University will offer places over Snapchat because Gen Z hates phone callsOn August 9, 2017 by Lucius
The most dreaded day of the year is almost upon us: A Level results day. One British university wants to try something slightly unusual this year by offering students university places on Snapchat.
Amidst the nerves, tears and sighs of relief Aug. 17, Staffordshire University in the West Midlands is hoping to communicate on Snapchat with students going through Clearing, and will be offering places on courses over the platform.
Students who don’t get the grades they need will be busy trying to secure a university place through the UK’s Clearing system. Clearing is a way for universities and colleges to fill any remaining places on courses. Students whose exam results didn’t go to plan can find another course using the service.
Traditionally students would speak to university advisers over the phone, but one recent study found Gen Z to be far less comfortable talking over the phone than millennials. The study found 38 percent of Gen Z participants prefer to talk to customer service reps over phone, compared to 49 percent of millennial respondents.
Students who’ve received their results can search for “staffsuni” on Snapchat and send the admissions team a message. From there, students will be asked a few questions like their date of birth and full name. They can send a photo, video, or chat message of their results and, depending on the requirements, the clearing team will be able to give an “offer in principle”. Offers – based on communicated grades — will also be made on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
For many, getting a university offer over Snapchat might seem rather unconventional and very informal. So, why is this university offering this new option to students?
“We know that results day is an agonising time for some and young people can feel extremely anxious about picking up the phone and making the call,” says Clare Beckett, director of student recruitment and admissions. Beckett says that Staffordshire is “a digital university” and it’s important to engage prospective students via the channels they’re using.
The university’s social media officer Laura Allen said the university is cognisant that many young people don’t like talking over the phone.
“We know that applicants may be worried about speaking to someone over the phone, from past experience of students saying they’d rather speak to us online,” says Allen. She says Snapchat is a much quicker way for the student to get in touch and get any advice they might need.
“We don’t want to exclude anybody because of them being worried about calling,” Allen continues.
Given that one in four smartphone owners in the UK don’t even make one voice call a week, it makes sense for universities to branch into messaging apps. Last year, Staffordshire University used Snapchat to answer students’ queries and offer advice, but this year will be the first time offering places over the app.
With apps like Snapchat being used in the admissions process, we could well be entering a new digital age of university admittance in which informal messaging channels are par for the course. It’s about time, too.