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Leeds Beckett chatbot to help prospective students find the right course through Clearing

Leeds Beckett University has launched a chatbot ahead of A level results day to help prospective students find the right course for them through Clearing.

Student Using Computer

Using Facebook Messenger’s chatbot technology, the innovative Leeds Beckett bot, allows prospective students to have an online conversation to assess their suitability for undergraduate courses that are available during university Clearing.

The chatbot, available both on desktop and mobile, uses a series of menus or keywords to guide students through the Clearing process and is available 24 hours a day.

The bot uses keywords that the prospective students type in the chat line to assess which courses they are interested in studying, then requests details of their qualifications and exam results, before making them a provisional offer.

A chatbot is a computer programme that holds natural language conversations, mimics human conversation and reacts to spoken or written prompts.

Speaking about the bot, Dougal Scaife, Head of Digital at Leeds Beckett, said: “We know that our prospective students already use lots of messaging software for communicating with their friends such as Snapchat, WhatsApp as well as texting, so developing a chatbot was a natural evolution in order to engage with our prospective students in a medium that’s ubiquitous, familiar, and comfortable for them.”


Chris Watts, Director of University Recruitment at Leeds Beckett, added: “We know that prospective students are undertaking more research prior to results day and are far more clear about both their course and their prospective career path.  Unsurprisingly the majority of this research takes place online, with social media forming a key part of the relationship prospective students are building with institutions prior to accepting a place.

“At Leeds Beckett we continue to be at the forefront of employing new technologies in meeting the needs of our prospective and current students and the launch of this chatbot to make offers to prospective students is a response to this.

“The bot hasn’t replaced more traditional methods of communication, it’s merely an addition to the already excellent service we seek to provide to all prospective students. Our phone lines will continue to be open throughout the clearing process.”

For more information about courses available at Leeds Beckett during Clearing please visit

Our Clearing stories...
Current Leeds Beckett students reflect on gaining a place at University through Clearing.

Our Clearing stories...

Current Leeds Beckett students reflect on gaining a place at University through Clearing.

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Lucie Wade History PhD

**Lucie Wade**

Lucie, from Dewsbury, was initially upset when she got her exam results she was one grade down from what she needed and had planned to study French. She had been made aware of Clearing before she got her results and said she wasnt planning to use it but was happy it was there. She _**wasnt really sure what to expect**_. She found the overall experience of Clearing much easier than she expected and said Leeds Beckett in particular made the whole process _**very straightforward**_. Her greatest concern was that it would be a very complex and stressful system which it wasnt. She was supported by her teachers at college and her family helped her in making the last minute decisions.

> Dont panic! It will be fine. Not getting the grades you needed to get into a specific university isnt the end of the world.

She says without Clearing she wouldnt be where she is now and that it was _**one of the best things that happened to her**_. She accepted her place to study History at Leeds Beckett and then completed her MA degree in Social History also at Leeds Beckett. She is now studying for her PhD again at Leeds Beckett.


Danial Ikhwan\-McCabe Sports & Exercise Science

Danial _**panicked**_ when he received his exam results and thought he had _**no chance of going to university**_ that year and that he would have to re\-sit year 13 or look at other options outside university. He was aware of Clearing, but hadnt really thought about it as an option. He felt very _**apprehensive, worried and confused**_ about going through Clearing. However, his experience was very good and finding courses was great and easy. The universities were really good at responding and the whole experience was easy. His greatest concerns were that there wouldnt be any places on the course he wanted to do, that Clearing was just for people who had failed, that he would get lost in the system and that the process was going to be hard and confusing all of these _**concerns were unfounded**_.

> Dont panic and dont assume youve failed and you have no chance of going to uni. Keep calm and take the time to find the right place and course for you. Avoid the big negative feelings taking over.

He says without Clearing he would either be re\-sitting Year 13 or learning a trade.


Mollie Burgess Education Studies

Mollie, from Manchester, was **_massively disappointed and scared_** when she got her exam results and didnt know what to do next. She was aware of Clearing but she **_never thought shed have to use it_**. She was really nervous about going through Clearing because she **_didnt want to get rejected again._** Her greatest fear was that she wasnt going to get in on her grades but she was lucky and they were good enough for her course. She found the overall experience of Clearing **_amazing_**. Everyone she spoke to at Leeds Beckett was really kind and understood that she was in a tough position. She also got to speak to her course leader and ask any questions she had about the course. She was supported by her parents. Without them pushing her on she doesnt think she would have done it.

> See it as one door closes and another one opens. If you end up going through Clearing, then whatever you had planned before obviously wasnt going to be right for you. You can succeed no matter where you go, if you put your mind to it.

She chose her course for two reasons; firstly, it has **_no exams_** just assignments which she prefers and secondly, it can lead to **_many different careers_** such as teaching, police, social care and management. Since starting her course, Mollie has changed her mind a lot about what she would like to do afterwards but is leaning towards working within the SEN sector as a teacher or SENCO. She says without Clearing, she would be waitressing and living at home whilst trying to re\-do her A\-Levels.


Joseph Royle Computer Science

Joseph, from Bradford, **_got the exam results he was expecting_** but _**wasnt aware he was eligible for Clearing**_ due to having offers already. He was **_nervous and afraid_** he wouldnt get a place through Clearing but found the whole experience **_better than he anticipated._** His greatest concern was that there would be no places but this was unfounded.

> Dont be afraid of not getting in due to it being full. If its advertised, theres likely places for you.

He says without Clearing, he would reluctantly be doing a different course at a different university. He would like to work in software development or teaching.


Fatima Umar Biomedical Sciences

When Fatima, who is from Pudsey, received her exam results, she thought about what her options were and how to stay on track even though it **_wasnt her initial plan_**. She was aware of Clearing and saw it as **_a second chance_**. She found the whole experience straightforward but was initially concerned that she would be **_less wanted_** than someone who had applied directly; but this was unfounded and she found Leeds Beckett staff **_welcoming_**.

> Keep trying. You may be surprised at the variety available in Clearing, even some courses you might think would be full.

Fatima chose her course because it allowed **_flexibility_** and she didnt have to go straight into biomedical sciences, as you do with other universities. Her interest is in the human body/physiology and this course provides a route to **_satisfy her interest_**. The course is also accredited by the Royal Society of Biology which is important to me. She hopes to apply to do postgraduate medicine


Charlotte Howarth Computing

Charlotte, who is from Harrogate, was disappointed and thought she'd actually got someone else's results.

> 'When I got my results it was like a punch in the chest. I felt like I'd failed and it felt like all my hard work had been for nothing. I was confused, upset and angry. I pretty much experienced every emotion in one go. It was awful.'

Charlotte contacted Leeds Beckett University through Clearing, and said _**the guys in the office were wonderful**_ and couldnt have been nicer about her situation. They walked her through every step she needed to take between the day of the phone call and her starting date in such detail. Her greatest concern was that the university and tutors would think she _**wasnt up to the standard of every other student**_ who got their grades. She thought that being labelled a Clearing student would put her in a different group of students like sets at school. Obviously this was _**not the case**_!

> Dont give up. Just because you didnt get the grades you were expecting doesnt mean that youre not smart or that youre not good enough. If you know your stuff, youll go far.'

Charlotte is hoping to be a Network Engineer, but would be happy with a 2nd/3rd line support job.


Adam Wright Photographic Journalism

Adam, from Warrington, was pleased because he got **_higher than expected_ _grades_**. He had not heard of Clearing before he used it. He took a gap year and it was a **_last minute decision_** to go through Clearing but he knew that it was **_now or never_**. He found the Clearing experience very easy and he had his _**course place, accommodation and finance sorted in one week.**_ His greatest worry was not being able to get a place on his chosen course at his first choice university Leeds Beckett.

> 'Be brave and go for it because itll probably be the best decision you ever make that will change your future for the better.

Adam says his course has taught him the necessary skills to **_succeed in the industry_** that he wants to go into whilst also improving his existing skills.

> 'I could now easily apply for journalism\-related jobs as well as photography\-related jobs. It has definitely widened my skill\-set and made me more desirable to potential employers.'

After he finishes his degree, Adam says he will more than likely get a photography\-related job either as an assistant, behind\-the\-scenes photographer or retoucher. He eventually wants to become a creative director for an independent magazine such as Plastik or Toilet Paper Magazine. Without Clearing, he would be in a job that he doesnt enjoy and in a field that isnt creative.


Nicole Hall\-Eseigbe Business Management

Nicole, who is from Liverpool, was _**surprised and disappointed**_ when she got her results. She was aware of Clearing but had not read much about it. She was _**nervous**_ **_and worried_** she wouldnt get a place at university. She found the overall process of Clearing **_extremely efficient_**.

> 'Within an hour I had received a place at Leeds Beckett, who I found to be extremely helpful. The call advisors informed me of the options and discussed the courses they had on offer.'

Her greatest concern was that she wouldn't find a place but this wasn't the case.

> Breathe and dont worry. Theres a lot of options available to you and you have done your best.

She would like to go into recruitment or sales.


Grace Smallman Childhood Studies

Grace, who is from Darlington, had no hopes as to what her exam results would be. She was very _**unmotivated**_ and did not have plans to go to university. But once she'd set her heart on it she was _**desperate to be offered a place**_ and remembers feeling _**inadequate**_ and extremely nervous that she would not be given the opportunity.

> 'It wasnt that I didnt feel good enough but I certainly remember feeling unconfident and struggling to write my personal statement. For me, applying to university was to escape my home town, so I was very stressed that it was my last option at the time.'


> 'Looking back now it doesnt seem quite as intimidating. My greatest concerns were that my application was not going to be good enough. I have a memory of UCAS being very unfamiliar as I had been working for the past year.'


> Just believe in yourself and apply. Even if you think youre not good enough and it appears that way, still apply.'

Grace was supported by her friend. He had a large understanding of her non\-academic reasons for wanting to go to university and was so supportive and the reason she applied.'

> 'I think there is so much pressure put on young people to do the best they can and achieve certain standards that those that dont meet those standards can often feel undervalued and not good enough. > 'However, Leeds Beckett is here to provide chances and it certainly did for me to the point where it has developed my confidence greatly and that never would have happened if I hadnt applied through Clearing. > So, believe in yourself and dont feel intimidated by the unknown. > >

Grace really wants to get involved in a job that is orientated around childrens rights, so a family support worker, counsellor or something related to social policy would be ideal.


Dominiq Oti Architecture

Dominiq is from London and has just completed his final year. He applied late through Clearing after being _**discouraged and disappointed**_ when he received his exam results. He hadn't achieved the grades he needed for any of his five choices. He was aware of the Clearing process and this brought him some hope. He was **_hesitant_** to use it at first because he felt he would make a rushed decision but he found the process provided him with the opportunity to look at various universities which gave him the flexibility he wanted.

> 'Don't be discouraged despite what grades you get, and try to understand that there is a university that is better for you and could provide you with an even more valuable experience than you could have imagined.'

Without Clearing, Dominiq doesn't think he would be where is now in the field of architecture.

> 'I would like to become an architect who can inspire people and that can innovate for the present and the future.'



Kayleigh Smyth Fine Art

Kayleigh, who is from Darlington, went to the University of Leeds but **_was unhappy_ **there so applied for Leeds Beckett through Clearing. She was aware of Clearing but said she felt nervous and felt there was a certain _**stigma**_ attached to it which made her _**feel bad**_. Her overall experience of Clearing was way better than expected and she was made to feel _**very welcome**_ and given _**a lot of support and attention**_ throughout the process. She even got a _**personal tour**_ from the head of Fine Art who answered any questions she had. Her greatest concern was not getting into a course and not being handled in the right way; but she felt the help she got was more than satisfactory and shes now on a course where _**she belongs**_.

> Go for it, ignore all expectations and ask for the support you need. At this point, grades are not important but what you do with them and how you can use them to get somewhere you will enjoy for the next three years. Its so important not to throw it away.

Without Clearing, she would still be on a course she didnt enjoy at the wrong university. She is _**progressing massively**_ as an artist and has been given _**many exhibition opportunities**_. She says the choice she made through Clearing has allowed her to _**achieve**_ the things she has this year. Kayleigh chose Fine Art because it accommodates the broadness of art and design. She aspires to work in the film industry, but at the moment is working in virtual reality. She says that the _**course fully understands how important advancements in visual immersion are to support learning in this very technical industry**_, and it has pushed her out of her comfort zone.

> 'Choosing this course has allowed me to gain opportunities I never would have, like speaking on a panel at a Virtual Reality conference and going to Dubais Film and Comic Con. Overall it has really catered to the spontaneous nature of artists, and has boosted my confidence to get involved with things that will prepare me for the industry I want to work in.'



Daisy Weston Childhood Studies

Daisy, who is from Cheshire, was scared that she was not going to be able to get into university with her results. She was aware of Clearing but _**didnt contact them until a week after receiving her results as she didnt think there was any point**_. Her friend convinced her to try and she found the overall experience good and found it easy to get through to the course you wanted.

> Go for Clearing, because no matter what your results you may get a place. I am so happy my friend told me to apply through it. I would advise anyone to make sure that they have money saved for a deposit for accommodation just in case they get a place quicker than they thought.

She says without Clearing she wouldnt have completed a three\-year degree and met her best friends along the way. Her course was very widespread and covered so much on different aspects of childhood. She enjoyed the fact it was so varied and interesting.

> 'I feel like it was a good course to choose because it keeps my options open for a career and the modules we studied gave me an insight into different roles of working with children and young people.'

Daisy wants to go into social work when she graduates.


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