As most of you will know, our friends at Student Hut have been running a Covid Tracker for the last 14 weeks, to track and record the constantly evolving thoughts and opinions of the student audience during Covid-19. Last week's findings were particularly invaluable due to the insight they afforded us regarding 2020's Clearing. Plans have been thrown off track, open days turned virtual, towns are looking down the barrel of further lockdowns, and 2020 Clearing is set to be the most competitive one yet. So here’s what they found, and the data you absolutely need:
38% of students said that they are now thinking about applying via Clearing, a figure which could show a significant increase compared to the 12% of students who were placed via Clearing in 2019.
We know that the vast majority of students are still planning to go to university, with almost 90% saying they will be going this autumn, but with predicted grades and worrisome commutes, Clearing may be a way for students to take control of a difficult and stressful situation and potentially turn it to their advantage by upgrading their chosen institution, swapping courses, or moving closer to home.
This shouldn’t be news to you, however, because last time Student Hut found that 19% of prospective undergraduate students are considering changing their course and 16% are considering changing their university. In other words, students are keeping their options open.
And don’t forget those prospective students who may fall between the cracks if you’re not properly prepared. Clearing could be how you show them there is still a way to get to university - to your university. Almost one in 10 students said they were still planning to go to university, but that they were now planning to defer for a year, or more. And 2% of prospective students said they were unsure whether they were still planning to attend university.
“I might be forced to defer because of results.”
While these students may be deferring for several reasons, tackling Covid campus safety, possibilities for Clearing and how the university experience will be different this year in your messaging are all very good places to start. We know from the NCS that 46% of students felt nervous going through the Clearing process last year, so the question is how many of these students that are planning to defer, are doing so because they’ve written off Clearing as an option?
Long story short: It’s time to get ready. This year will bring the most dynamic and competitive Clearing ever, which gives you the opportunity to shore up your recruitment. Now, more than ever, you need to make sure you’re ahead of the game to attract and convert those students who have lost hope with their predicted grades, are hoping to switch courses, want to change university, or have decided to apply directly. Be ‘in the market’ with your Clearing advertising and content strategy; there’s no such thing as 'job done' this year when the stakes are so high, and changing plans are at the forefront of students’ minds.
Are you ready? Let's talk strategy today and make sure you don’t miss out on your last chance to book your summer campaigns here.
And if you want to discover more about the current student sentiment around Clearing 2020 and students' plans for August, September and beyond, make sure you upgrade to receive the full report.