Thursday 16th August 2012 was a great day for some and not such a great day for others. For many year 13s around the country, it is the most nerve-ridden day of the year, a day which can decide what happens next in life. But, all those going through this horrible results process shouldn’t worry as there is always an alternative. The options are open, students nowadays can choose from a whole host of things to do; University, apprenticeships, internships, jobs, GAP years, travel opportunities and much more.
Written by Alex Maidment
For those who did go through the university process, it is a long, stressful journey which doesn’t always pay-off. All over the news pages this year, we saw headlines telling us how for the first time in years we have seen a drop in top-grades, despite the fact that A-Levels are apparently getting easier every year. So not a great year for A-Levels.
Now, what a lot of people don’t know is that Universities have a number of students they can take on and for every student over this limit that the university take on, they are fined a lot of money. But, if they don’t reach their target number of students, then the year after, their student limit will drop. So, every university around the country is trying to fill the places without going over their quota. There is one exception to this rule; the so-called excellent students who have attained grades of AAB+ (or equivalent) in their A-Levels/BTEC results. So every university wants these students as more students means more money without being fined. A win/win situation. What makes this part all the more complicated is that if someone exceeds their target grades, they can go through something called adjustment. This basically means that the applicant can shop around other universities with the safety of keeping their firm choice university.
But what of the applicants who don’t quite get the grades they needed? Well, this is where the dreaded clearing process comes in. A process which some applicants just don’t seem to understand but a system which gives many a second chance nonetheless. The clearing process is basically where each university lists their courses which aren’t full, and then on a first come, first serve basis, students who didn’t quite achieve their needed grades get the chance to apply to other universities with slightly lowered grades to try and meet the set quota. Now Coventry University had a team of 75 student ambassadors on a clearing hotline, ready for people to call up at 0700, on the 16th August, the phone lines were manic.
So all this sounds brilliant. The people who achieve their grades go to the university they applied for, those who exceed their target get the safety of their firm choice university and get to shop around, and those who don’t quite meet their grades get the opportunity to re-apply through clearing. A great system!
Now all of this sounds great but having seen the system actually go ahead, it is full of people who panic and apply to anything. This focuses more on the clearing part of the system. As mentioned, Coventry University had a team of 75 student ambassadors working two twelve hour days trying to help people who didn’t get into their original choices. Where this system gets really tricky is when people jump the gun.
The UCAS clearing system states that to go through clearing, applicants cannot hold any offers with any university. The whole idea of clearing is to only go through it if you don’t get into either your firm or insurance choice. But some applicants ignore this and decide to go through clearing despite the fact they already hold an offer with another university. The reason this then gets complicated is because if you receive an offer through clearing, you are given a tight deadline to accept it but without being ‘released to clearing’ (This is where the university the applicant is holding an offer with, release the applicant into the clearing system) you cannot accept the offer. This leads to angry and frustrated teenagers losing all their places at university because they didn’t wait for a decision from their original university or just applied through clearing despite having an offer already.
The Coventry University Confirmation hotline have had to deal with many people worried about losing their clearing offer because they have not been released into clearing by another university, to which, there is nothing the university can do, it is in the hands of the other university.
It is a long, stressful and anxious process which thousands face every year, but eventually, it is all resolved and those who get into university, go on to hopefully enjoy their time at their chosen uni!
If you are still looking to go through clearing and are no longer holding offers from any university, Coventry University Clearing information can be found here…