The unis most desperate for freshers, in cringe videos

pls pick me x

Last year, limits on the number of students at English unis were lifted. Big name universities embarked on huge expansion projects to try and squeeze as much money as they could from the government by letting in as many sixth formers as possible.

From Nottingham, Leicester and Sussex all making unconditional offers to students without results, to the University of Kent offering a £2,000 a year scholarship, we look back at which uni was desperate enough to try and get the nod from the school leavers of 2015.

While it used to be only polys that would open early clearing and ply AAB students with free cash, now even real unis have started getting as desperate as a sixth form couple who found out they got into different unis.

These are the most cringeworthy pleas.


This is truly desperate. Not only have they wasted staff time and resources on this godawful attempt to trick you into thinking you’re the centre of attention, but that someone in a marketing meeting somewhere thought that balloons and a bummout sign would trick 18-year-olds into thinking the uni really cares about them coming to Brum. Also, the “students” they recruited for this waste of tuition fees seemingly couldn’t work out how to paint letters on a sign without getting paint all over their necks or how to talk like human beings.


These are troubled times, there’s no denying that. And this effort by Leicester’s second best educational institution is admittedly well produced. The obnoxiously overblown graphics and melodramatic voiceover do draw you in. But then it dawns on you, this isn’t a uni with the power to change anything. Sitting pretty in the lower half of the league table for a long as anyone can remember, it’s unlikely that this advert is going to change that.


The only uni desperate enough to hire a vaguely recognisable celeb to plug their bang average courses, Staffordshire’s effort may not appear that desperate on first watching. But scratch the surface and you find that not only has their clearing been open for ages, this video promotes a medicine course that doesn’t even exist at Staffordshire.


On the face of it, this is nothing but an innocent attempt by a decent uni to persuade bright young school leavers that Newcastle is still an option for them even if they missed out on Oxbridge, Durham or Bristol. But as it goes on, this becomes one of the worst acts of desperation. The pair in the video seem to have been pretty extensively briefed on how good Newcastle is and speak in such well worded sentences that they could only have been written by a bored grad in a PR office.


In light of the recent flurry of seagull violence, this advert is not only hugely childish, it’s also pretty inappropriate. Why the University of Sunderland picked a bird as mundane as a seagull we’ll never know, but what is abundantly clear is that the uni assumes it’s incoming freshers don’t even know how to use a phone. Thoroughly patronising from start to finish, it’s pretty obvious that Sunderland need to work out whether they’re a uni or a primary school.


Full of parodies of uni culture that really have to be seen to be believed. This is arguably the worst thing you could do with Lego. Not only is this as patronising as Sunderland’s attempt to woo A-Level grads, it’s also a worrying look inside the mind of Bradford uni staff who think students have “Summer shenanigans” and are proud of BTECs.


Yet another bullshit attempt to treat 18-year-olds as children, this time they’re supposed to be idolising superheros. The protagonist in this epic in digital marketing is Haley, who allegedly was too good at her A-Levels, but somehow still ended up in clearing at Middlesex. Just at patronising as the others, but slightly less desperate, it’s still a pretty shocking first impression to make to new freshers.


This effort is a unique strategy by Keele. They don’t want to appear as needy as the other animation-loving unis, but instead focus on a far more fundamental issue of finding the campus. With a globe in hand, the head of Geography helpfully point out that Keele is in fact in the UK, in case you were wondering.


Presumably not being able to find any students willing to speak on camera about their time at Chester, uni bigwigs decided to trawl through Twitter to find such profound praise as “A good ol’ fashioned library session #library #quiet” and “Lovely chester uni at dinner time #yummy #beans” – clearly the words of the future of higher education.


The country cousin of the University of London family, Brunel is being too self-confident. This video isn’t titled Brunel is the best or Brunel is the best for you, but a rather more humble Brunel will surpass your expectations. Accepting that everyone already has less-than-high hopes for your uni is a smart move. Putting clips of students on a bouncy castle or playing card games in a uni promotional video is not.