What makes a good university clearing page?

Join us for this week's episode of Most Clicked where we discuss what qualities make a good university clearing page with an example from Leeds Beckett University.

Leeds Beckett University is on point with its Clearing content. Every university has its “what is / how to” Clearing page, but this is probably the best we’ve seen. The basics: The page breaks up content into digestible chunks, answers common questions and ends with clear CTAs.

We love how they have a podcast episode dedicated to Clearing – perfect for this point in the cycle while students still have time to listen. The podcast itself isn’t an afterthought either. Beckett Talks has been publishing weekly since Jan 2021 and is a vehicle for a wide variety of content.

Nathan Monk
Hello and welcome to Most Clicked. Every Monday we are bringing you a hot topic in HE marketing and every week I am joined by my good friends Kyle Campbell from the Education Marketer and Matt Lees from SMILE. This week we are looking to answer the question, what makes a good university clearing page which Kyle makes me think that you might have an example up your sleeves. Do you?

Kyle Campbell
I do, I haven’t any sleeves today though, I’ve got like a T-shirt on. That was such a dad joke wasn’t it, that was terrible.

Nathan Monk
I started it.

Kyle Campbell
Yeah, I’ve been with a lot of cleaning pages. In fact, I think a couple of years ago now I wrote that massive cleaning blog post didn’t I, like 150 examples of clearing pages on like 2020 results day, which was a huge feat of content, I won’t be doing that again. So I’ve got a few highlights this year, and one that sticks out to me this year is Leeds Beckett. They’ve got a great website anyway so they’ve got a bit of a head start on a lot of other universities but this one really stood out to me. So it’s a nice clear guide right, this isn’t like revolutionary or anything like that but the thing that really struck me here was the pacing, the white space, great use of headings, and limited use of chunky bits of text. And it goes through those commonly asked questions through clearing by students. So it’s basically using Q&A information, but presenting it in a meaningful way pulling out the content and where it matters.

The other thing that struck me here was the nice use of mixed media. So obviously you’ve got the text and image and that sort of basic stuff, a bit of video as well. But they’ve also got a podcast at the top. And I’ll give it a listen, see what it was like. And yeah, really, really good. And this is an archive piece of content for them. This is taken from previous years but if you’re in this sort of period right now we saw about the discovery aspect of clearing, you know, weighing up your options, seeing what could be available for you, this sort of content is actually really valuable, useless on the results day because the last thing you want to do is sit down and listen to a podcast. But you know, having the time and the space right now to listen to this sort of stuff and dive deeper into that content. A podcast is not a bad shout. What do you guys think?

Matt Lees
I’m with you on the whitespace it feels really nice browsing experience, you know, easy to read. I love the kind of in this section or on this page menu that they’ve got going on. And the way that it breaks down content into those questions. It feels like if you’ve come into this to find out it feels like they’re covered every angle, every question that you might have. So they are with you feels like a solid piece.

Nathan Monk
It’s calm, it feels super calm. And I wonder if there’s, I’d love to have a psychologist on because I’d love to know at clearing you know, should we be portraying panic, panic, click this button, click it now phone us, phone us, or should we be It’s okay, we’ve got this, this is a zen space for you right now. Because, you know, we see it we see in these clearing pages that people will put very shouty screamy elements on the page that are reaching out and calling the user to do something, and they want them to do it now. But I wonder if that causes anxiety and panic stress for the user at the end of it. And maybe that’s a consideration that Leeds Beckett has really taken into account here and has created that more zen, safe space approach to the website page.

Kyle Campbell
That’s a really nice angle. I mean, I’d be interested to see what looks like on results day. Usually, there are two versions of these pages aren’t there. But definitely comparing this sort of site to a few others I’ve looked at, there is a lot of whitespace in this site, others feel more condensed and you’re wading through student profiles and other bits of content, almost distracting you from the sort of how to clearing guide. Ultimately this sort of piece of content here is about just displaying those key questions and the steps to go through. But I’ve been on other university websites that have similar guise to this, but you’re wading through all kinds of different layers in order to find out this information rather than having it as like a cascade and a, you know, this step that’s the next step, which is the way that people want to consume information about this specific topic. And nothing wrong with like showcasing if you’ve got an offer, obviously. But you know, actually having it in this sort of control sort of delivery is clearly beneficial to the user. And probably in the long term, it’s beneficial to the uni as well.

Matt Lees
Leeds Beckett have got a bit of a history of doing good stuff around this time of year, they always seem to get a lot of attention around clearing, are there any other examples that come to mind, Kyle?

Kyle Campbell
Yeah, I mean, I don’t know what year it was. I think it was 2015/16. I think they did like an Alexa thing, didn’t they with chatbots. Becky, a chatbot, wasn’t it that named Becky or something like that?

Nathan Monk
There was a there was definitely a chatbot than there was the Alexa thing on top of.

Kyle Campbell
Was Alexa Leeds Beckett, and now I’m thinking about it, I’m not sure if it was

Nathan Monk
I feel like it was, I feel like they went through a period where there was just this kind of, I don’t know, innovations that they were just throwing out there. And they were making big headlines. I’d be interested to know how many of those are still around now like, does Becky still exist?

Kyle Campbell
There’s definitely a chatbot on this on this page. I’m not too sure if it’s it’s the same one. It might not be Becky. I also remember thinking back to those campaigns. There was a university that actually ran a campaign that took the piss out of Beckett for using Alexa, I can’t know which one it was.

Matt Lees
I vaguely remember that.

Kyle Campbell
There was a lot of fallout over that. Yeah, as if like, the university shouldn’t be doing this sort of thing. You know this is a highly stressful time for everyone. But yeah, it was obviously making the decision to use Alexa as a way to make offers and things like that it attracted attention and some controversy, and one university was bold enough to do so.

Nathan Monk
You know that I love a good university beef, I’d love to see some more beefs. I’d love to see some more beefs. And, you know, maybe this year we can, maybe we should start some on Most Clicked? No, we shouldn’t. No, I think, you know, they have been, they’ve got quite the profile around clearing. And, you know, I think a lot of these innovations are really cool, actually because you’ve got to, you’ve got to experiment, you’ve got to try things. I was at a conference recently, there was a lot of chatter about WhatsApp as a method for kind of admissions and stuff. I thought that was pretty cool, to be honest, I’m sure that we’ll see WhatsApp, rear it’s head on clearing this year. I’m interested to see what else kind of goes on. But you know, what I found really interesting with this one, I was trying to I was almost like poking for holes a little bit. And I was like, huh, there’s no video on here. I wonder why that is because there are podcasts on there. And it’s, you know, it doesn’t it hasn’t harmed my viewing experience of it at all. I just wondered or wonder clearing videos don’t really seem to be a big thing. Have you seen many clearing videos?

Kyle Campbell 8:13
I’m seeing less step by step ones, for sure. I’m seeing clearing ads, Christ everywhere. My YouTube is just full of the bloody things.

Nathan Monk
I wonder if it’s because like videos on like evergreen content, like you can’t keep like year to year you got to change and it feels like we might be big. There are a few. There are some very nifty video apps out there though now, like, I think there’s an app called Uhmmm, that’s actually what it’s called. And you can kind of film things but then like, chop and change a particular scene or the slides behind you as the content changes, it’s kind of there are things out there that I definitely recognise in that video evergreen content and to help with that.

Kyle Campbell
And I think a lot of that clearing video content in terms of the process and things like that, that’s pretty much owned by UCAS. And rightly so because you know, it’s their process. So there are some on US websites, but yeah, the main clearing stuff I’ve seen in video this year, it’s all been YouTube ad-based.

Nathan Monk
So if you Matt, let me ask you this if you had to give one piece of advice in terms of what makes a good clearing landing page what would you say?

Matt Lees
I think taking Leeds Beckett’s as an example, the way that they break down that content into the questions just feels really easy to navigate your way through. It’s like a really high-end, well-thought-out knowledge base. I think they’ve done that really well.

Nathan Monk
Nice, nice, Kyle, anything to add before I wrap up here.

Kyle Campbell
Yeah, I mean, my takeaway from these things is, you know, don’t lose clarity for the sake of the campaign. I’ve seen some night clearing campaigns in the past that have been so focused on messaging that actually when you think about how a user comes across a clearing campaign, it’s usually to achieve something, get something done. And I feel that sometimes university messaging can get in the way of that. There are a few universities, I could think I won’t name any. But yeah, I’ve come on like clearing pages and the message has been genuinely confusing. And you can see what the creative and the effort has gone into the campaign execution rather than the content is going to support students during this quite stressful period.

Nathan Monk
All right, well, thank you both, as ever, and thank you to everyone that subscribes to Most Clicked, thanks for watching the 30th episode now of Most Clicked. If you’ve enjoyed today’s content, please consider dropping us a like tell all your friends and I will see you next week. Bye.

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Elliott Barnicle

Lead Designer