Case study: The University of Sheffield, Clearing 2019




The University of Sheffield had seen how much value peer-to-peer conversations added to the experience of interacting with the University from their use of TAP. Going into 2019’s Clearing period, they wanted to give prospective students the chance to speak directly with current students to help them decide where to study. So, they put our platform at the heart of their Clearing efforts, with impressive results.

At-a-glance results

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87% of clearing leads go on to register as a student

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68 prospects from 19 different countries across the whole month

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808 total messages exchanged

See Sheffield's TAP Page

The Challenge



For UK universities, clearing - where students who have either surpassed their predicted grades, not met their original offers or even only just entered the market to apply direct to universities, rather than using UCAS - has become one of the most important parts of the recruitment cycle. Although clearing is open from July to September, activity peaks on A-level results day (when UK students discover their grades) and the days that immediately follow.



The challenge for universities in clearing is standing out; how can they cut through the noise and find students who would be a good fit for their institution? One such way is to use the power of peer recruitment and enable prospects to have direct conversations with current students.



Sheffield realised the value of peer-to-peer conversations in giving clearing applicants an authentic and personal connection to their university, and a safe space to ask the questions they really wanted to know, so put our platform at the heart of their clearing activity.

Why TAP?

Direct conversations

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Our chat feature allowed for authentic, peer-to-peer conversations between prospects and Sheffield’s Student Ambassadors. These conversations helped answer burning questions, inform students’ decision making and bring a truly personal approach to one of the busiest times of the UK higher education calendar.

Easy promotion

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Our pop cards offered an eye-catching and effective way to promote Sheffield’s Ambassadors directly on the University's clearing homepage, which offered the bespoke, student-led digital experience that other providers simply couldn’t provide.

Safeguarding built in

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Our ‘safeguarding by design’ approach to building our platform – with in-built checks and alerts – offered a safe space for conversation and reflected Sheffield’s passion for safeguarding.

See Sheffield's TAP Page

Set up



15 Student Ambassadors already had profiles, another 4 were added just for clearing



Created a bespoke landing page for the duration of the campaign



Pop-card added to the University’s clearing homepage to maximise visibility and drive traffic



Promoted direct to clearing applicants via email




Comments from prospects



“Thank you so much for all your help and answers, if I think of anything else I’ll be sure to message you!” (UK prospect)




“I don't know what to say but a big thank you sis.😘 You have shared me a lot of information about your experience. I find it totally fun to know about your life there and also about your journey to get there.” (Prospect from Malaysia)




“Thank you so much for everything! It is so great to be able to talk to someone who is studying what I am interested in!” (UK prospect)

“We were looking for a way to incorporate more of our student voice into our clearing campaign. We've tried web chats in the past but TAP enabled prospective students to make an instant connection with our current students when they were needing to make quick but important decisions.

"We were really pleased with the outcome of our clearing campaign. The registration data shows that TAP is an extremely useful tool in helping prospects make an informed decision about where they are going to study. 

“During the campaign, our student ambassadors were able to have some very insightful conversations with prospects struggling with a big decision they needed to make in a short space of time. Ambassadors were able to genuinely reassure prospective students and share their experience in a very accessible way."

Jo Thompson, The University of Sheffield's Senior UK Student Recruitment Officer (Student Voice)




Of the 15 clearing-specific new leads who chatted to Sheffield students via TAP, 13 of them went onto register as a student and enrol - that’s an 87% lead-to-enrolment rate. Across the whole month, Sheffield saw 17 of 68 leads register - a 25% lead-to-enrolment rate.



Over the month of August, 808 messages were exchanged on Sheffield’s TAP Page. 632 of these were sent either on A-level results day or during the two weeks after it - 78% of the total messages.



Students from 19 different countries - across five continents - engaged with Sheffield’s Student Ambassadors during August 2019.



The most popular topic of conversation was course details, followed by the clearing process, entry requirements, university life and accommodation.



Most conversations ran across 1-2 days and saw, on average, 10 messages exchanged.



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