Leeds Beckett University uses Clearing Chatbot

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by Stephen Chapman

A chatbot has offered a student a place at Leeds Beckett University.

Becky The Chatbot has “spoken” to more than 300 potential students during the clearing process and offered 15 places, but the first success came on Wednesday, with, ironically enough, a student wanting to do computing.

“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,” explained Dougal Scaife, head of digital experience and engagement at Leeds Beckett.

The chatbot is available on desktop and mobile and uses a series of menus or keywords, to guide students through the process. It assesses which courses they are interested in, then requests details of qualifications and exam results, before making a provisional offer.

“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,” added Chris Watts, director of University Recruitment at Leeds Beckett.

“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.

“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.”