Universities are resorting to Tinder to attract students through clearing

‘Swipe right to find the course of your dreams’

With the likelihood of a reduction of EU students applying in the UK post-Brexit, universities are finding new ways to lure in applicants.

The use of university Tinder profiles, buy-one-get-one-free degrees and free giveaways like iPads and football tickets are among the new tactics being used to fill places for the coming year.

The University of Salford has created its own Tinder profile with the bio: “The best partnerships begin unexpectedly. Start a lasting relationship with us this September. Swipe right to find the course of your dreams ;)”.

They are encouraging applicants to consider them when going through clearing on A-level results day this Thursday, and they’re even using a winky face.

Upon matching, the ‘Salford, 19’ profile messages you: “I don’t want to lecture you but I think we’d be a good match.” The link to the website is then sent, after a bit of witty flirting.

Hannah Burchell, from the University of Salford said that Tinder was the “perfect choice” to reach out to applicants due to the number of young people using the matchmaking app.

“Underneath the playful nature of the profiles is a really serious message that students need to be making decisions to opt for courses and universities they are truly compatible with”.

This comes after last week it was revealed various universities are offering incentives for applicants. Some are offering ‘BOGOF’ (buy one get one free) degrees, which entails a £9,000 undergraduate degree and then a free masters. Sheffield uni are offering this to students who achieved straight As at A-level.

Kent, York, and Kingston are all offering discounted degrees to high performing students and Lancaster are offering a 10 per cent discount offer on masters degrees to all undergraduates, with an additional 10 per cent off to those who achieved a first in their undergraduate degree.

Others include Leicester uni’s attractive prospect of free tickets to see Premier League champions, Leicester City, and free iPads and airport rides.

Mary Curnock Cook, chief executive of UCAS, the universities admissions service, said: “The fact that the number of UK 18-year-olds is smaller this year means talented students are in demand.”

The overall cap on the number of undergraduate students a university is allowed has now been removed, enabling unis to increase their course sizes. This now means that there will be more places available, and the competition lies between universities to get students, rather than between students to get in.

Commenting last week, Sir Steve Smith, vice-chancellor of Exeter University, told the Sunday Times: “People are nervous and universities are being defensive; if EU students do not turn up, universities want to make sure they fill their places. There is a lot of uncertainty post-Brexit. Students will have a lot of choice this summer.”