As demand for university places still remains high, students who either didn’t get the grades they were hoping for, or who have done better than expected, have plenty of options open to them.
A team of experts from Northumbria, a university with a global reputation for academic excellence which offers students the practical skills they need to get a great head start to their careers, are on hand this summer, to answer any queries and guide students through the clearing and adjustment process.
An independent national survey conducted on behalf of Northumbria University recently revealed more than half (58%) of current A Level and BTEC students in the region weren’t fully aware of the options available to them since recent changes to the clearing process came into effect.
While the concept of applying for a place through clearing was understood by 56% of students across the country, a surprising 46% of those surveyed hadn’t heard of the adjustment process – the option to ‘trade up their place’ – which has now been available for two years. A further 26% said they were aware of it but didn’t understand what it meant.
Northumbria University is keen to guide students through the options available to them and encourage them to stay calm during what can be can be a stressful time, deciding on your options.
Helen Bower, Assistant Director for Undergraduate Recruitment at Northumbria University, said: “As competition for university places is more demanding than ever before and a fall in top grades, more people are choosing clearing than before. The clearing process has changed significantly in recent years and the option to ‘trade up’ now gives students the opportunity to reconsider their original choice if they have done better than expected in their exams.
“At Northumbria, we understand that a lot of students have deliberated long and hard about which university they feel is the right one for them. They have already “mentally moved” to their chosen university, regardless of the results they receive.
“At the same time, it’s understandable that students can feel confused or overwhelmed by the options available to them, and the way the clearing process is set-up gives young people more flexibility and potentially opens new doors.
“It’s important that students have all the options in front of them. The key today is not to panic; to think about what they want carefully and not to be afraid to ask questions. Going to university is a big decision and it’s important that whatever they decide, it’s the right option for them.”
Northumbria has a global reputation for academic excellence and places great emphasis on overall student experience, which is demonstrated in its top 20 ranking in the UK according to the 2016 Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey.
Helen added: “Students want to know the university they are choosing has the quality, career opportunities, study abroad and placement opportunities they are looking for in terms of their experience at university. But what is often just as important is the life experience of being at university; making friends, new social circles, new experiences, new opportunities to travel and that independence of moving away from home for students.
“We’re finding that more and more high achieving students are choosing Northumbria as their preferred option, and our reputation for academic excellence coupled with the all-round experience we can offer, really appeals to students making their decision. We welcome any students who want to talk to us to get in touch and one of our dedicated team of experts will be able to guide them through the options available to them based on their individual situation.”
Law student Dominika Cudak, from Newcastle, secured her place at Northumbria University using adjustment after exceeding expectations with her A Level results.
The 20-year-old said: “I originally wanted to do a philosophy course and do a law conversion but because my grades were so good I decided to do law straight away.
“I first found out about adjustment just before results day. When I got my results I rang a few universities asking if I could get in. Northumbria said they were really happy to have me with the grades I had and I secured a place really quickly.
“For students receiving results this year I would say relax whatever they are. If they are really good or not what you expected, it’s fine. Just get in touch with some universities and see what your options are.”
Northumbria University has a limited number of places available for high quality students through Clearing this summer. For more information, visit www.northumbria.ac.uk/clearing or call the Clearing Hotline on 0800 085 1085.
A guide to Clearing – Clearing Q&A
Here we have some top tips for students thinking of applying to university through Clearing.
- How do I apply for a place using Clearing?
If you’ve found you are in Clearing, don’t panic. Go to the UCAS website where you can view the full list of vacancies available through Clearing at all universities. If there’s a particular university you’re interested in, you can go direct to their website to see their available courses. After doing a bit of research, you should start drawing up a shortlist of universities and courses you might be interested in.
The next step is calling the universities you’re interested in to find out if they would be willing to make you an offer. It’s usually a first come first served basis, so you need to be organised and have all the relevant information to hand to help make the process as streamlined as possible. This includes your UCAS personal ID number and details of your qualifications (including GCSEs). It’s also important to be ready to explain why you want to go to that university and why you want to study that course. Universities need to speak directly to students – not to parents or teachers.
- Can I change my original course through Clearing?
You don’t have to look for the same subject. Clearing is a great opportunity for you to find a place on another course – it could be a chance to go for something you might never have thought of, or something that really interests you.
- Is there a timescale on my decision?
At Northumbria, if you’re offered a place through Clearing, we’ll confirm this by email. This offer will then be held open for 48 hours to allow you time to consider your options before making a final decision. Other universities may have longer or shorter timeframes.
- I got better results than I expected — can I use Clearing to find a different course?
Yes you can. If you have done better than you expected, you have the option to apply to another course or university with your higher points through the Adjustment process.
If you’ve met and exceeded the terms of your conditional firm offer and have been accepted on that course, UCAS Adjustment allows you the opportunity to look for a different course at a different institution while still holding your confirmed place. Therefore, if you register for UCAS Adjustment, but don’t find anything, you’ll still keep the course you gained on results day.
You are only eligible for Adjustment from the day you are confirmed at your firm choice. You have five calendar days to make an adjustment choice and your place is held for that time.
- I’ve met the conditions of one of my offers – do I have to accept this straight away or can I try and get a place on a different course through Clearing, while holding my place?
You can only apply through Clearing if you have no other offers so you need to ask the university that has confirmed your place to release you into Clearing. However this will be at their discretion. You might want to make sure you have a verbal offer somewhere else before you do this.
Many universities will ask you to confirm the request in writing before they release you so be patient, it’s a very busy time but most will try to reply as quickly as possible.
- I’m taking a gap year – can I still use Clearing to gain a place at university?
Yes you can look for a deferred university place through Clearing – although it is at the university’s discretion as to whether they make you a deferred offer for the following academic year.