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Looking for a university place after those A-level results? This chatbot wants to help you

Tyrone Stewart

Leeds Beckett University Becky clearing chatbotA chatbot named Becky is helping students find a place in university through clearing, following today’s A-level results.

Becky the chatbot was launched by Leeds Beckett University yesterday (16 August) to offer students places through clearing, and answer questions relating to terms dates, accommodation, the application process and life in Leeds.

Becky holds natural language conversations with prospective students by using keywords that students type to answer their queries. It assesses which courses the potential students are interested in studying, requests details of their qualifications and exams results, and – if the student is up to scratch – makes them a provisional offer. The chatbot, which is available 24 hours a day on both mobile and desktop, has already offered places to several students.

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

Chris Watts, director of university recruitment at Leeds Beckett, added: “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.”