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Video-enabled clearing, the new admissions process

With Ucas submissions for the first time since 2012, universities must tap into their target market's methods of communication, says James Campanini

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | September 08, 2017 | Students

The clearing process can be a time-consuming and stressful exercise for students and admissions officers alike. With the number of admissions down for the first time since 2012, universities must tap into their target market’s methods of communication, including social media and live video.

The removal of admissions caps on universities, decline in mature and part-time student enrolments and Brexit have all made a ‘race to the top’ scenario for universities looking to meet admissions quotas and the competition is only becoming tougher.

Creating video-based learning environments

As technology intertwines itself in the education system through personal tablets, holographic lectures, and instant connectivity anywhere on a school campus, teaching methods are evolving as well. Younger generations have the benefits of instantaneous access to the digital world and social networks. The common link between all is the utilisation of video communication as a tool.

Video meetings are becoming part of the framework of collaboration within the enterprise and that trend has caught on to the education sector. Universities and primary schools alike are harnessing the power of live video to enhance learning, pushing the boundaries and opening doors to limited seating lecture halls and closed-door sessions. Now, a university can offer online courses through video conferencing, free lectures and two professors from differing universities co-teaching lectures. No longer does a student need to take time out of their day to meet with the professor during office hours, as video conferencing enables students to facilitate collaborative study groups. While universities are using video to facilitate learning, there is one area of the process that has only recently been introduced – video clearing.

Enabling video clearing

What if a student could receive an offer from a university via a live video call from an admissions officer? What if the interview process during clearing was facilitated via video, eliminating the lengthy periods of being put on hold? Live video, and video conferencing solutions have the capabilities to reach hundreds of students and applications simultaneously and efficiently. The elimination of the phone and replacing with video can make geographical borders obsolete, therefore improving the numbers of non-UK applications.

Video meetings are becoming part of the framework of collaboration within the enterprise and that trend has caught on to the education sector

This also carries with it reputational benefits, with Universities perceived as being technologically advanced, incorporating the tools that young people use as part of their daily lives, resulting in positive implications for admissions. Applicants are more likely to attend a university they feel aligns with their lifestyle and learning methods.

The potential for widespread use of video during clearing has the possibility to not only make the process more efficient and streamlined for students and faculty, but transform it completely. For instance, Staffordshire University is looking to make initial contact with prospective students, offering places in the clearing process through Facebook Live, Snapchat and Twitter in order to alleviate stress and speed up the process. Additionally, video isn’t restricted to one country code and with admissions figures the lowest they’ve been in six years, the time to embrace video is now.

The faster a university can offer admission spots to potential students, the more time can be dedicated to recruiting students. As choices are made as to where an applicant will attend university, the ability to receive an offer via a video conferencing app on your smartphone, can be the key difference maker.

Video opens doors for people, whether that’s removing the need for expensive travel, getting a campus tour through your phone, or receiving an offer for a place at a university via a video conference. It can also support the advancement of education, enabling the system to invest in more collaborative and innovative methods of teaching.

James Campanini is GM International at BlueJeans

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