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Kent Unis braced for Record Clearing Applications

Universities across the country this morning are bracing themselves for expected record clearing applications during A-level results day, with an expected 17,538 students securing their places on the first phase of clearing if trends continue.

Results day last year saw 4,220 people land themselves undergraduate degrees, with another 129,020 free to be placed in clearing.

And with UCAS reporting annual rises of more than 18% over the last five years, A-level results day is predicted to achieve more than 17,000 new students achieving their places through clearing.

In Canterbury, the University of Kent currently has spaces for 342 courses available, whilst Canterbury Christ Church has 559 courses up for clearing on the morning of results.

The reward for many after results day, although admittedly this is clearly not taken at a 9am lecture.

Such a high demand for clearance places is not a new phenomenon, with analysis by the Fashion Retail Academy showing that “traditional applications” have decreased by nearly 13,000 (649,700 to 636,960).

Whilst these numbers may only be marginal for universities to account for, it does represent a growing trend for students to rely on clearing as their main entrance to universities.

What is Clearing?
– A method of application through UCAS where students want to go to a university previously not on their preferences.
– This can be for a variety of issues: change of heart, not achieving grades for a preferred choice, or is used by people that don’t get first right to choose (deciding to study later in life).
– Offers are dependent on what courses are left after the initial influx of students accepting their preferred choices.

This trend is also in correlation with an Ipsos Mori poll, which found that pupils aged 11-16 don’t believe that going to university is “important” to them, as only 75% did this year, in comparison to 86% in 2013.

Whilst many students will be happy to have received their results today, they’ll be equally excited to know they’ll be back in the exam hall next year too.

Despite these statistics, universities are unlikely to see an impact in overall enrollment, as last year nearly 50% of young people aged up to 30 had entered some form of higher education.

Elaborating on the findings, Principal and CEO of the Fashion Retail Academy, Lee Lucas added that: “If the number of students going to university is relatively flat and fewer are applying early then clearing becomes an increasingly important part of the application process.

“Clearing used to be seen as a path for rejected students who didn’t get the results they wanted.

“All that has changed now. The stigma is gone and many students use clearing because they have had second thoughts about their chosen subject or vocation. Tuition fees are helping to focus minds on whether courses are good quality and value for money, causing many to opt for more career-focused training at the last minute.”

Whatever the results, we wish anyone getting their result today, good luck.

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