As we work hard behind the scenes to get the seventh National Clearing Survey ready for the eyes of the sector, we wanted to share some of the most actionable and useful insights from this year’s edition, to help you make an incremental difference to your comms leading up to the January UCAS deadline. You may not have long before the 2021 applications are locked and loaded, but you do still have time to make a real impact, with just some simple pivots. 

And this is only a taster of what’s to come, so if you would like to read the full report, understand how the Clearing personas are impacted differently, and find out what’s to come for summer 2021, keep your eyes peeled for the updates come January. 

Where you’re communicating

We all know it, things have changed this year. Priorities, affinities and communities have all shifted, and while many may revert back to a normality we’re familiar with, others have readjusted forever. TikTok being one of those latter things. And while the trajectory of TikTok may not be a surprise to many, the sheer rate of this platform’s growing popularity is something that cannot be ignored. 

This year’s National Clearing Survey shows that more than one in three Clearing students are now using TikTok daily, an incredible 1167% increase from 2019. And this trend shows no signs of slowing. 

Are you already on TikTok but don’t know where to start? Have you been dipping your toes in the water? Or have you simply not got round to creating an account yet? If the answer is yes to any one of these questions, it’s time to pull the trigger. Get your students’ stories heard over TikTok, authentically and organically, and do it before January’s deadlines roll around. This platform can get your brand in the front of prospective students’ minds, and if you need some guidance on how to get going, download your new TikTok bible here. ​

TIKTOK student daily useage

What you’re communicating

One in four Clearing students rated online learning as 10/10 important when choosing an institution.

But let’s face it, we’re all fed up and exhausted by the thought of yet another Zoom call. Our parents-in-law tell us the quiz will be fun and interactive, but how fun can it really be through a screen?

Students share this same fatigue. Not just in response to more online provision, but to every institution telling them the same message: that their online learning is different – the irony.

Students are telling you online learning is critical to their decision making, so if you’re doing something innovative and exciting, show them. Many institutions offer behind-the-scenes, interactive insight into what online seminars and lectures are really like during their virtual open day events, and that content is gold. Dust it off and repurpose it for your January social and email campaigns. 

Don’t hope that students will believe you when you say your online learning is better, make it so they can’t help but know it. 

“Digital fatigue is very real, people are longing to connect with others. How can you create immersive, emotional experiences that captivate the attention of prospective students and incentivise them to engage their parents or friends in the activity? It’s going to be critical in this landscape.”

- - Joe Gualtiere, Net Natives, Head of Campaigns

How you’re communicating

Sadly, but unfortunately not surprisingly, one in three Clearing students say mental health is a blocker to going to university. While this has been a poignant tone to university activity across the entirety of this year, January, and beyond, will be no different. The fallout of this turbulent time will be ongoing, especially for the more vulnerable students, so don’t wait until next Clearing to start with tangible acts of support. 

In your comms are you highlighting the services you have available now for new students? Are you considering the headspace many students are currently experiencing after a year of exam cancellations, changing grades and possible personal loss? While this new chapter of university may be exciting, with new opportunities, new beginnings and new identities, those messages may not be what students are wanting to hear right now… Be sure you’re selling the right type of experience, in the right way.  

Where, what and how to communicate with your students right now. Just three points from the National Clearing Survey that you can take on board and action before January’s deadline to make a difference. Each one of the Clearing personas are being impacted and directed differently, so be sure to keep updated once the full report is out in January to understand the full picture, and what that means for you in 2021. In the meantime, get in touch with our strategists to get ahead of Clearing before the new year rush. ​

Article by

Eleana Davidson Native Author

Eleana Davidson

Senior Marketing Executive