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18th June 2024

Insights into Student Decisions Before July Clearing Starts

We highlight some of the key takeaways from UniCompare's Pre-Clearing Survey.

Student life and employability are increasingly shaping student decisions, so universities should capitalise on this.

The UniCompare report surveys the opinions and priorities of 1,634 students as they plan their higher education choices. It focuses on their attitudes and behaviours leading up to Clearing and Results Day. The data highlights several key trends and changes from the previous year:

1. Decreasing January UCAS Applications:

There was a slight decrease in the number of students who had already applied through UCAS in January, dropping from 73.6% in 2023 to 70.8% in 2024. This could be attributed to growing confidence in applying later giving the student more time to decide on where and what they want to do in the future.

2. Changing Choices:

More students are reconsidering their course or university choices post-UCAS deadline. In 2024, 16.2% of students reported changing their minds, up from 12.3% in 2023. However, the number of students who were unsure about changing decreased, suggesting increased decisiveness.

3. Results Day Apprehension:

Slightly more students feel nervous about Results Day in 2024 (80.8%) compared to 2023 (79.9%), indicating a minor rise in apprehension and the continued need for supportive measures. Wales tops the list of nervousness by region, with 97% of students feeling apprehensive, followed by Eastern England at 92% and South East England at 90%.

4. Confidence in Predicted Grades:

Student confidence in achieving predicted grades slightly increased from 47.1% in 2023 to 48.5% in 2024. Those who were unsure about getting their grades decreased. However there is a slight rise in those who do not think they will achieve their grades – suggesting a mix in confidence levels.

5. Communication Preferences:

There has been a significant shift in preferred communication methods for Clearing. Email and phone use has declined, while WhatsApp usage surged from 11.2% to 23.2%, reflecting a preference for more informal and immediate communication.

6. University Selection

Course quality remains the top priority for students when selecting a Clearing university. However, cost of living dropped in importance. Student life and employability gained prominence, reflecting bigger concerns about the overall university experience and future career prospects.

7. Social Media for Clearing Research

Instagram is the most preferred platform for Clearing research, followed closely by TikTok, which is really gaining traction as a search tool among students. Interestingly, Reddit is also increasing in popularity, while Snapchat’s usage has declined significantly.

There are some key takeaways from this report – student life and employability are increasingly shaping student decisions, universities can capitalise on this by highlighting vibrant campus experiences, success stories, and career outcomes through interviews and case studies. Platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Reddit offer direct engagement opportunities with prospective students through virtual tours, student testimonials, and interactive Q&A sessions. Embracing WhatsApp as one of the preferred communication channels during critical Clearing phases can also improve responsiveness.

Reach out today to discuss how we can hep refine your Clearing marketing strategy. Contact marketing@hunterlodge.co.uk for more.

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