they will start their planning in August at 38.5%, a sizeable 30% said they’ll start in June and 31% in July, which is why your pre-Clearing campaigns are crucial. 

And naturally, you’ll now be spending the next couple of months gearing up for Results Day and Clearing. But the next two months also present a huge opportunity to recruit and generate even more applications, at an even better ROI. Find out what our friends at Akero suggest you do right now to seize the opportunity.

Clearing equals opportunity. And not just for the students.

Over 45% of students reported going through Clearing in search of more opportunities, with 25% looking for different universities to apply to and 20% for increased course options. Clearing is now an active choice for students, so get their sights set on your institution early by getting clever with your nurture strategy.

And while Clearing 2021 is ramping up to be an incredibly busy time, it's still all to play for. 47% haven't yet decided which universities they will apply to via Clearing, so there’s still time for your institution to showcase why you’re the right higher education choice for them. Bold, disruptive adverts and creative are key to standing out, in addition to advertising on the platforms your students are on. Here’s our student marketer’s guide to TikTok, Snapchat and native content

There’s still some confusion around Clearing. 

Our survey revealed that 17% of students feel confused about applying via Clearing. But, with a clever messaging and nurture strategy, you can tackle their queries and reassure those who are confused about the process.

“Clearing should be better known by students as most haven't heard of it.”

Talk to your prospective students and understand their concerns and queries. Then, make your messaging clear, concise and consistent across all of your platforms, from your website to your advertising copy. Upgrade your technology and allocate a team dedicated to student queries so you can answer questions 24/7 on the technology students are using. Remember, if your competitors are more efficient with their communications, you’ll miss out on the chance to connect with these students and they’ll opt for another institution. Make it easy for them to choose you with quick, easy and friendly communications.   

Clearing has evolved from panic-stricken last-minute phone calls on Results Day to careful thought and planning for months beforehand. Institutions need to pivot their approach to tackle these changes in student behaviour and take their slice of the Clearing student pie. Dig deep into the different Clearing student personas, and discover the behaviours of the Direct Applicant and how to win them over in this blog

For more advice and guidance on your Clearing campaigns and strategy, get in touch today and take a look at our other resources on Clearing here

Article by

Celia McCarthy

Researcher