Generally, you’re too younger at 16 to make definitive decisions about your future, says scholar Sophie Thompson, who had utilized to a “cosy and comfy” campus-based college near residence, solely to remorse it after she’d completed her A-levels. “I selected the one college I checked out.”


After receiving prime grades on the age of 18, and having grown in confidence, she fancied scholar life farther away from residence within the north-west, and voluntarily entered clearing.

Since 2019, Ucas has made it simpler for candidates comparable to Thompson to say no their present place and select a brand new course or college. She’s now ending a level in mass communication with promoting at Northumbria College, and it has turned out properly.

College students are rising extra proactive about their futures, and clearing is an additional device to unlock alternatives – and never simply the “last-chance saloon” for individuals who didn’t get the grades they anticipated, says Ucas. For 3 years in a row*, the proportion of these making use of to college for the primary time immediately by clearing – reasonably than throughout the primary utility window – has grown.


Many of those college students are of their early 20s and will not have thought of college earlier than; final 12 months 16,600 college students had been positioned immediately by clearing, in response to the most recent figures from Ucas*. Much more college students, like Thompson, resolve to say no their unique place and voluntarily enter clearing.

However earlier than taking the leap, college students ought to do their analysis and have a transparent thought of what they’d like to realize, says Clare Marchant, chief government of Ucas. Final 12 months, some 20,000 secured a spot* after altering their minds about their first selection – that is largely as a result of they wished to check one thing totally different, stay someplace cheaper, or they’d completed higher than anticipated. Greater than half of scholars who did this had already thought of it earlier than August, analysis reveals*.

“We’d suggest college students discover out as a lot as doable in regards to the course and studying fashion,” says Marchant, who advises college students to speak a selection over with dad and mom, academics or profession advisers first. As Helen Bower, director of scholar recruitment at Northumbria College, factors out: “It’s a time of 12 months when numerous college students make very massive life decisions in a brief house of time.” She urges college students to organize earlier than outcomes day.

Busy scenes at Northumbria University’s Clearing hotline call centre in Newcastle where thousands of calls were taken from hopeful students on A-Level results day.
Many college students at the moment are utilizing clearing as an additional device to unlock alternatives, giving them further choices to their Ucas purposes. {Photograph}: Raoul Dixon/NNP/North Information & Footage

College students usually don’t realise that clearing opens on 5 July – and for anybody making use of immediately, the earlier they get in contact, the higher, she says. “Clearing is a incredible alternative to entry universities you won’t even have thought of … however it might be of venture. To have the very best likelihood of getting what you really need, you will need to plan prematurely.”

This implies contacting universities to ask which programs have vacancies, what grades they’re after, and visiting if doable. College students may also register with some particular person universities prematurely for clearing, and people who have already got their grades can get their clearing supply from 5 July. “There’s no profit in ready in the event you’ve already received your grades,” says Bower. “We would like college students to make good choices that they’re comfy with.” After outcomes day, universities will publish key data and recommendation on their web sites, and additionally publishes real-time data on vacancies.

College students in clearing can solely select one course – versus 5 in the primary utility. However this doesn’t cease them chatting with a number of universities, and gathering casual verbal presents over the cellphone earlier than making a agency selection. “There aren’t any restrictions on the variety of conversations college students can have with universities,” says Marchant. “We encourage college students to buy round … and to not take the primary supply they obtain.” A cellphone name, she says, might make all of the distinction to their future. Universities may give college students a couple of days to resolve. Additionally they lay on open days for college students in clearing.

Northumbria College sits on the coronary heart of a thriving scholar metropolis

Roughly half of scholars in clearing is not going to have visited their new college of selection, though most do know one thing about it, in response to newest analysis by Ucas*. Thompson picked Northumbria College as a result of the course fitted completely, regardless that she’d by no means visited in individual. Northumbria made her a suggestion after a reassuring cellphone name – analysis reveals* that college students nonetheless choose to talk to their future universities by cellphone reasonably than on-line. “It was nerve-racking,” recollects Thompson. “I keep in mind driving to Newcastle for the primary time in the beginning of time period, pondering, ‘I can’t consider what I’ve completed.’ However I wouldn’t change any of it – I’m actually glad I went by clearing. I wouldn’t have had the alternatives I’ve had, together with working for a 12 months in the midst of my diploma as a digital advertising and marketing intern, if it hadn’t been for Northumbria. Newcastle is an incredible scholar metropolis and it is a nice college.”

When you arrive at college, Thompson says, no matter route you took to get there’s irrelevant. “There are such a lot of individuals who undergo clearing who’ve used it as a result of they’ve modified their minds or their circumstances modified.”

College students who apply by clearing do exactly in addition to their friends who’ve utilized in the primary Ucas cycle, says Bower. “It’s a sound route to college. There’s no distinction of their efficiency, retention or their success.”

For Thompson, success means some valuable day off earlier than job searching after a busy 4 years of examine and work. “With my diploma and my work expertise, I really feel fairly comfy now to take a while to journey.”

*Ucas 2022 Clearing report (pdf)

For extra data go to Northumbria College’s clearing hub

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