UK Higher Education

Unis Compete for Top Students During Clearing

This summer’s Clearing looks to be as competitive as ever, but how that competition manifests itself has changed and shifted over the past few years – it is no longer a competition between students for a place at university, it is the universities themselves competing not just to recruit students but to recruit the very best and well-qualified students that they can.

Student Perceptions

Students’ perceptions of Clearing are also changing; it is no longer seen as a fall-back option for students with less than adequate results. More and more universities are recruiting highly qualified, successful students through Clearing. In 2017 seventeen Russell Group Universities entered Clearing and more and more students are using Clearing to upgrade their university choices once they have their results – finding that they can gain places at well-ranked universities through Clearing.

Students are aware that many universities that previously weren’t in Clearing now have places available. They are fully conscious of the recent shift in the balance of power and the move towards a buyers’ market. Students are able to look for the best offers available to them, taking into account a range of factors, making careful comparisons. For the vast majority of students in Clearing, the days of taking the first offer they get in desperation to secure their place, are gone.

Delivering High Conversions

Backing this up is the fact that here at Hotcourses Group we are seeing the usual seasonal increases in traffic to the Whatuni and Complete University Guide Clearing pages begin earlier than in previous years. Students are already researching their options for Clearing and preparing themselves for results day.

With Clearing seemingly over and done with quicker every year, it is important that universities get their messaging in front of students, students who are actively looking for places in Clearing. Last year the Complete University Guide and Whatuni had over a quarter of a million visits on A-Level results day alone, with both sites delivering high conversions from on-site engagement to enquiry of 25%.

CUG is one of the most trusted brands in higher education and with over 1.1 million visits during the week of clearing last year – it offers institutions the ability to communicate with a highly engaged clearing audience.

Limited Options Now Available

A-Level results day is three months away and we have a limited number of options available on CUG for universities wishing to engage with this large captive audience.

This year CUG will have a comprehensive Clearing section to guide and advise prospective students throughout this complex and stressful time of year. This includes Clearing course and university search, dedicated written and video content as well as social media and email. For universities, the dedicated Clearing area will include new opportunities to reach students in a highly targeted way.

Read Jonah’s part 2 article on web traffic trends on Complete University Guide here

To find out more and receive our Complete University Guide Clearing Media Pack, please contact your account manager or email

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