For those students who don’t quite get the grades they were hoping for, university clearing is often their best option, and with A-level grades falling, universities are taking record numbers of calls.
The university admissions body UCAS are releasing daily statistics, and as of last night (Tuesday 20thAugust) an amazing 433,220 students had been placed through clearing in the last five days. At this point last year, this figure was just 404,000- 7% less.
The chief executive of UCAS, Mary Curnock Cook, explained that many of the courses advertised for clearing will “only be for people who have the very highest grades”. This is down to the recent government changes to university regulations, which have removed the limit on the number of students with at least ABB grades that universities can recruit.
EXTRA STAFF AT LONDON UNIVERSITIES
To deal with the increased numbers of late applications, universities throughout London have drafted in more than 1,000 extra staff to make sure they can take as many calls as possible.
In the first 24 hours after the results were released, Kingston University took a staggering 10,000 calls compared to 4,000 last year, leading to 1,200 students being offered placed- almost double the number in 2012.
There is the same story at institutions throughout the capital. The University of East London took 7,600 calls in the first day, filling courses in social work, business, psychology, engineering and computing.
South Bank University took 300 calls in the first half an hour alone and within the first 3 hours more than 6,000 students had visited the website. It was a similar case at SOAS, where, after 2,000 phone calls, they had filled their economics and politics courses.
At Birkbeck, offers made to students on the first day of clearing were up by a third, with huge interest particularly in biomedicine courses. Similarly, at Goldsmiths virtually all the clearing spaces were filled with 24 hours after receiving calls from 3,000 hopeful students.
However, not all the London universities were quite so busy, with a number of them choosing not to participate in clearing. Both Imperial and UCL filled all their undergraduate courses before A-level results were announced and were happy to sit back and relax whilst others rushed around.
With tuition fees tripling at many universities, there has been the concern that there would no longer be the appetite from students to fight for places on courses, but the record numbers appear to indicate that degrees are as popular as ever.