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2017 Clearing webinar: Behind the scenes of results day

Not so long ago Clearing was seen as the ‘bargain bucket’ option, the last resort for prospective students that didn’t quite make the grades for their first choice course or university. In the past few years, this stigma has slowly started to shift and Clearing has become the second most popular entry route for undergraduate study in the UK.

2017 has seen a dip in the UK 18-year-old population and uncertainties surrounding the future of EU students in the UK resulting in a drop in Undergraduate applications.  As a result, more universities than ever before have entered the Clearing market.

Russell group and high tariff universities entering the Clearing market for the first time has left many lower tariff universities fighting to reach their undergraduate enrolment targets. With so many changes shaking the Clearing market, we took a look behind the scenes of ‘results day’ at Gecko Labs to identify some of the trends and tactics we noticed during Clearing.

We’ll start with the obvious, A-level results day is the busiest day of the year for admissions teams processing applications and enquiries. We found that universities captured nearly 37% of their overall Clearing enquiries on results day, with 30 universities capturing over 7,500 enquiries.

The second most popular day for enquiry capture took us a bit by surprise. Our data shows universities capture 77% more enquiries in the three days leading up to A-level results compared to the three days following. Meaning that students start to think about alternative routes and courses before they have even received their results!

To cope with the increased demand on admissions teams, universities traditionally employ temporary staff, student ambassadors, support teams and academic support to help with the busy period. By growing teams, universities are able to process more enquiries and respond quicker to prospective students.

Growing teams to cope with demand isn’t a particularly new or groundbreaking concept, but the tasks and methods that teams are using to process enquiries and applications during Clearing is.

This year, universities swapped call hotlines in favour of digital forms for initial enquiry capture. Through digital forms, universities were able to automate follow-up based on form input, sending unsuccessful students appropriate emails and sending successful students details to a member of their team to follow-up in a call campaign.

Less process and less time on the phone means that admissions teams are streamlining their process, spending their time talking to students that they know are the right fit for their university. Admissions teams are now processing enquiries and applications quicker than ever before and in turn, unsuccessful students aren’t wasting their time waiting in call queues for universities that are not the right fit for them.

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If you would like to find out more about digital trends and tactics from Clearing 2017 watch VP of Customer Success, Chris Gibson and University of Southampton CRM Manager, Aimee Ellis discuss on The Gecko Academy.