NESCOT Case Study

For North East Surrey College Of Technology, a large further and higher education college in Surrey, 2020 was the first year that Purlos had been used to support admissions. The impact of COVID-19 and the unprecedented use of teacher assessment for GCSE grades made the 2020 admissions year unlike any other, making it more challenging for colleges like NESCOT that provide vocational and technical courses to hit their enrolment targets.

Refusing to accept the status quo, the college decided to incorporate the Purlos admissions platform as part of their efforts to improve the student experience. Our platform has been developed to help colleges increase their revenue by reducing student drop-outs during the admissions process and improving the understanding of why students drop out, resulting in early intervention and increased conversions.

Equipped with Purlos’s “human-assisted” chatbot Jeni, we helped connect the NESCOT College to students through WhatsApp to help answer their questions during the admissions process. And we’re now engaging students like never before – and showing an increase in event attendance, and student retention. After just a few months using our platform, student retention rose by over 2% and has continued to improve.

Since working with Purlos


Increase in enrollments

Working Smarter, Not Harder

Admissions Officer Katherine Thompson feels that the way Purlos contacts students via WhatsApp means interacting with them on their terms, “I think teenagers respond to WhatsApp more readily, it’s so easy. Responding to emails is more formal and doesn’t necessarily appeal to teenagers.”

As a consequence, applicants responded fast to Purlos enquires about how they were progressing with their choice of college: “The response is quicker because, when you get a WhatsApp message, you don’t just leave it, you go straight back.” In a very uncertain year, Purlos has made an important contribution to NESCOT’s success.“Our targets have been achieved when, maybe 6 months ago with everything going on with Coronavirus, people weren’t sure what the enrolment figures would look like in September 2020”.

Student Admissions Made Easy

Thompson also feels that Purlos has had an impact on retention, and that this has once again been emphasised by the impact of the pandemic. Students often have anxieties settling into a new college environment, and in 2020 these issues were increased by concerns about COVID safety and how social distancing would be managed.

Thompson says that Purlos “recognised students that were unhappy and gave them a means by which they could tell us they were struggling, without being too intrusive into their lives”, enabling NESCOT to support students and resolve their queries and issues with enrolment through their first weeks in college.

We’ve had over 80% engagement”

“Purlos has been amazing… it has been extremely useful to highlight which students could drop-out! Our KPI for early drop-out (those who started but then withdrew) reduced from 6.8% to 4.3%.”.

Dario Stevens - Vice Principal

Challenges on the Horizon

NESCOT’s experience with Purlos has convinced the college of its value and the system will continue to be used through what will hopefully be a less disrupted admissions process in 2021. For NESCOT, Thompson believes “it’s been a very useful resource. Because of the engagement, students have felt supported all the way through.”

Purlos has also helped identify the reasons why dropped out prior to the 6 week census, including those who enrolled but did not start. Armed with this intelligence the college are now able to effectively plan strategies to reduce this number next year.

Whatever challenges lay ahead in 2021, NESCOT can rely on Purlos’ platform to do the heavy lifting for them and connect with their students. Purlos will continue to drive forward student admissions by providing students with the critical information they need in times of uncertainty.


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