Clearing 2020 - Behind the scenes

Clearing graphic

Clearing is always a huge operation for the University, but circumstances this year have provided us with some additional challenges. A sincere thank you goes to all colleagues across professional and academic services working on student recruitment activity for our 2020 clearing intake.

This year, clearing is likely to be highly competitive and in an uncertain market, we have been doing everything we can to support student recruitment and communicate Sheffield’s distinct offer. This includes a digital advertising campaign for home and international students, an organic social media campaign, direct email communications to prospective students, and media coverage.

Our Vice-Chancellor, Koen Lamberts, extends his thanks to all colleagues involved in clearing:

"I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all colleagues involved in clearing. I am aware of the huge effort that has already gone into preparing for today, especially in the very different circumstances we find ourselves in this year. This is a vital opportunity to showcase the exceptional offer that our University has for prospective students and I would like to thank you for all your efforts at this busy and challenging time."

On the day

Social distancing measures mean that this year, apart from a small core team who will be in The Diamond, our clearing activity will operate virtually. Thank you to our admissions team and colleagues in IT Services in setting up a remote system to enable colleagues to deliver clearing from home. Volunteers from across the University have also been recruited and trained to support the clearing helpline from home. The team of 20 staff and 95 student volunteers will be working across the two days of clearing, answering calls on the clearing hotline and ringing successful candidates to offer them a place.

A core team within Corporate Communications and Student Recruitment and Admissions will be monitoring social media activity, competitor behaviour and triaging enquiries. The media team will also be proactively pitching out key stats from our virtual call centre to the press. Although there won’t be the buzz of the clearing hub in the Diamond this year, the team will be scheduling Google hangouts and have a Google Chat to stay in touch throughout the day.

All students who have been confirmed will be congratulated by email at 10am on getting into the University with links to join the Facebook group or chat to current students. Any new clearing offer holders will receive an invitation to the clearing open day. These communications mark the start of our regular email series which lead up to arrival, with four weekly themed newsletters.

Our clearing open day will take place on Saturday 15 August and is an important part of our conversion process during clearing. This will operate virtually this year following a similar blueprint to our other in cycle virtual events. We'd like to thank all colleagues involved for ensuring so many prospective students are still able to have a Sheffield experience, despite the current situation.

The support of our teams who work on clearing is hugely important to the operation. We're really grateful for the extra support of volunteers, as it means we can deliver an even more efficient and supportive service to applicants, on what can be a stressful and disorientating day for them.

Key pieces of media activity include:

Wyn Morgan outlines the extra support and reassurance available for students during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Guardian

Wyn Morgan explains what the next academic year might look like and why now is a great time to study at university.

The Guardian and Sky News

Our Vice-Chancellor, Koen Lamberts, explains why students should think carefully before deferring due to coronavirus as this year students will have more choices open to them.

The Guardian